Joan T.A. Gabel is the 17th president of the University of Minnesota. Under her leadership, the U of M has prioritized and advanced the strength and impact of the University system by developing the first systemwide strategic plan; serving students in the classroom and beyond; driving research and solutions inspired by Minnesota and impacting the world; advancing equity, diversity, and community; amplifying the University’s outreach and engagement efforts; establishing record fundraising; and cultivating efficiency and transparency.
In Spring 2020, the impact and complexity of the COVID-19 pandemic became a key focus in President Gabel’s work. She led efforts to address the immediate challenges of the pandemic, including keeping the University healthy, safe, and well. Gabel facilitated the University’s expertise to shape the recovery for the University system, Minnesotans, and the world. During this challenging time, she led efforts to cultivate institutional uniqueness and value, and reimagine opportunities for the University to advance its nearly 170-year legacy, and to work towards a bright future of teaching, research, and service. In May 2020, in the aftermath of George Floyd’s tragic death, she also took important steps to improve efforts towards a more equitable and just University and ensure continuity of these efforts through shared governance and community engagement.
Prior to her tenure at Minnesota, Gabel served as Executive Vice President and Provost at the University of South Carolina (UofSC), where she revitalized scholarly enterprise and launched dynamic programs, increasing enrollment and alternative revenue streams. Under her leadership, UofSC emerged as a national leader through the creation of “arenas of excellence,” which promote opportunities for students to experience interdisciplinary study, research, and pathways to career opportunities in information technology and the health sciences. She expanded UofSC’s global footprint and impact; championed experiential learning, entrepreneurialism and service learning; and worked to incentivize and support faculty. Gabel also expanded campus diversity and inclusion efforts, which included the recruitment and support of underrepresented students, faculty and staff, as well as the creation of inclusive programs and forums to measurably improve the campus climate.
Previously, Gabel served as dean of the University of Missouri’s Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business, where she established nationally recognized distributed learning opportunities and was recognized as a shining star in business school administration by the Wall Street Journal. She has also held faculty appointments at Georgia State University and served as the DeSantis Professor and chair of the Department of Risk Management/Insurance, Real Estate and Legal Studies at Florida State University.
Gabel’s academic interests include legal and ethical issues in business, including governance. In recent years, she has turned her scholarly focus to the public higher education mission, ethical governance, and women’s leadership. Gabel has also served as editor in chief of the American Business Law Journal and the Journal of Legal Studies in Business, and as a board member of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. She has been recognized with numerous research, service, and teaching awards, including recognition as a Fulbright Scholar.