UVA Reappoints Ian Solomon as Dean of the Batten School

Dean Solomon with students
Dean Solomon greets the incoming class of MPP students in Fall 2023.

The University of Virginia has appointed Ian H. Solomon to a second term as dean of the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.

Provost Ian Baucom announced Solomon’s reappointment Friday, noting the dean’s many accomplishments during his first term, including growing and diversifying student enrollment, expanding Batten’s academic offerings, recruiting and retaining outstanding faculty, and strengthening the school’s overall foundation to ensure a successful future. 

“He models what it means to be a values-based leader and has wisely led Batten while developing a 2030 strategy to shape Batten’s second decade,” Baucom wrote, adding that Solomon is a “generous University citizen,” and is “accessible, approachable and beloved by students.” 

Under Solomon’s leadership, the Batten School has formulated a bold vision for the years ahead to cultivate ethical leadership that empowers humanity to bridge divides, solve existing and emerging policy problems, and heal the fractures impacting communities. Batten’s strategic priorities include expanding access to the school for high-potential leaders from all communities, elevating students’ experience through innovative, world-class learning offerings, and enhancing the influence of faculty research and practice in addressing the world’s major challenges.

“I am thrilled and honored to continue serving as dean of UVA’s Batten School,” Solomon said. “It has been a privilege to partner with outstanding faculty and staff colleagues and with inspiring students to help shape a future of impact. As I look ahead to the next five years and beyond, I am excited by Batten’s extraordinary potential to contribute to more effective public leadership and problem solving in the world.”

Solomon was selected in 2019 to lead the Batten School and helped the community navigate successfully through COVID, America’s racial reckoning following the murder of George Floyd, the implications of intense political polarization and violence, and fallout from numerous global conflicts and security matters. Throughout, the dean has prioritized the health of the Batten community and its responsibility to be of service to the wider world.  

"Dean Solomon's commitment to fostering an environment of excellence, inclusion and innovation truly inspires,” said Eileen Chou, associate professor of public policy and associate dean for academic affairs at Batten. “This reappointment is a testament to his exceptional leadership, vision and dedication to the continuing excellence of our school. I am eager to contribute to the ongoing success and growth of our community under his wise stewardship."

Among other initiatives, Solomon launched the Bridge to Batten program for first-generation and lower-income applicants, the BattenX program for adult learners, and two graduate certificate programs in public leadership and public policy that were accredited last year. In addition, he has raised more than $10 million for student scholarships and enriching the student experience.   

“Dean Solomon is smart, strategic and collaborative,” said Jay Shimshack, professor of public policy and economics and former associate dean for academic affairs. “Under his leadership, our superb students, staff and faculty have thrived in difficult times. The Batten community is so lucky to have him for another term.”

In a significant indicator of Batten’s growing influence and impact, the school is expanding its footprint. While maintaining a presence in Garrett Hall on the UVA Lawn, Batten will also co-locate with the Karsh Institute of Democracy in a new building that will anchor the University’s Emmet-Ivy Corridor. Batten will occupy 17,500 square feet of the state-of-the-art, 65,000 square foot facility, which is scheduled to open in summer 2026. The partnership with the Karsh Institute and the proximity to the School of Data Science and North Grounds will allow for additional faculty collaboration, broaden student access to national and global leaders and policymakers, and bring academic programming and engagement opportunities to the wider community. 

Solomon is the third dean of the Batten School. Trained as a lawyer, Solomon is a devoted student and teacher of both negotiation and conflict resolution. For four years, Solomon served in the U.S. Senate as legislative counsel to then-Senator Barack Obama. Later, under the Obama administration, he was confirmed unanimously by Congress as the U.S. executive director for the World Bank Group. Solomon has also been a consultant with McKinsey & Company, an associate dean and visiting lecturer at Yale Law School, and a vice president and lecturer in law at the University of Chicago. Before joining the Batten School, he led his own international consulting practice focused on conflict and collaboration.  He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. 

Read the Cavalier Daily story > 


ABOUT THE BATTEN SCHOOL The University of Virginia Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy is committed to solving the world’s toughest policy challenges. Founded in 2007 with a unique mandate to invest in both leadership and public policy, Batten employs a multidisciplinary approach with faculty scholars in economics, social psychology, politics and other fields, complemented by active engagement with leading practitioners. Our mission of developing effective and ethical leadership has become even more critical in today’s diverse and divided world. At Batten, we envision a society in which leadership can empower humanity to bridge our current divides and heal the fractures in our communities.   

Garrett Hall at Sunset

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