Kurt Dirks

Vice Chancellor for International Affairs; Director, McDonnell International Scholars Academy; Bank of America Professor of Leadership

kurt dirks


Kurt T. Dirks is the Vice Chancellor for International Affairs and Director of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy for Washington University in St. Louis. He also holds the appointment of Bank of America Professor of Leadership at the Olin Business School.  He received a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and a B.S. and M.S. from Iowa State University.

Kurt’s research is in the field of Organizational Behavior and focuses on issues related to leadership and teams. He is best known for his research on the determinants, barriers, and outcomes of trust within organizations and published a number of highly cited and award-winning articles on the topic. The research has been covered by popular press such as Business Week, New York Times, and the Washington Post, Kurt has taught across all levels from undergraduates to executives, receiving teaching awards from MBA students numerous times.

In addition to his academic work, Kurt has served in a number of positions at the Olin Business School, including Interim Dean (2016) and Senior Associate Dean (2012-2016).  In these roles, Kurt was particularly effective at working across departments, schools, and universities to develop distinctive programs. Kurt played a key role in the launch of the IIT-WU EMBA program, the only degree program in India offered by a US business school, and the only joint degree program at Washington University. Finally, Kurt was co-founder and co-director (2016-present) of the Bauer Leadership Center at the Olin Business School, which focuses on value-based leadership.

Kurt is married to Tausha Dirks and has two children, Davis and Katie.