When James Jiambalvo teaches students at the University of Washington Business School, he talks a lot about the importance of information...

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When James Jiambalvo teaches students at the University of Washington Business School, he talks a lot about the importance of information — how to gather it, how to make sure it’s accurate, and especially how to use it to make sound business decisions.

It’s called managerial accounting, and Jiambalvo is about to get a lot more hands-on experience with it: He was named yesterday as the business school’s dean, a position for which he wasn’t even in the running a month ago.

“I wasn’t a candidate at the start of the process,” the 56-year-old Jiambalvo said. “But I absolutely love the University of Washington, and I love the business school. (After) I was asked to be a candidate I started thinking about it, and I thought ‘I’m really interested in this job.’ ”

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Jiambalvo will take over May 1 from acting dean David Burgstahler. He’ll make $350,000 a year.

The business school’s reputation has risen over the past few years, largely under the leadership of former dean Yash Gupta. Not long ago, Jiambalvo said, the school was 49th in the widely cited U.S. News & World Report rankings; this year it came in 18th.

But it has lacked a permanent leader since Gupta left almost a year ago to run the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. Vance Roley, the first interim dean, accepted a post as dean of the University of Hawaii’s business school in January.

Two outside candidates were finalists. But UW President Mark Emmert earlier this year decided to extend the search; Jiambalvo said he was asked about three weeks ago to be a candidate.

A certified public accountant, Jiambalvo has taught at the business school since 1977. He chaired the accounting department for three years, has won several UW teaching awards, and wrote a textbook on managerial accounting.

He said his priority as dean will be getting a new business-school complex designed, funded and built. The school wants to build three new buildings and renovate Balmer Hall.

About $60 million has already been raised, Jiambalvo said, but the school needs $10 million to $20 million more before final design work can start.

Drew DeSilver: 206-464-3145 or ddesilver@seattletimes.com