Laura Tyson, former dean of the Haas School of Business, has been appointed the inaugural director for the school’s new Institute for Business and Social Impact.
Tyson’s appointment augments a long career dedicated to economics and social justice. She has advocated sustainable development of poor countries and the rise of women in business. She was previously the chair of the National Economic Council during the Clinton administration, the first woman to hold that position.
“I am honored to serve as the inaugural director of the Institute for Business and Social Impact,” she said in a statement. “The Institute reflects the long tradition at Haas of cultivating business leaders committed to building a more prosperous and sustainable society for all.”
The institute unites four already existing Haas centers and programs, including the Center for Responsible Business and the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership, to teach students to think across multiple disciplines.
“We want students to work across for-profit companies, nonprofit companies and governments to find solutions,” said Kristiana Raube, associate director of the institute.
Raube said she particularly admires Tyson for her advocacy in resolving gender inequality in the workplace. In October, Tyson co-authored the Global Gender Gap Report, a ranking of countries based on economic, political, educational and health gender gaps.
“She just commands so much respect from others, across her department, across the university,” Raube said. “It makes sense that she was chosen.”
As a director of the institute, Tyson will focus on finding ways to promote women in business and raising awareness about the correlation between gender parity and economic performance.
One of her plans is to launch the Initiative for the Impact of Women on Business and the Economy, which advocates the advancement of women through classes, research and a speaker series.
While most of the institute’s work will be on the graduate-student level, the institute is also looking to provide avenues for undergraduates to get involved, such as the Women in Business course, taught by Haas professor Kellie McElhaney.
Previously exclusively for MBA students, the course will be open for possible undergraduate enrollment, including for those outside the Haas program, in spring 2014, McElhaney said in an email.
The institute was made possible mainly through donations by two Haas alumni: Allan Holt, graduate of the MBA program, and his wife donated $1 million while former undergraduate Margo Alexander donated $100,000.
Haas dean Rich Lyons said the institute reflects the greater mission of the business school.
“The social importance of what we do has always been a part of our school’s DNA,” he said in a statement. “The Institute for Business and Social Impact is the next level of how we develop path bending leaders.”