Ann Harrison, renowned economist and UC Berkeley alumna, named dean of Haas School of Business

Haas School of Business/Courtesy

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UC Berkeley alumna and eminent economist Ann Harrison has been chosen as the next dean of the Haas School of Business, Chancellor Carol Christ announced Thursday.

Harrison received a bachelor’s degree in history and economics from UC Berkeley in 1982, and she taught at the UC Berkeley Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics from 2001 to 2011.

Harrison is currently the William H. Wurster professor of multinational management and a professor of business economics and public policy at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Before teaching at Wharton, Harrison was the World Bank’s director of development policy.

Harrison’s appointment ends a search to replace the previous dean Richard Lyons, who left the position June 2018. Business professor Laura Tyson was named interim dean in July, and Harrison’s appointment will begin in January 2019.

While at UC Berkeley, Harrison said she wrote for The Daily Californian, studied abroad in France, took dance classes and was a fellow with the Cal-in-Sacramento program.

“I had so much fun at Berkeley,” Harrison said. “I was the happiest student ever. … I just loved Berkeley.”

Harrison said her vision for the future of Haas is guided by the school’s four leadership principles: “question the status quo,” “confidence without attitude,” “students always” and “beyond yourself.”

“This will be very much a consensus-building experience,” Harrison said. “I plan to listen and learn a lot from faculty, staff and alums before I settle.”

Although her plans are not set, she added that her priorities include expanding resources to support a growing student population, ensuring student satisfaction, fostering cross-campus collaboration and continuing to attract world-class faculty.

Promoting representation for women and minorities — both within Haas and in the broader business world — also ranked highly among Harrison’s priorities. Harrison said she hopes to address a trend she called “the leaky pipeline,” where the pay gap that emerges between men and women entering the same jobs after business school widens as their careers progress.

Courtney Chandler, senior assistant dean and chief strategy and operating officer at Haas, said in an email that research has shown that organizations “reap the rewards” when they choose to emphasize the importance of diversity.

“We wanted the most qualified dean to lead our school and are extremely proud that our next dean is female,” Chandler said. “Diversity and inclusion are the cornerstone of our school’s culture and values. Plus, they make good business sense.”

At the World Bank, Harrison led a team of hundreds of researchers and staff members, allocated millions of dollars in research funds, expanded public access to the bank’s economic data and oversaw the World Bank’s annual World Development Report.

“We pushed hard to hire her when she left the (World) Bank,” said Witold Henisz, one of Harrison’s colleagues and the Deloitte & Touche professor of management in honor of Russell E. Palmer, former managing partner, at Wharton. “Her intellect and her approach to research were always clear and always valuable. We are sad to see her go, but we’re also thrilled for this next chapter of her career.”

Sam Levin covers academics and administration. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @SamJLevin.