With all that Ann Harrison has accomplished, and plans to accomplish, five years as dean of UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business is hardly enough.
Harrison called the reappointment to her second five-year term as dean a “wonderful opportunity,” noting she plans to continue her “ISI agenda”, which represents her innovation and entrepreneurship, sustainability and inclusion initiatives. Her term begins July 1, 2023, noted Haas spokesperson Kim Girard.
“I’d like to express deep appreciation for the incredible staff, faculty and alumni that I’ve had the opportunity to work with over my first term,” Harrison said. “We have amazing people at Haas, and I hope to empower them to do the best that they can.”
Harrison wants to hone in on improving student experiences at Haas. She wants to shift from a two-year to four-year program to reduce “deep competition,” create a sense of belonging and enhance cooperation. She also is moving to make student clubs more inclusive and improve IT in classrooms.
For the graduate program, Harrison noted that Haas is increasing support for those without traditional backgrounds in economics or business. They will also focus on developing a special orientation for international students, who make up 41% of MBA program participants, according to the Haas website.
In addition, Harrison said the faculty, which she helped to curate, has seen nearly a 30% increase through the pandemic, during which Haas “didn’t just survive — it thrived.”
“We have faced tremendous challenges, and we have been able to overcome them and emerge stronger,” Harrison said. “So now at this point, I would say that we feel very strong and able to take on anything.”
Emma Aisbett, an associate professor at Australian National University School of Law and former student of Harrison, commended Harrison’s unique approach to projects including management, leadership and academic research.
Aisbett said Harrison defies stereotypes by refusing to conform to gender roles in leadership.
“I have deep respect for Ann,” Aisbett said. “Although she is incredibly intimidating just because she’s so impressive herself, and has high expectations, she has never been cruel and never exploited me. Right from the get go, she sought opportunities to further my career and support me.”
Aisbett recalled writing a paper on the exploitation of foreign workers by multinationals from a moral philosophy perspective, a viewpoint that defied the common consensus at the time. She said Harrison supported the objective quality of her work, despite taking “significant” risks in taking this stance.
According to Aisbett, Harrison did not seem to feel the pressure to conform to the consensus of the “East Coast elite” and never accepted ideas at face value.
“I’m very proud of her,” Aisbett said. “I intend to send her congratulations. I think she is incredibly intelligent, incredibly fair and open-minded.”