December 19, 2014

Dean Rich Lyons Looks Ahead at Second Term

On the heels of his recent reappointment as dean, Rich Lyons shared his views on three big frontiers where Haas is poised to leap ahead: technology in education; work environment; and global profile.

Lyons' reappointment, effective July 1, was announced last month by UC Berkeley Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor George Breslauer.

Technology in Education

In the next decade, Lyons believes technology will result in a major "phase change" in the classroom, and wants Haas to be a "definer of what's next at the confluence of technology and management education."

"This is not about translating existing courses into digital format; it's about changing the course itself and the way we think about pedagogy," he notes. "It’s about things like 'game-ifying' content to engage students even more fully, having courses that adapt in real time to individual students’ needs, and letting students 'test again' until they have truly mastered material."

Work Environment

Lyons believes it's time to re-imagine the Haas School's facilities for the next 10 to 15 years to meet the changing needs of management education. That includes classrooms designed for expansion into digital education, more team-based study rooms, and flexible-use "laboratory-type" space for experiential learning.

He envisions a new classroom building at the north edge of Haas fulfilling these needs while also encouraging collaboration and community. In the interim period before the building's construction, the recently renovated courtyard is offering more opportunity for collaboration and a new Innovation Lab in Memorial Stadium set to open in August will provide new space designed experiential learning.

"Over the next five years we will transform our work environment so that it, too, fully supports our culture, community, and strategy," says Lyons.

Global Profile

Lyons, who taught international business and finance most of his career, seeks to strengthen significantly the Haas School's international footprint. He plans to continue focusing on Asia, building on the international reputation and brand advantage that Berkeley-Haas has historically enjoyed there. The school's efforts will include business development for non-degree executive education, alumni network investments, student and faculty exchange, and an Asia Board.

"Berkeley's reputation and brand globally are stunningly strong," says Lyons. "We aim to bring that fully to bear in shaping the leaders who will create our future."

Differentiating Haas

On a broader level, Lyons also aims to continue sharpening the Haas School's unique story during his second term. "I want Haas to be known as the school that has taken institutional culture more seriously than any other; as the business school for leaders who want to create value by putting new ideas into action; as the business school without peer in the world in areas like technology, social impact, and strategy," he says.

Lyons also highlighted the importance of "human capital" at Haas. "Our faculty have never been stronger," he says. "In the last couple years we have repelled outside senior offers from Yale and Stanford, among others, and we have attracted senior faculty from MIT, Harvard, and Kellogg."

"None of what has been achieved while I have been dean has been achieved by me alone," he adds, also crediting Haas staff and alumni for our success.

"That I have this opportunity to serve Berkeley is an enormous blessing," Lyons notes. "No other institution has had more impact on my life. My undergraduate experience here was transformative. I owe Berkeley a great deal."

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