Berkeley Haas dean to step down, remain on faculty 

Ann Harrison will step down as the dean of the Haas School of Business on July 31, 2024, remaining a half-time faculty member. The decision will allow her to spend more time with her New York-based family and focus on her research, she said. 

“It has been an incredible honor and joy for me to serve as dean of Haas,” Harrison said in a note to the Haas community sent this morning. “I am proud of what we have accomplished together.”

Harrison has served as dean of Berkeley Haas since January 2019, the second woman to lead the school. Her deep ties to UC Berkeley—where she earned her bachelor’s in economics and history and served as a professor in the College of Agricultural and Resource Economics for 10 years—have allowed her to make far-reaching changes in a short time, said Ben Hermalin, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost for UC Berkeley, who announced the news today.

“We thank Dean Harrison for her incredible leadership and numerous accomplishments during her term as the dean,” Hermalin said. “For anyone who has had the pleasure of working with her, Ann is wonderful to partner with. She is full of innovative ideas that go beyond Haas; hence, not only has she made Haas better, but she’s also made the campus better. Her leadership will be sorely missed.”

A sustainability mindset

Harrison said becoming a half-time ladder faculty member will allow her to spend meaningful time with her husband and two daughters, who live in New York, while staying connected to Haas and continuing her research. 

“I will be able to remain at the school I have been truly passionate about since I first set foot here as a freshman at Berkeley in 1977,” said Harrison, a renowned economist who is one of the most highly cited scholars on foreign investment and multinational firms. “I am especially excited to have more time to focus on my research into the gender pay gap and what makes industrial policy work.”

Harrison’s top priority at Haas was to embed a sustainability mindset in all of the school’s programs and operations. This resulted in the creation of a sustainability certificate and a dual master’s degree program in business and climate solutions with the Rausser College of Natural Resources, as well as a summer minor in sustainable business and policy. 

Courtney Chandler, Senior Vice Dean of Haas, said Harrison’s accomplishments have had school-wide impact—from growing the faculty, to fundraising, to growing degree programs, to infusing innovation, sustainability, and inclusion into business education. 

“She believes in Haas’ potential and strives to further strengthen the school’s reputation by setting an ambitious vision for Berkeley Haas,” Chandler said.

During her tenure, Harrison appointed the school’s first-ever chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer and the first chief sustainability officer. She orchestrated a major diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and belonging (DEIJB) effort that broadened the profile of the school’s faculty, board, and student body, and created learning opportunities and anti-bias training for the entire Haas community. 

“Grateful for her leadership”

Professor Jennifer Chatman, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, said Harrison’s leadership over the past five years created cultural changes at Haas that have made the school “more diverse, more harmonious, and more collaborative than ever.” “Dean Harrison’s leadership style has set us up for an immensely bright future, and I am deeply grateful for her leadership,” she said.

people standing in the courtyard during the 125th event
(L-R) Ben Hermalin, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost for UC Berkeley; UC Berkeley Chancellor-Elect Rich Lyons; Prof. Jennifer Chatman,  Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Dean Ann Harrison; Prof. Don Moore and Erika Walker, Senior Assistant Dean for Instruction, attending the Berkeley Haas 125h Anniversary Celebration in the Haas courtyard. Photo: Jim Block

Harrison’s focus on innovation and entrepreneurship resulted in a new faculty group and an entrepreneurship hub—slated to open this fall.  Harrison envisions the hub as a central clearing house for students who wish to learn about all entrepreneurship activities across the Berkeley campus. The hub now has a faculty director, as well as an executive director.

In addition, Harrison expanded the school’s degree offerings with the Flex hybrid MBA cohort and worked closely with the Berkeley School of Public Health, the School of Engineering, Biological Sciences, and the School of Law to bolster their joint programs. 

Harrison, a chaired professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School before joining Haas, hired 40 new tenure-track faculty during her five-year tenure, 19 of whom are women. She also nearly doubled the number of faculty positions that are funded by Haas or by philanthropic funds. 

Stepped up fundraising

Under Harrison’s leadership, Haas has also significantly stepped up fundraising and raised $236 million since 2019. This includes the largest single gift in the school’s history—$30 million from alumnus Ned Spieker, BS 66, and his wife, Carol, BS 66 to turn the upper-division undergraduate business program into a four-year program.

When naming her “Dean of the Year” in 2023, the publication Poets & Quants called Harrison’s tenure an “unimaginable and nearly breathtaking record of achievement.”

Harrison said she looks forward to the opportunity to teach in the new four-year Spieker Undergraduate Program

“What really motivates me both as a leader and soon-to-be faculty member are the transformational opportunities we provide for our students, staff, faculty, and alumni,” she said. “We provide opportunity for everyone, at a scale that is unequaled among the private schools. What a powerful mission.”

Hermalin will announce details about the appointment of an interim dean shortly. Hermalin said the goal is to begin the search for a permanent dean in early fall 2024, conduct interviews in late fall and/or early spring, and announce the new dean in spring 2025, aiming for a July 1, 2025 start date. The interim dean will likely serve through June 30, 2025, while a national search is underway.