Funding from Steve and Susan Chamberlin Launches Berkeley-Haas Exploration of Online Education

The Haas School will explore complementing classroom learning with online approaches, thanks to funding from the Chamberlin Family Donor Designated Fund at the University of California, Berkeley Foundation.

Steve and Susan Chamberlin, former members of the Haas School of Business professional faculty and creators of the fund, have recommended the $1 million distribution to pilot online education initiatives. The funds will be shared by UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering, the Graduate School of Education, the Haas School, the School of Information, and the School of Public Health, as well as UC Berkeley Extension. These schools have formed a consortium to share knowledge, develop unique programming, and realize efficiencies.

The distribution from the Chamberlin Family Fund will match funds being raised individually and jointly by the benefitting units for the pilot program.

“I hope this gift is the catalyst that launches UC Berkeley on the path to being the best in the online space,” says Steve Chamberlin. “It’s less important to be first than to develop the background and the qualitative measures to do online education really well.”

Adam Berman, the Haas School’s executive director of emerging initiatives, is leading the Berkeley-Haas Online Education Pilot and spearheading the consortium. Berman notes that today’s students are digital natives, who not only enjoy learning online, but expect it. “Technology has progressed to the point where online education is no longer a pale substitute for the traditional lecture hall,” he says. “Advanced learning platforms, rich media, social networks and mobile devices allow for highly interactive learning communities online, as well as a customized, results-oriented experience for each student.”

The gift, says Jay Stowsky, senior assistant dean for instruction, “positions Haas to lead at the frontier of professional business education. Blended programs, making use of both online and traditional course formats, can enable Haas to expand student access to the School’s most unique asset—our world-class faculty.”

Steve and Susan Chamberlin previously invested $750,000 to launch the Haas School’s Center for Teaching Excellence in 2009. Steve is chairman of Chamberlin Associates, a commercial real estate development firm based in Pleasanton, Calif., and Rouse/Chamberlin Homes, a Pennsylvania-based home builder. He is also a member of the policy advisory board for the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics. Susan Chamberlin holds a Berkeley MBA degree and is an architect. She oversaw the renovation of the Oakland Museum of California as a member of the museum's board of trustees.