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Economist Ann Harrison Is Haas’s New Dean

After a lengthy search for a permanent dean, University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business has announced that it has found the person for the job: the economist Ann Harrison.

Harrison is currently the William H. Wurster Professor of Multinational Management and Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, but her ties to UC Berkeley run deep. 

She earned an undergraduate degree in economics and history from the school in 1982 and went on to become a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

Much of Harrison’s research in economics focuses on globalization and international trade, an interest she traces back to growing up bilingual with a French mother and American father. Along these lines, she served as the World Bank’s Director of Development Policy.

Maurice Obstfeld, a Berkeley economics professor and the International Monetary Fund’s chief economist, said that Harrison brings “a remarkable track record of pioneering research on trade and development.”

This research has led to a collection of widely cited papers and two books. Obstfeld said he was “looking forward to the intellectual leadership she will bring to Haas and to the entire campus.”

Announcing the appointment, Berkeley chancellor Carol Christ described Harrison as “an accomplished administrator as well as a world-class economist” and said she had “no doubt that [Harrison] will be a wonderful leader for the institution.”

For her part, Harrison described her new deanship as “a dream come true” and said the school was “truly exceptional because it combines intellectual rigor with a commitment to creating a better world.”

She also gave some clues about her priorities as dean. She said that she saw “tremendous opportunities in the areas of fundraising and revenue growth, which will be a primary focus of my deanship.” She also stressed the need to “secure funding for new faculty positions.”

And she said that she’d be taking advantage of the fact that both former dean Rich Lyons and interim dean Laura Tyson would remain on campus, asking them to “share their insights with me.” Harrison will take over from Tyson on January 1, 2019.

Harrison’s appointment brings some certainty after an extensive, months-long search for a new permanent dean.

Of course, while Haas has now answered the biggest question that was hanging over its short-term future, you as an applicant might still have plenty of unanswered questions about Haas.

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