Delivering on Our Vision: A Message from the Dean

Robert L. Joss, Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean, reflects on his time as dean at Stanford GSB.

April 15, 2009

As I approach my last spring quarter as dean, I reflect back on the transformations underway at Stanford GSB and owe a debt of gratitude to you, our many steadfast alumni and friends who have made these dramatic changes possible. Since the launch of The Stanford Challenge, we have embarked on implementing a vision for the school that will have significant impact on generations of future students, faculty, and alumni. In turn, their collective impact will multiply—surely in ways that I could not have imagined when I first came to Stanford GSB as a student, nor even when I first started as dean in the midst of the technology bubble.


Dean Joss

Robert L. Joss, Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean, Sloan ‘66, MBA ‘67, PhD ‘70

Given my 10 years in this role, I am all the more convinced that our mission has never been more important or relevant to modern society. Most people around the world either work in or have their lives impacted by managed organizations. Yet, there remains a critical shortage of managerial leadership. As a school, we have never taken for granted our leadership in management education, but rather have embraced the opportunity to constantly innovate. In fact, we have taken our unique strengths to heart and directed them in new ways to bring our mission to life.

For all the progress that we are making, you also have heard by now of the tough choices and economic realities that the school has addressed in the current financial climate. I assure you that as careful stewards of your support, we are making decisions to ensure the long-term success of Stanford GSB. We are on a trajectory to continue to do great things. But we still have much to accomplish toward fully realizing the potential of the redesigned curriculum, strengthening collaborations throughout Stanford, and building the Knight Management Center as our new home.

I am grateful that despite these challenging times, you continue to give back with your time, expertise, and financial commitment toward our shared vision. Annual and reunion giving is critical to the school’s operating revenues. With only half the cost of a Stanford GSB education covered by tuition, your support allows us to maintain a financial model that gives us the agility that few of our peer institutions are able to emulate. And through your investments in increased faculty support, the school is at the forefront of creating ideas that advance our understanding of management and the complexity of the challenges we face as a society. The creation of new professorships and endowed faculty awards are essential to recruit, retain, and develop the next generation of faculty leaders.

Combined with your support of curricular innovations and student financial aid, we are preparing our students with both the skills and the self-knowledge to lead change for the better throughout their careers. And without so many of you stepping forward, we could not have begun construction last fall on the Knight Management Center—necessitated by our ambitious plans to forge new ways of teaching and learning, faculty collaborations, and interaction with the broader community. The progress of the campaign to date speaks volumes about our collective belief in the ideas we generate and the education we provide at Stanford GSB. As volunteer leaders and investors, you also serve as catalysts for our enhanced role within Stanford University. I am privileged to have served the school and Stanford as dean, and thank you for the generosity you continue to demonstrate toward the school’s priorities.

by Robert L. Joss, Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean, Sloan ’66, MBA ’67, PhD ’70

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