From the Dean: Starting a New School Year

Written

From the Dean: Starting a New School Year

Considering the future of management education as we welcome students back to campus.
September 27, 2018
Dean Jonathan Levin

Every fall I look forward to the first week of classes. We welcome new students and faculty, and the fresh energy, enthusiasm, and perspectives they bring to campus. There is a feeling of renewal and possibility that comes with the start of each new academic year.

This year got off to an exciting start when I participated in the Stanford China Economic Forum in Beijing, which the GSB co-sponsored with the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and the joint Stanford Center on Global Poverty and Development we launched last fall. The forum brought together 500 alumni, business, and academic leaders from across Asia. Faculty from all of Stanford’s schools, deans from the schools of Engineering, Medicine, and Law, and President Marc Tessier-Lavigne made the trip, in a wonderful example of the cross-university collaboration that is so characteristic of Stanford.

Back on campus, we continue to enjoy a period of growth that began when we moved to our stunning home at the Knight Management Center just over seven years ago. Since then, we have expanded our tenure-line faculty by around 20 percent, bringing in over 50 junior faculty, including seven new hires this year. We have recruited outstanding new lecturers, often in co-teaching roles using our distinctive academic-practitioner model. This year we will offer over 150 elective courses in management education. We have increased our non-degree programs on campus, online, and globally, expanded our PhD and MSx programs, and strengthened our collaborations with Stanford’s other schools and institutes. We continue to keep our MBA cohorts relatively small, this fall welcoming 420 new students to begin the transformational educational experience that is a hallmark of the GSB.

One of our goals last year was to engage in a process of long-range planning that spanned Stanford’s entire campus. At the GSB, we tasked two committees to look at the future of management research and education. The Research on Advancing Management (ROAM) Committee focused on the changing nature of academic research, and how we can provide world-class support for data-intensive, experimental, and impact-oriented research projects and collaborations, while continuing our faculty leadership in the scientific foundations of economics, finance, accounting, operations, organizational design, and other fields.

The Future of Management Education (FME) Committee engaged in extensive outreach and discussion, looking at opportunities to strengthen our management education programs and position them for future success. The committee returned this summer with recommendations to improve our support for faculty teaching, ensure a strong focus on principled and purposeful leadership in our management education programs, and elevate the academic experience in our core curriculum and the connections between our core and elective offerings. Subgroups also looked at areas such as alumni education and global programs.

As a first step toward implementing the FME recommendations, this summer I appointed Professor Brian Lowery as a Senior Associate Dean to lead our efforts in strengthening teaching support, and working with faculty and students to highlight the importance of values and the social role of business in the educational experience. Brian will work closely with Senior Associate Dean Yossi Feinberg, who oversees our MBA and MSx programs, and who co-chaired FME with Professor Anne Beyer. We look forward to sharing our progress as we advance the excellent ideas coming out of the FME and ROAM committees.

I also would like to emphasize a few themes that stood out for me in long-range planning discussions over the last year. The first is the importance of our ongoing diversity and inclusion efforts. In the years I have been at Stanford, the composition of our students, and increasingly our faculty, has changed markedly. Our campus has become more global and encompasses a wide array of backgrounds, identities, and life experiences. It is incumbent upon all of us to foster a culture that is inclusive and welcoming, and that enables us to share a broad range of perspectives.

Second, I participated in many discussions that focused on the transformative changes happening in business and society due to the proliferation of data, and the application of tools such as data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Many GSB faculty are at the forefront in applying these tools to business and policy. We have an important obligation as a leading business school to help think through, and educate our students about, the ethical and responsible deployment of these technologies and their impact on society.

Finally, I was inspired throughout the process by the desire of students, faculty, staff, and alumni, both individually and collectively, to address major social challenges, from improving economic opportunity to expanding access to quality education and health care, to addressing climate change and global development. The GSB has a long history of encouraging and supporting students and faculty to tackle challenging problems in innovative and collaborative ways through our courses, programs, and research. The optimism and enthusiasm to continue and expand these efforts, and to do this in collaboration with others from around the Stanford campus and community, are invigorating.

I look forward to the exciting opportunities the new academic year promises, and wish everyone on campus a great start to fall quarter.

Jonathan Levin
Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean

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