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UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business Launches New Institute for Business and Social Impact

Laura_TysonThe Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley today launched a new institute designed to increase the school’s efforts to help address critical challenges facing the world through creative business solutions. The new Institute for Business and Social Impact will be led by Professor Laura Tyson, an economist, policy maker and former Haas School dean, the school announced.

“Our students are determined to make a difference in the world, but the answers are not simple or obvious,” Tyson said in a statement. “We will provide students with the tools and vision they need to design pathways to fulfilling careers so that they can help create a more prosperous, equitable, inclusive and sustainable society.”  

Tyson helped renew the Haas School’s commitment to teaching and research related to social responsibility in business during her tenure as dean from 1998 to 2001. She has also held multiple public service roles, including chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and director of the White House National Economic Council under President Clinton.

In addition to helping Haas students define career interests in social impact, the institute will have an important research focus. It will spotlight Haas faculty’s thought leadership in a wide range of areas, including corporate social responsibility, environmental governance, poverty, health efficacy, gender parity and fraud, corruption, and ethics.

The institute will also become home to several existing centers and programs focused on business and social impact, including the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership, the Center for Responsible Business, the Graduate Program in Health Management and the Haas Global Social Venture Competition. The new institute will also launch an initiative focused on the impact of women on business and the economy, which will include classes, applied research, a speakers’ series and seminars with leading executives.

Haas hopes the institute will serve as a hub of collaboration, bringing together diverse groups from throughout the business school and the university as a whole around shared goals.

“The social importance of what we do has always been a part of our school’s DNA,” Haas Dean Rich Lyons said in a statement. Indeed, the school’s commitment to exploring the relationship of business and society dates back to the 1950s, when Professor and Haas School Dean Emeritus Earl F. Cheit hosted the first national symposium on the subject.

During her deanship, Tyson renewed these efforts, launching the Forum on Corporate Philanthropy, raising initial funding to establish the Center for Responsible Business and launching the Social Venture Competition, the longest-running social entrepreneurship competition in the world.

“The tools of business can and should be applied to bend the many unsustainable paths our world is on, such as the rising cost of healthcare, public education, access to clean water, carbon use, obesity, clean air, etc.,” Lyons said. “Bending these paths will require the combination of skills and mindsets we aim to deliver at Berkeley-Haas. The Institute for Business and Social Impact is the next level of how we develop these pathbending leaders.”

Learn more about the Haas School’s new Institute for Business and Social Impact.