Lunch with the Dean

You don’t have to have lunch with the dean to know he’s a cool guy, but he gave undergraduate students the option last week as he discussed the undergraduate program and made himself available for questions.

In his presentation, Dean Lyons addressed the current financial situation that the UC system is facing and the inability to provide any forecasts for next year’s fees. He spoke to the changes the undergraduate program has been implementing including reduced class size, experiential learning opportunities, and a wider variety of class offerings. Hopefully you will soon notice these efforts if you have not already. I personally appreciate the variety of electives currently offered, which includes specialized courses in marketing, finance, and entrepreneurship.

Among several other topics discussed, there were two that I found most interesting. First, Dean Lyons addressed the issue of diversity and increasing the diversity of our campus among students and professors. What I noted in particular was the importance placed on making the Haas campus welcoming. Well, wait—how welcoming can it really be for a lower-classman intimidated by the black suits, MBA students, and clean bathrooms? Dean Lyons was obviously referring to factors beyond this outer surface, arguing that if students don’t view Haas as welcoming, they won’t apply. The possible talent that is lost hurts everyone involved—affecting the learning environment including you’re your own experience at Haas.

The other topic Dean Lyons presented was the new “privatization” model proposed by Judy Olian, the dean of the UCLA Anderson School of Business. This self-sufficient model maintains funding for the MBA program through tuition, private donors, and cost containment strategies. The reason Dean Lyons mentioned the new model at UCLA is because he wanted to assure us that a similar change would not be possible at Haas, primarily because of our undergraduate program. Few business schools have an undergraduate program and it would be unrealistic to charge undergraduate students a different amount upon entrance into the major. This isn’t to say a ‘private’ model would not be preferable for the Haas MBA programs, but for now we need not worry—our public education will stay as ‘public’ as it is today.

While Dean Lyons did not actually eat during ‘Lunch with the Dean,’ I appreciated the event and my free lunch. If you want to continue to hear from our dean, follow him on twitter– twitter.com/richlyons.

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