Letter from the Dean

Improving the Undergraduate Program

Dean Rich Lyons

As an undergraduate alum of Berkeley Haas, I am excited to tell you about several recent improvements to this already top-ranked program.


Despite challenging economic times, we have expanded experiential-learning opportunities for undergrads this year and launched several initiatives to develop a stronger sense of community in that program. These improvements are possible only because of the generous support of alumni like you. If our Annual Fund were half the size it is today, we would be a much less effective school.


This past fall, we offered two new experiential-learning courses for undergraduates. In one course, Imposter Syndrome: How to Silence Your Inner Critic, students learned practical techniques to increase self-confidence and self-esteem. Another course, Charisma and Leadership, challenged students by creating scenarios that pulled them from their comfort zones and then showed them how to navigate such situations—an essential skill for any leader.


In the current spring semester, we have teamed with other units on campus to offer two new electives
that are both experiential and multidisciplinary: New Product Development, with the College of Engineering, and Selecting Successful Strategies to Address Global Poverty, with the School of Public Health.


Of course, we know there's more to the undergraduate experience than homework, midterms, and finals. Outside the classroom, we have been working with an enthusiastic group of students to foster a deeper sense of community.


We divided the incoming class of 350 Haas undergrads into six cohorts. As groups, they participate in different activities and playful competitions every month. These activities include ice skating, testing their Haas trivia knowledge in a scavenger hunt, and collecting canned foods before Thanksgiving.


All of these efforts have been spearheaded by Undergraduate Program Director Erika Walker. Erika brings another recent distinction to our school: She has been selected for a prestigious program on the UC Berkeley campus to create a unique course called Diversity in the Workforce and deliver it in the fall term of 2011.


I am thrilled about these new efforts in our Undergraduate Program. They will make it stronger by creating an even more well-rounded experience for students. As always, if you have any suggestions for other improvements, please email me at lyons@haas.berkeley.edu.

Sincerely Yours,

Rich Lyons



Follow Dean Rich Lyons on Twitter at twitter.com/richlyons.