For Sa-kiera T.J. Hudson, Berkeley is where she was always meant to be — even though her first visit there didn’t exactly go as planned.
Hudson joined the faculty at UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business this fall; she will teach the school’s core Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion course in the spring. But long before earning her PhD in social psychology from Harvard in 2020, when she was an undergrad at Williams College in 2010, she spent a formative summer at UC-Berkeley studying cultural psychology.
At least, she was meant to study cultural psychology. The summer didn’t start off well when her adviser left for China shortly after they met, never to return. But in a bit of good fortune, a graduate coordinator offered her some literature on power dynamics that changed the course of her career.
“It just so happened that I was reading about intergroup relations because I wanted to do a thesis in psychology,” Hudson tells Poets&Quants. “Reading those two literatures at the same time made me realize that when psychologists and other people talk about identity, they tend to talk about it almost from a cultural standpoint. We can talk about the stereotypes, the different ways that people view the world, etc. — but all the ways that people who have a marginalized identity think and behave and act are very similar to people who have low power. Which made me realize that identity is an example of power hierarchies. Race and gender and religion are examples of power hierarchies. And I wanted to study that for the rest of my life: the psychological processes involved in hierarchy formation, maintenance, and intersections.
“I’ve never actually stopped studying that.”
239 NEW FACULTY AT THE TOP 26 U.S. B-SCHOOLS THIS FALL
Hudson is one of 239 professors and instructors teaching MBA classes at new schools this year, nearly 50 more than 2021 and the most since 2018. For 147 of them — 61.5% — it is their first time teaching MBAs.
The number of faculty hires made by top schools has fluctuated a lot over the years, seemingly unaffected by larger forces like pandemics and recessions. In 2016, Poets&Quants counted 143 new profs — from full professors to guest lecturers — at the top 20 schools. In 2017, that number grew to 198 at 24 schools. The next year, 2018, there were an incredible 277 hires at the top 27 schools, including P&Q’s top 25. Among them were 168 whose full-time teaching jobs were the first in their career, or 65%, up from 57% of the previous year’s total. In 2019, there were 198 total new professors at the top 25 schools, including 135 — 68%, more than two-thirds — for whom the new job was also their first job teaching MBAs.
Then, in the fall of 2020, when most classes were virtual, 181 professors, instructors, lecturers, and other new faces joined the 25 highest-ranked U.S. B-schools. In the thick of the pandemic, of those 181 new hires, 62% were new to the classroom, whether newly minted PhDs or hailing from the corporate/startup world. Sixty-nine total professors had previous MBA teaching experience.
Which brings us to last year. In 2021, as the world began to crawl out from under the pall of the pandemic, 190 new and visiting professors joined the top 26 business schools in the United States. One hundred and twenty of the new hires, or 63%, were in their first teaching position; 70 were more familiar with the rigors of the MBA classroom.
MANAGEMENT IS AGAIN THE TOP DISCIPLINE OF NEW HIRES
In 2021, Harvard Business School led all B-schools with 30 new hires; after HBS, Chicago Booth was next with 21, followed by USC Marshall School of Business with 16 and Stanford GSB with 15. No school this year comes close to hiring as many as HBS did in 2021. Stanford leads all schools with 21 hires, Booth is second with 18, USC once again hired 16 new faculty, and Columbia Business School and HBS had 14 each. Overall this year, 11 schools in the top 26 report double-digit faculty hires.
In 2021, only one school, the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, reported no new hires; this year every school hired at least one new faculty member — and in the Ross School’s case, exactly one: Ruslan Momot, a Technology & Operations prof who got his PhD and Master of Science in Technology and Operations Management from INSEAD, and who came to Ross from Northwestern Kellogg.
The discipline most represented in 2021 was management, with 32 faculty in the field, followed by finance (29), marketing (19), accounting (18), operations (18), strategy (15), entrepreneurship (11), and economics (nine). In 2022, there are 60 professors or instructors whose discipline includes some form of or reference to management, 45 in finance, 35 in marketing, 27 in economics, 25 in operations, 18 in accounting, and 17 in strategy. Twelve are in entrepreneurship, and nine in organizational behavior.
‘LET’S MAKE SURE THE AIR IS GOOD FOR EVERYBODY’
Sa-kiera Hudson, working in the Haas School’s Management of Organizations group, will teach the Berkeley Haas core DEI course in the spring. It’s the second iteration of a DEI course at Berkeley; last year it was a two-day intensive workshop. “Now we’re stretching it to seven to eight weeks with the goal — at least it’s my goal — of making this a semester-long course,” Hudson tells P&Q.
Another goal, she adds, is to move beyond the buzzword “DEI.”
“We all know DEI, it’s a buzzword, everybody uses it,” she says. “But I’m not a hundred percent sure everybody has the meat behind the word to then flexibly use it as a tool, rather than just, ‘Hey, I said DEI. That’s enough, right?’
“The course will hopefully get people to recognize: the air around us, the air that we breathe, that we assume is the same everywhere, is not. People live in places with air pollution. And if you don’t live in that place, you never think about it. Because not only do you not think about air, but also your air is fine. So really it’s about getting people to have the tools to think that way so that in their own organizations or in their own practices, they can start to take a more proactive approach: ‘Hey, let’s make sure the air is good for everybody.'”
See the next pages for complete lists of the 239 new faculty at the top 26 business schools, including field of discipline, where they last taught and where they studied.
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