On Monday, July 1, 2019, Kerwin K. Charles started his term as the Indra K. Nooyi Dean of the Yale School of Management. Charles, who was also named professor of economics, policy, and management, previously served as the Edwin A. and Betty L. Bergman Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy.
Charles is an accomplished scholar and educator who has studied and published on topics including earnings and wealth inequality, conspicuous consumption, race and gender labor market discrimination, the intergenerational transmission of economic status, worker and family adjustment to job loss and health shocks, non-work among prime-aged persons, and the labor market consequences of housing bubbles and sectoral change.
In a message to the SOM community, Charles stressed the importance of the Yale SOM mission to educate leaders for business and society. “I know from the passion I have heard when Yale SOM faculty, alumni, students, and staff speak about the mission that it is more than just words; it is the animating spirit and organizing purpose of the school,” he wrote. “That kind of commitment has never been more desperately important. Solutions to countless problems, both in the U.S. and globally, require command of the skills and insights we develop here at the Yale School of Management.”
Charles also introduced himself to the community and outlined how his belief in academic inquiry motivates and directs his efforts. “We are all engaged in the great work of the university—to discover and disseminate truths. I find that exhilarating. It requires conversation, eagerness for exchange, and willingness to hear differing points of view. Truth is often uncovered in the collision of ideas, and this means we must talk, we must represent our own best ideas, and we must strain against rigid certainties that keep us from really hearing each other.”
Charles succeeds Edward A. Snyder, who led the school from 2011 until 2019. During Snyder’s deanship, the school deepened its connections to Yale University, creating courses in entrepreneurship and other subjects that draw students from across the university; extended its global reach—most notably by founding the 30-school Global Network for Advanced Management; and furthered a mission-based approach to management education. Charles commented, “We are starting from a position of great strength following the strategic work done by Ted Snyder and the expansive team of faculty, staff, alumni, and friends who rallied behind his leadership.”