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Prof. Deborah Small, Dean Kerwin Charles, and Prof. Katja Seim
From left: Prof. Deborah Small, Dean Kerwin Charles, and Prof. Katja Seim. Photos by Mikayla Asher.

Yale SOM Celebrates Two Faculty Members’ Appointments to Named Chairs

Katja Seim, the inaugural Sharon Oster Professor of Economics and Management, investigates how firms respond to public policies. Deborah Small, the Adrian C. Israel Professor of Marketing, studies behavioral marketing and how individuals make decisions.

Yale SOM faculty members gathered on April 18 for a reception celebrating the recent appointment of two senior faculty members to named chairs. Katja Seim was named the inaugural Sharon Oster Professor of Economics and Management, with a joint appointment at SOM and the Department of Economics, and Deborah Small was appointed the Adrian C. Israel Professor of Marketing. Both appointments were effective as of July 2022. 

Both faculty members came to Yale SOM after building reputations as leading researchers in their fields at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Dean Kerwin K. Charles noted. 

“A wonderful tradition in the academic community is to take stock from time to time and to publicly recognize and praise those who, by virtue of their work, have appreciably added to the store of human knowledge, have broadened and deepened human understanding. We do that by awarding a chair in honor of their scholarly work,” he said. “Today we are here to honor two incredibly accomplished academics whom we are deeply fortunate to have here at SOM in our community, and who, in their scholarly work, have made and continue to make massively important contributions to their fields.”

The Sharon Oster Professorship that Seim holds was created in honor of Yale SOM’s longtime faculty member and former dean upon her retirement in 2018, with support from alumni of Yale College and Yale SOM, as well as faculty and members of the SOM advisory board. “It now upholds the memory and legacy of Sharon, who passed away in 2022,” Charles said. 

Judith A. Chevalier, the William S. Beinecke Professor of Finance and Economics, spoke about Seim’s research, which focuses on how firms respond to public policies, including entry and technology deployment regulations, competition policy, and tax policy in their entry, product positioning, and pricing choices.

“I think that Katja is so unusual in that her work is methodologically innovative—she pushes out the boundaries of what we can actually measure; it is carefully executed—you can actually believe the results that she comes up with; and it addresses important issues in public policy,” Chevalier said. “Many people do one; some few people do two of those things. I think Katja really succeeds at all three and that’s why her work is so great.”

Profs. Deborah Small and Katja Seim
Dean Kerwin Charles
Prof. Judith Chevalier
Prof. Gal Zauberman
Clockwise from top left: Profs. Deborah Small and Katja Seim, Dean Kerwin Charles, Prof. Gal Zauberman, Prof. Judith Chevalier

The Adrian C. Israel Professorship to which Small was appointed was established by Adrian “Ace” Israel, a longtime leader in finance and a 1936 graduate of Yale College, who passed away in 1991. Charles reported that Israel’s son Thomas C. Israel, a member of the Yale College Class of 1966, “was delighted to hear of this appointment.”

Small, Charles said, “is one of the world’s leading scholars in behavioral marketing,” with expertise in how individuals make decisions that affect their own and others’ welfare and what their choices signal to themselves and others about their moral character.

Gal Zauberman, the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Professor of Marketing, added that Small, a former colleague at the Wharton School, is a dedicated mentor as well as a highly cited researcher. 

“With Deb, it’s not just thinking through the problems, the questions, and doing the research; it’s deeply caring about her students as individuals and making sure they grow and they’re able to be successful on their own,” Zauberman said. “Deb gives her students what I refer to as a lifetime warranty. They come to her to get advice years after, whether it’s research or personal.”