Dean of the Lam Family College of Business



San Francisco State University (SF State), a thriving public institution of higher education, seeks an inspiring, innovative, and collaborative leader to serve as Dean of the Lam Family College of Business (LFCoB).

Position Summary

Reporting to the Provost and working in partnership with faculty, students, and staff, the Dean will build upon the many strengths of the College – including its exceptional commitment to equity and community involvement, rich array of programs, talented faculty, internationally recognized emphasis on social responsibility and environmental sustainability, and direct access to industry – to ensure that SF State continues to develop outstanding business leaders for the 21st century.

SF State is a comprehensive urban university located in a vibrant city with a deep intellectual and cultural life. With the unwavering commitment to social justice that is central to the work of the University, SF State prepares its students to become productive, ethical, active citizens with a global perspective. The University has distinguished itself as an active center of academic teaching, scholarship, and civic engagement and offers undergraduate and graduate instruction through its six academic Colleges. SF State is a culturally diverse campus that is part of the 23-campus California State University (CSU) system and currently serves 26,561 undergraduates and 3,046 graduate and professional students. To learn more about San Francisco State University and the CSU, visit Appendices I and II.

The Lam Family College of Business (LFCoB) is dedicated to celebrating the rich diversity, global perspective, and entrepreneurial spirit of the Bay Area and aspires to be the college of choice for students seeking to innovate sustainably and lead responsibly. LFCoB students apply sustainability and ethical perspectives to understandings of business practice, global leadership, innovation, the economy, and society.

The AACSB-accredited Lam Family College of Business serves over 5,800 undergraduate and graduate students and is one of the largest business schools both within, and outside of, the CSU system. With 127 tenured and tenure-track faculty and 104 lecturers, the LFCoB is comprised of ten academic departments: Accounting, Decision Sciences, Economics, Finance, Hospitality and Tourism Management, Information Systems, International Business, Labor and Employment Studies, Management, and Marketing.


Role of the Dean of the Lam Family College of Business

The Dean of the Lam Family College of Business is the chief academic, fiscal, and administrative officer of the College and reports to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Jennifer Summit. The Dean develops and articulates the vision for the College within San Francisco’s strategic plan framework, including its mission, vision, core values, and strategic priorities. In collaboration with faculty, staff, students, and industry partners, the Dean will set a clear vision for the future and develop strategic steps and execute a plan to achieve that vision. The vision must prioritize advancing the College’s reputation for academic excellence, driving student success, and creating innovative business learning opportunities.

The incoming Dean will join the University at a time of tremendous opportunity. Dr. Lynn Mahoney joined SF State as its 14th President in July 2019. Dr. Mahoney previously served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs for California State University, Los Angeles and is the first woman appointed to serve in the role in a permanent capacity. In April 2019, the College received a $25 million gift from Chris Larsen, an alumnus, and Lyna Lam, making it the first named college in the University’s history. The gift will fund a variety of initiatives that enable the University to focus on innovation-oriented learning and professional development.

SF State seeks a successful senior administrative leader with experience as a champion of equity, an inspiring and effective manager, and a responsible steward of revenue and resource development. To that end, the Dean will address a set of key opportunities, which are detailed further in this profile:

  • Lead the College in developing a compelling and distinctive identity and long-term vision to position SF State as a competitive business program in the crowded SF market;
  • Prioritize academic excellence and student success for both undergraduate and graduate students, with particular consideration for underrepresented minorities;
  • Strengthen the undergraduate educational experience by setting high standards for pedagogy and curriculum that advance 21st century business education;
  • Assess and grow graduate and certificate programs to meet the evolving needs of the business community;
  • Cultivate interconnectedness and trust among students, staff, and faculty, creating an inclusive and vibrant intellectual community;
  • Grow and diversify resource streams for the College;
  • Establish strong relationships with local businesses to create a strong recruiting pipeline at SFSU at both the undergraduate and graduate levels; foster engagement between SF State and the local community more broadly; and extend the reputation and impact of the College across the University, the region, and beyond.


The Dean creates new opportunities for the College and the University and directs the College’s growth and development through shared governance. The Dean is responsible for promoting and improving the quality and effectiveness of the College’s programs, including: all aspects of undergraduate and graduate teaching and learning; research and scholarship; and industry engagement. The Dean provides leadership for assessment, accreditation, and student success initiatives including increased graduation rates and retention. This individual is also responsible for developing and enhancing sources of non-state revenue, including fundraising and development as well as extended education programs in alignment with the goals of the College.


The Dean also advocates for the LFCoB within the University and among external stakeholders, including business partners, prospective students, and alumni. The Dean consults with the LFCoB Advisory Council, which includes individuals with significant experience and expertise in a variety of business and professional disciplines.


The Dean works with a team that includes an Associate Dean, Assistant Dean, Executive Director of Business Development and Marketing, Faculty Director of Graduate Business Programs, Director of Finance and Operations, Executive Director of Development and Operations, and Senior Director of Development. The Dean will oversee ten departmental chairs and an annual budget of approximately $19 million.


About the Lam Family College of Business

“We are San Francisco’s public business school. We embrace the area’s rich diversity and provide access to higher education. Our mission is to prepare students for professional success through high quality teaching, innovative and relevant courses, discipline-based and pedagogical scholarship, and engagement with the academic and business communities.” -Mission of the Lam Family College of Business

For more than 60 years, the Lam Family College of Business (LFCoB) has served as a regional catalyst for educating and preparing students to succeed in a global economy. The LFCoB has a strong commitment to sustainable business, diversity, social justice, and global partnerships that echoes its core philosophy of responsible leadership. The College has structured its priorities and goals by developing five key strategic initiatives: investing in faculty and academic excellence; investing in students through scholarships and careers; investing in and leverage the LFCoB brand to sustain competitive advantages; building corporate connections; and cultivating friend-raising and fundraising.

The LFCoB confers approximately 1,200 undergraduate degrees and 225 graduate degrees annually; business administration is the largest undergraduate major at SF State, comprising approximately 20 percent of undergraduate enrollment. The College’s curriculum balances the art and sciences of management so that students gain an understanding of both the theoretical backdrop for business and learn to apply theory in diverse management situations. The LFCoB maintains extensive ties across the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley and serves as a leading educational center for thousands of Bay Area professionals.

Achieving initial AACSB accreditation in 1964, the College is one of just five percent of all business schools in the world that meet the standards for accreditation. In 2014, the LFCoB underwent a successful accreditation visit, granting them accreditation through 2019. The Dean acts as the College’s leader in accreditation strategy and implementation.


Students and Academic Programs

The College offers a range of degree programs for undergraduate, graduate, and executive students; they are highly accessible, offered on a part-time or full-time basis, and most courses are offered on weekday afternoons and evenings. Undergraduate students may earn a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) with a concentration in Accounting, Decision Sciences, Finance, General Business, Information Systems, International Business, Management, and Marketing; a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management (BSHTM); a Bachelor of Arts in Economics; or a Bachelor of Arts in Labor and Employment Studies. Emphasis is placed on business ethics and sustainability throughout the curriculums.

For graduate and executive students, the College offers six in-person programs. These are the Master of Business Administration (MBA), MBA for Executives, Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA), MBA for Biotech Professionals, a Master of Science in Business Analytics, and a Master of Arts in Economics. Finally, geared towards working professionals looking to update or obtain new skills in specific business areas, students can elect to pursue advanced professional programs ranging from full-day workshops to online certificates. These programs are administered through the College of Extended Learning. A number of graduate and certificate programs take place at SF State’s Downtown Campus at the Westfield San Francisco Centre, located adjacent to the city’s financial district.


Lam Family College of Business Funding Initiatives

In June 2019, the California State University approved the naming of the College of Business as the Lam Family College of Business. The naming is in recognition of the transformational $25 million donation from Chris Larsen and his wife Lyna Lam. Larson is an alumnus of the College and co-founder of San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Ripple.

The $25 million donation was gifted largely through cryptocurrency Ripple (XRP) and is believed to be the largest gift of a digital asset to a U.S. university. The gift endows two new faculty chairs, the Ripple works Endowed Chair for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Lam-Larsen Endowed Chair in Financial Technology, as well as the Lam-Larsen Fund for Global Innovation. Designed to fulfill the College’s mission to serve a richly diverse learning community, the Fund will bring together students and faculty across the University to engage in a variety of collaborative, interdisciplinary programs that reinforce the College’s focus on innovation-oriented learning and professional development.

To learn more about the Lam Family College of Business, please visit:


Key Opportunities for the Dean of the Lam Family College of Business

To be successful, the Dean will address a set of key opportunities, which are detailed as follows.

Lead the College in developing a compelling and distinctive identity and long-term vision to position SF State as a competitive business program in the crowded SF market

The Dean will work closely with faculty, staff, students and the College community to craft a compelling vision and identity that will help unify and coalesce the LFCoB. Creating this identity and vision should include building an equitable community via inclusive practices as well as a greater sense of shared purpose and community, encouraging collaborative activity at all levels. Furthermore, the Dean will help further a vision that leverages SF State’s tremendous diversity and history of progressive, activist education while looking ahead to the future. In concert with LFCoB stakeholders, the Dean will be tasked with redefining business education for the 21st century and the changing workforce. This will entail leveraging the innovation of the Bay Area and Silicon Valley and building a model of training for business leaders at the nexus of business education and research. This vision will also outline steps to promote the academic success and personal development of all students. The Dean, in concert with faculty, staff, students and the broader community will also be responsible for the development and execution of the College’s next strategic plan which will outline areas of prioritization in the short and long term.

Strengthen the undergraduate educational experience by enhancing academic excellence and student success for both undergraduate and graduate students, with particular consideration for underrepresented minorities

Student access and success is at the center of SF State’s identity and the Dean will build a supportive culture for students, including ensuring robust curricular and co-curricular offerings and quality instruction, opportunities for experiential learning and research, and strong educational preparation leading to more well-prepared and more responsible leadership as well as enhanced career placement and success. The Dean will start with assessing and elevating the academic program – focusing upon the centrality of undergraduate education and research and the development of new teaching and learning models. The Dean will also work to advance more interdisciplinary and creative approaches to problem solving, ensuring a strong educational foundation for graduates. As many of the LFCoB’s students are first-generation and/or come from underrepresented backgrounds, transfer, or place-bound, the Dean must also enhance student support services, investing in student advising and student financial aid with a focus upon increasing student retention and graduation rates. This challenge aligns with the CSU’s Graduation Initiative 2025; an ambitious initiative to increase graduation rates for all CSU students while eliminating opportunity and achievement gaps. To learn more about the Graduation Initiative 2025, visit

The Dean will also be especially mindful of the opportunities presented by the LFCoB’s physical location. With facilities in downtown San Francisco, as well as its main campus located in the southwestern part of the city, the College has an opportunity to further cultivate relationships with industry and the surrounding community. The Dean will be expected to identify and grow additional learning and career opportunities for students including internships, community-based projects, business competitions, and other ventures.

Assess and grow the portfolio of graduate and certificate programs to align with the evolving needs of the business community

The LFCoB is committed to integrating a business education with meaningful and relevant real-world experiences. To that end, the College has made changes to its offerings by adding specialized master’s programs, yet there is opportunity to do more. The Dean should develop a robust vision to reinvigorate graduate education in the Lam Family College of Business. The Dean will also be tasked with growing graduate enrollments and building centers of excellence, as well as other earned revenue programs. In efforts to reach more students, the College aims to explore additional hybrid (in class/online) delivery models where possible.

Cultivate interconnectedness and trust among students, staff, and faculty, creating an inclusive and vibrant intellectual community

The Lam Family College of Business is served by a talented and engaged faculty and staff who are vital to ensuring students have a positive experience inside and outside the classroom. The Dean will provide inspiring and robust leadership and intellectual breadth to this group, building consensus and good operational process, bringing the community together around the Dean’s vision and a shared sense of purpose. S/he will set a tone for decision making, prioritization, and strategic resource allocation that is collaborative, respectful of shared governance, and transparent. The Dean must have an evaluative eye and be able to facilitate meaningful and significant initiatives – academic and administrative, large and small, tactical and strategic – across the College.

The Dean will strive to support faculty members across departments in further developing their teaching and research while enhancing and diversifying the College’s strengths. The Dean will lead efforts to support faculty in developing and executing their research initiatives while maintaining the priority of teaching that is core to the institution’s identity and mission. The Dean will work with the University leadership to provide the support needed to attract and retain exceptionally talented faculty and staff to the LFCoB from across the nation and around the globe. S/he will do this while maintaining a laser focus on the University’s deeply held values of courage, life of the mind, equity, community, and resilience.

In addition, the Dean will be expected to hire and enhance training at the staff level. S/he will also be expected to build career professional development opportunities for staff, oversee improvements in performance evaluations and career tracking, explore incentives and recognition programs to support high performance, and build programming opportunities for greater inclusiveness within the LFCoB.

Grow and diversify resource streams for the College

As state funding for higher education is declining nationally, and in California, the College must look more seriously at diversifying its resources. To that end, the Dean will grow and diversify revenue streams to ensure a sustainable path forward. The Dean will be tasked with both strategic and creative management of existing resources and new resource development. This includes savvy budget management with an eye to enrollment and program growth, including the growth of earned revenue programs, fundraising, enhancing research and contracts where possible, and the development of mutually beneficial industry and/or educational partnerships.

Establish strong relationships with local businesses to create a strong recruiting pipeline at SF State at both the undergraduate and graduate levels; foster engagement between SF State and the local community more broadly; and extend the reputation and impact of the College across the University, the region, and beyond

Given its location, SF State’s Lam Family College of Business is surrounded by a large number of public, private, and for-profit institutions. The Dean, in collaboration with University leadership, faculty, and external partners, will endeavor to strengthen the LFCoB’s reputation, articulate its distinctiveness, and broaden its visibility. Internal to the University, the Dean will be tasked with encouraging more joint collaboration and shared activity with other colleges, while simultaneously advocating for increased investments where necessary. The College also aims to expand the scope and impact of its work across the greater Bay Area; the Dean will be expected to build external partnerships and connections with industry and outside entities wherever possible.


Qualifications and Characteristics

While no one person will likely embody all of the professional qualifications, skills, experiences, and

personal qualities desirable in this role, the ideal candidate will bring many of the following:

  • An earned postgraduate degree in a business or management field from an accredited institution. A PhD is strongly preferred.
  • A record of publishing in respected peer-reviewed academic research journals and successful development of research grants for faculty.
  • A record as a visionary organizational leader with the proven ability to promote research, service, and instructional excellence in a variety of disciplines.
  • A reputation for leading and inspiring a diverse community of faculty, students, administrative staff, administrators, and community members.
  • An equity-minded leadership style with a commitment to inclusion.
  • Experience with maintaining and developing strong undergraduate and graduate programs.
  • A record as a consensus builder with a demonstrated history of successfully bridging internal and external stakeholders and forging interconnectedness across multiple divisions.
  • Experience with and knowledge of evidence-based decision-making.
  • Exemplary communication, interpersonal, and managerial skills.
  • Effective marketing and brand building skills; experience in successfully growing an organization.
  • Financial acumen and experience in the development of new resources, including fundraising, program revenue growth, grant support and corporate relationship development.
  • A proven record of building mutually beneficial professional partnerships within a variety of public-private organizations, nationally and internationally.
  • Collegial decision-making experience within the context of shared governance and collective bargaining.
  • Integrity, imagination, honesty, and a progressive management style built upon respect, two-way communication, collaboration, and fairness.


Compensation and Location

The salary for this position is competitive, commensurate with experience and qualifications. A benefits package is provided. The position is included in the CSU Management Plan. This position is located in San Francisco, California, a city with an ideal climate, exceptionally diverse population, and easy access to countless cultural and recreational opportunities.


Applications, Inquiries, and Nominations

View the Dean of the Lam Family College of Business advertisement here.

Screening of complete applications will begin immediately and continue until the completion of the search process. Inquiries, nominations, referrals, and CVs with cover letters should be sent via the Isaacson, Miller website for the search: Electronic submission of materials is strongly encouraged.