Susan Christoffersen, Dean of the Rotman School of Management since 2021, offers her perspective on the sense of purpose shared by our students, faculty, staff, alumni and the broader Rotman community as we work together to create positive impact.
At a time when so many complex dimensions of change are converging, we sum up Rotman’s purpose very simply: to create value for business and society. And we make that purpose concrete by focusing our efforts in three main areas:
1. Designing more responsive and resilient organizations
Navigating relentless change requires agility and creativity anchored by a strong foundation of trust. Rotman helps leaders and their organizations rise to this challenge with learning and research tying together diverse aspects of modern management practice, including governance, ethics, leadership, risk management, financial disclosure, behavioural economics and business design. This multidisciplinary approach cuts across our school’s seven core academic areas: accounting; economic analysis and policy; finance; marketing; operations management and statistics; organizational behaviour and human resources management; and strategic management.
2. Driving innovation and analytical insights
Rotman is a hub for ground-breaking research seeking solutions to tough business problems, as well as larger social, economic and environmental challenges. Our school is committed to fostering entrepreneurship and promoting excellence in science-based innovation. In a world where information has become the most valuable form of currency, we explore areas such as AI and machine learning, data analytics, blockchain, simulation-based financial analysis and human-centred design. As we often say, our school is a place where change happens – where the interplay of insights and ideas sparks unexpected connections and reveals innovative ways of tackling stubborn problems.
3. Building healthy, equitable and sustainable societies
Today’s leaders must address the urgent need for action on climate change within a broader array of pressing environmental, social and governance (ESG) challenges. Businesses have joined with governments, NGOs and other organizations in the search for sustainability initiatives that will also drive long-term prosperity. At Rotman, we’re evolving our programs to reflect the integral importance of ESG factors in management decision-making. Our areas of focus include encouraging student projects exploring how sustainability intersects with business strategy and practices; fostering equity, diversity and inclusion in organizations and communities; improving the management and delivery of healthcare; expanding access to high-quality housing and other social infrastructure; and using behaviourally informed nudges to advance public policy objectives.
Globally connected learning and research
A common theme running through all three aspects of Rotman’s purpose is the need to look beyond the horizon and think global. Today’s enterprises, whether exploring new markets, managing supply chains, connecting with potential investors or looking for ways to reduce carbon emissions, operate in a world where traditional boundaries have been erased. And the people leading those enterprises apply the same wide lens to their own career paths.
That’s why we bring global perspectives to all of our academic programs, along with opportunities to study and work abroad. Like the university of which we’re an integral part, Rotman is at the centre of a worldwide network of researchers, thinkers, partner organizations and business leaders – including many alumni who’ve gone on to build international careers.
Ensuring all voices are heard
The various efforts I’ve outlined here are grounded in a fundamental commitment to advance equity, diversity and inclusion – within our school, across the communities we serve and in all our interactions with global society. We have a responsibility, as an educational institution and a centre of inquiry and thought leadership, to help drive positive social change.
At Rotman, talented people with diverse backgrounds and points of view come together to exchange ideas, to motivate and support one another, and to collaborate on work that matters. As we map out ambitious goals for the future, we’re guided by our shared sense of purpose and a transformative promise: Here’s where it changes.
Dean, Rotman School of Management