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Hoffman and Lyon Bring Rare Trans-disciplinary Approach to Sustainability

10/1/2004 --

The naming of two new chaired professors adds exciting momentum to Michigan's expanding program in environmentally sustainable enterprise.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – A two-year international search has culminated in the selection of two leading scholars and educators in the field of sustainable commerce–Andrew J. Hoffman and Thomas P. Lyon–to fill two new chaired professorships held jointly by the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE) at the University of Michigan.

The new appointments "create the largest critical mass of sustainable business faculty at any of the world's professional business schools and schools of environment," says Tom Gladwin, the Max McGraw Professor of Sustainable Enterprise and director of the Frederick A. and Barbara M. Erb Environmental Management Institute. "They also bring an unparalleled focus on organizational transformation and business-government relations to the study of corporate social and environmental responsibility."

Hoffman is the first Holcim Professor of Sustainable Enterprise and has been named co-director of the Erb Institute's Corporate Environmental Management Program (CEMP), a three-year, top-ranked joint master's degree program in sustainable enterprise. He also will work with the Ross School's Management and Organizations group and with SNRE's faculty.

Lyon holds the first Dow Professorship of Sustainable Science, Technology and Commerce. He will join the Ross School's Business Economics Department and, along with Hoffman and Gladwin, will join SNRE's Sustainable Systems and Enterprise Group. Both positions include research appointments at the Erb Institute and teaching responsibilities with CEMP.

The two chaired professorships were funded by $5 million in endowment contributions from Holcim, the world's second largest cement company, based in Switzerland, and Dow Chemical Co., headquartered in Midland, Mich.

In announcing the new appointments, Ross School Dean Robert Dolan said, "Finding the right people who are best-suited for these positions was not a straightforward task, given the current stage of development in the field of environmental management and sustainability. Both Andy and Tom are great scholars and teachers, and, with Tom Gladwin, they give us a great team to push forward the agendas of the Erb Institute and its Corporate Environmental Management Program."

The addition of two new faculty comes at a crucial juncture for the Institute and its degree-granting program, which is expected to double in size from 40 to 75 students, making Michigan the largest producer of sustainability leaders of tomorrow.

Brian Talbot, co-director of CEMP and the Keith E. and Valerie J. Alessi Professor of Business Administration at the Ross School, characterizes both Hoffman and Lyon as "a rare breed" of bridge builders who possess the trans-disciplinary research and teaching capabilities needed to span the borders of intellectual fields and reach across the boundaries of governmental, nongovernmental and corporate organizations.

"Most of our most serious environmental challenges involve many different fields and issues," Talbot says. "The solutions to these problems will require novel, cross-disciplinary ideas and actions."

Hoffman, who has been recognized as a "rising star" in his field by the World Resources and Aspen institutes, brings an organizational-theory and corporate-strategy perspective on environmentally sustainable enterprise to Michigan.

"Andy is one of the leading young scholars and an innovative classroom teacher," Gladwin says. "During fall 2003 he taught corporate strategy and international business as a visiting associate professor at the business school–our students fell in love with him. He, in turn, expressed a great desire to join our program, which is one of the best in the world."

Hoffman, who left the faculty at Boston University's School of Management to come to Michigan, has authored four books on corporate environmentalism. His joint Ph.D. in business and environmental engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his combined background in competitive strategy, social responsibility and regulatory compliance have further enhanced his prominence in research, teaching and academic literature.

Lyon previously taught at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business and was a visiting economist at the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division and a fellow at Resources for the Future, a national think-tank in Washington, D.C. He holds a joint Ph.D. from Stanford University in engineering-economic systems.

"Tom brings a strong, rigorous economic framework based on industrial organization as well as a great deal of wisdom and experience in research and teaching about the relation of business to government in the fields of energy and environmental policy," Gladwin says. "It is so vital to have someone with energy expertise on the faculty because one of our biggest environmental challenges is moving away from fossil fuel-based energy."

Lyon has introduced a new course on energy policy, which he is teaching at SNRE this fall. He is the co-author of a forthcoming book, titled Corporate Environmentalism and Public Policy.

"We're getting all the pieces in place," Gladwin says. "With the addition of Andy and Tom to our faculty, we now have the major areas of corporate strategy, organizational transformation and complex systems covered. We also are experiencing a proliferation of new courses–comprising one of the largest portfolios of coursework available–that is making the Ross School of Business a very exciting place for corporate social and environmental stewardship."

For more information, contact:
Bernie DeGroat
Phone: (734) 936-1015 or 647-1847