November 5, 2008

UC Davis Graduate School of Management Dean Honored With Aspen Institute’s 2008 Faculty Pioneer Award for Institutional Impact

Nicole Woolsey Biggart, dean and professor of management and sociology at the University of California, Davis, Graduate School of Management, will receive the Aspen Institute's Center for Business Education's 2008 Faculty Pioneer Award for Institutional Impact at a reception this evening at Ernst & Young's corporate headquarters in New York City.

The annual recognition, dubbed the "Oscars of the business school world" by the Financial Times, celebrates MBA faculty who have demonstrated leadership and risk-taking in integrating social and environment issues into academic research, educational programs and business practice.

"I am deeply honored to receive this award on behalf of the entire UC Davis Graduate School of Management community," said Biggart. "This award recognizes the collaborative, innovative and entrepreneurial culture we have fostered in which the philosophy, values and principles of social and environmental responsibility are woven into the very fabric of the school. UC Davis MBA students and graduates are globally aware and dedicated to improving their communities and the world."

Biggart announced that she will donate the honorarium that comes with the award to the student chapter of Net Impact at UC Davis, which itself has been recognized nationally as "Best Small Chapter of the Year" and "Trailblazer Chapter of the Year" the past two years. Biggart credits the student organization for new and innovative programs, activities and opportunities to spread the message of corporate responsibility and demonstrate its impact.

A roundtable discussion on how--and if--business schools can prepare future business leaders to deal with a rapidly changing global society will precede the reception. Participants in the roundtable will include Faculty Pioneer Award winners and a select group of business and philanthropic thought leaders.

"At a time of turbulence and change in our economy and society, these remarkable individuals are helping prepare future business leaders to meet the challenges of creating both successful and socially responsible businesses," said Rich Leimsider, director of the Aspen Institute Center for Business Education.

Nominations for the awards are open to faculty at any institution offering a graduate management degree. Candidates are nominated by their academic peers and winners are chosen by a panel of corporate judges.

Biggart is being recognized for initiating positive change and ensuring that business education is part of the solution to the challenges of globalization. Most recently, Biggart, on behalf of the Graduate School of Management, officially adopted and endorsed the U.N. Global Compact's Principles for Responsible Management Education. UC Davis was among the first 100 business schools in the world--and among the first 20 in the U.S.--to sign on to the framework to advance corporate social responsibility through the incorporation of universal values into curricula and research.

At the annual dean's conference of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International in February, Biggart presented the UC Davis Graduate School of Management as a case study of an institution that has successfully put issues related to business and society at the center of business education.

Biggart's own academic research as an economic sociologist has focused on social and environmental issues, including applying organizational studies to global warming and energy efficiency in the commercial building industry. She has studied a wide array of sectors, organizations and markets around the world, including research on the auto industries in South Korea, Taiwan, Spain and Argentina; management and organization in the Far East; organizational change in the U.S. Post Office; and the sociology of labor and leisure. She is also an expert on the formation of business clusters.

As dean, she has also continued to teach, including a course in experiential approaches to management that helps students deal with issues of personal concern or emotional and ethical significance.

For more information on the Faculty Pioneer Awards and on this year's other award winners, visit


The Aspen Institute's Center for Business Education encourages future business leaders to innovate at the intersection of corporate profits and social impacts. Its goal is bold and long-term: to radically re-orient the MBA degree to embrace the principles of corporate citizenship and sustainability.


Established in 1981, the UC Davis Graduate School of Management provides management education to more than 500 students enrolled in Daytime MBA and Working Professional MBA programs on the UC Davis campus, in Sacramento, and in the San Francisco Bay Area. It also offers a technology management minor for undergraduates and business development programs in which doctoral science students develop skills to commercialize research. For more information, visit