Martha J. Crawford will be the new dean of the Jack Welch College of Business (WCOB) at Sacred Heart University, effective August 5. She has both a business and academic background, having served as senior vice president of Research & Development for several multinational companies (Air Liquide, Areva and L’Oréal) based in France. In those roles, she fostered technological innovation, sponsoring internal innovators, coaching and helping to develop tech startups with VC partners and creating new startups with innovation partners.
In 2016, after living and working in France for 20 years, Crawford repatriated to the United States to accept a teaching position at the Harvard Business School. Since 2016, she has taught the MBA core-curriculum course, “Leadership and Corporate Accountability,” which covers legal and ethical aspects of corporate responsibility. In addition, she developed a course—“21st-Century Energy”—that was nominated in 2019 for a national prize by the Harvard Business and Environment Initiative.
Crawford is a resident of Cambridge, Mass. She earned her master’s degree in business administration from the Collège des Ingénieurs in Paris in 1998. Prior to that, she received her MS and doctorate degrees in environmental and chemical engineering from Harvard University (School of Engineering and Applied Sciences) in 1994 and 1997 respectively.
Crawford is excited to lead the growing College of Business at Sacred Heart. “I look forward to helping transform West Campus into a regional center of excellence for teaching entrepreneurship and innovation with state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities, co-working space, start-up accelerator and incubator space and joint innovation programs with industrial partners,” she said. “I also look forward to building or reinforcing academic bridges and degree program with other SHU colleges. This will help prepare students to thrive in an increasingly complex world that requires interdisciplinary knowledge and skills.”
Crawford said the creativity and boldness of the SHU senior leaders enticed her away from the Harvard Business School where she has been very happy. “I was impressed with their putting the School of Computer Science and Engineering within the College of Business and acquiring the former GE headquarters to build out an innovation campus that will become an important platform for business growth in the region,” she said. “During my interviews, I was excited by the sense of mission, energy and the capacity to embrace change. I look forward to working with the team at SHU, and I believe my former C-suite experience managing R&D, intellectual property and innovation partnerships for multi-national companies has given me the skills and network necessary to help the WCOB achieve its goals.”
SHU’s mission is also important to Crawford. “My parents taught us that we had to give back to society in proportion to our capacities—that we need to use our resources to create value, reinforce our communities and help make the world a better place,” she said. “A tour of campus with my daughter (a rising high school junior) and interaction with several students convinced me that SHU is teaching that same philosophy and equipping students to make a positive difference. That resonated with me.”
“We are excited to welcome Martha to the SHU community. We believe she is the right person to actualize our vision of integrating business and technology education—something that began with the move of the School of Computer Science & Engineering into the College of Business,” said Rupendra Paliwal, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “Her expertise in creating value through technical innovation will be critical as we continue to develop an innovation center at West Campus. She is dedicated to providing a transformational learning experience for our students and also contributing to the regional economy.”
The Jack Welch College of Business is named after the legendary former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch. Its goal is to develop the next generation of leaders, and all activities and programs focus on enhancing student learning. Students work with a dedicated community of scholars and practitioners rooted in the Catholic intellectual traditions, ethics and values with learning taking place both inside and outside of the classroom. Business students participate in learning communities, in-service experience with area non-profits and international exposure through courses at SHU’s Luxembourg and Dingle campuses. The curriculum of the WCOB is to prepare students to achieve their goals, give back to their community and make a difference in global society.