The start of any academic year is exciting, as well as busy. However, this year there is additional significance to myself as I take my position as the new Director of the Runstad Center. To make things even more hectic I am moving to Seattle not only from outside the state but from London. I’m joining UW from Henley Business School at the University of Reading where since 2010 I have been Professor of Real Estate Finance & Investment and Director of the Master’s program in Real Estate Finance. I previously held faculty positions at City University London (2005-10) and University College Dublin (1994-2005), where I also undertook my PhD. I hope that my international experience will be a valuable resource as we seek to ensure the ongoing development and growth of the Runstad Center.
Even in the short time I have been here it has become abundantly clear what a special institution the Runstad Center is. We have an incredibly devoted and passionate student body and alumni, whilst the support from the real estate community in Washington is remarkable. That was clearly illustrated by the success of our leadership dinner, held on a very wet October evening. Despite the challenging weather over 500 people came to see Brad Smith, President of Microsoft, and support the activities of the Center. The commitment from the local industry is also evident in the work of Peter Orser. I would like to thank Peter for stepping in over the course of the last 18 months as Acting Director and ensuring that the Center maintained its forward momentum. Together with the work of Professor Sofia Dermisi in the continued development of the MSRE Program, it means that I join a Center in the best of health.
Over the course of the next couple of years we are going to see some major initiatives come to fruition. The new Graduate Certificate Program is launching this year whilst progress continues to be made on our new Undergraduate Minor. We are also growing our staff, with a new Associate Director (Research) and three new faculty to be hired over the course of the next year. This will not only enhance the academic profile and reputation of the Center but it will help us in expanding our classroom and program activities. Furthermore, it will allow us to extend our applied research and outreach program. Wearing another hat, I am co-editor of the Journal of Real Estate Portfolio Management, the applied investment journal of the American Real Estate Society. In both my editorial and Center Director roles I am keen on pursuing initiatives that bring the academic and industry communities closer together. In the latest newsletter there is a link to a piece I wrote during the summer commenting upon BREXIT and how the decision of the UK to leave the European Union may impact the real estate sector. Read the full article here
My over-reaching aim as Director will be for the Center to continue to be driven by the maxim of Learn, Lead and Transform. Our aim, in all of our activities, should be to facilitate learning, provide thought leadership and to transform lives. I look forward to working alongside you all as we strive to ensure that the Runstad Center continues to move forward, providing the best learning experience possible and being a leading resource for both academic and applied research.