Robert W. Helsley is the dean of the UBC Sauder School of Business and the Grosvenor Professor of Cities, Business Economics and Public Policy at the University of British Columbia. He earned his MA and PhD degrees in economics at Princeton University, and a BS in economics (with honors) and mathematics at the University of Oregon. He has published widely in the areas of urban and public economics, real estate, and public policy.
Under Helsley’s leadership, the UBC Sauder School has seen its research profile strengthened, the introduction of innovative new programs and experiences for students, increased diversity and transparency in governance, development of innovative cross-campus collaborations, and expansion of the school’s global partnerships. During his tenure, the school has become a key driver of innovation and entrepreneurship both at UBC and in the larger community. His commitment to responsible leadership and the importance of values and ethics in business has fostered a culture of collaboration and respect, along with greater engagement and outreach to the external community.
Recently appointed to a second term as dean, Helsley has launched a strategic plan that articulates a new vision and mission for the school, building on the traditional strengths in research and teaching while advancing the school’s impact in emerging areas of societal importance. To support innovation and growth in the school’s graduate portfolio, Helsley is set to embark on the development of a new home for the graduate school—the most significant expansion in the Sauder School’s history—that will also serve as both an innovation hub for inter-campus collaboration and a community gathering space.
Prior to becoming dean at UBC Sauder, Helsley served as senior associate dean for faculty and research from 2002 to 2008, and prior to this, as director of the UBC Centre for Real Estate and Urban Economics, and chair of the Urban Land Economics division. Between 2008 and 2012, before returning to UBC Sauder School of Business, Helsley served at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley as a professor and chair in Real Estate Development, and was a co-chair of the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics. He has held a variety of editorial positions, including serving as co-editor of the Journal of Urban Economics from 2009 to 2012. His teaching has focused on courses in urban and real estate economics, managerial economics, and microeconomic theory.