Recent Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Efforts Reflect School's Commitment
Throughout the summer and fall semester, the Martin J. Whitman School School of Management has not only continued to prioritize its commitment to critical issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion but has specifically upped its game through several initiatives meant to educate its students, faculty and staff, while also opening up greater opportunities to support a more diverse campus.
NBMBAA Partnership Includes Full-Tuition Scholarship
The Whitman School continues its partnership with the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA), a professional organization that works with MBA students and undergraduates. Current plans include working closely with the New York City Chapter of the organization, further recruitment efforts, additional mentoring and professional development opportunities, and the continuation of an annual full-tuition scholarship awarded to an African American student pursuing an MBA at the Whitman School.
The Whitman School is especially proud to offer the full-tuition scholarship each year, as it continues to pursue ways to make its MBA program available to a more diverse body of applicants. In 2019, Amara Moss ’21 MBA, was the first MBA student to receive the award, and the 2020 recipient is Nneka Akukwe '20 (MAX), ‘22 MBA. Applications for the 2021 scholarship are still being accepted.
Working closely with the New York City chapter of NBMBAA is a logical choice, given that that the city is home to many Whitman and Syracuse University alumni.
"The New York City chapter is very progressive," says Diane Crawford, executive director of institutional culture at the Whitman School. "A lot of its members work for NASDAQ and some of the top 'Big Four' accounting firms, so this organization provides mentorships and professional development for persons of color pursuing an MBA or any master’s degree."
The collaboration will also include greater representation at NBMBAA career fairs in an effort to recruit more diverse applicants to the Whitman School's program. Most recently, the Whitman School's graduate recruiting team participated in the NBMBAA’s 2020 virtual career fair in September.
"Our involvement with NBMBAA provides recruiting opportunities and outreach to diverse populations, specifically at the graduate level," Crawford says, adding that the relationship also provides mentorship and professional development for current African American students in both the MBA and master's programs.
At the end of the spring 2020 semester, Crawford took part in an information session with members of the NBMBAA, as well as some Whitman School undergraduate and online MBA students. During this event, 16 free annual NBMBAA memberships were offered by the Whitman School to online MBA students and another four went to undergraduates, giving the recipients greater access to the NBMBAA's many resources.
The Whitman School is also working with the NBMBAA's Leaders of Tomorrow program, which focuses on preparing high school students for careers in business management. In the spring, the Whitman School showed its commitment by providing laptops to 10 graduating high school seniors from the New York City chapter who planned to attend college and study business and/or management. More efforts to work directly with current high school students are in the works, as well, including campus visits. This fall, 30 New York City high school students planned to come to the Whitman School but, due to the pandemic, visit had to be turned into a virtual event.
"Despite this year’s challenges, The Leaders of Tomorrow program is going to be a great pipeline for us to get students of color to the Whitman campus," Crawford says.
To learn more about the MBA program at the Whitman School, including the annual NBMBAA scholarship, contact Chris Wszalek, executive director, graduate admissions and student recruitment, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Faculty/Staff: One Whitman Talks
Another on-going diversity and inclusion-focused initiative is One Whitman Talks, a ten-week forum, held on consecutive Fridays for faculty and staff, that focuses on inclusive learning and leadership. Recent sessions included "The Chinese Virus: Why Anti-Asian Racism Is so Contagious," presented by guest speaker Jonathan Wang, center director for Asian Pacific American Student Services at the University of Southern California, who addressed the need to support of Asian college students, particularly during the pandemic; and "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack," a session that discussed how such privilege is usually invisible to those who have it.
"It opened my eyes to the advantages a white person has just by the virtue of being white," said participant Patricia Morgan, executive assistant in the Dean’s Office. "I believe this is a very important conversation we must all ponder, as we continue discussing cultural diversity and inclusion."
Students, too, have had the opportunity to take a deeper dive into diversity and inclusion. This fall, the Whitman School began One Whitman Talks: Safe Spaces, a series of presentations designed to resonate specifically with students and cover key topics like white privilege and understanding and managing implicit biases. Students also had the opportunity to attend a Stop the Bias session, which helped to educate participants on what bias is, how to recognize it and how to best be an ally to others.
In October, Dean Gene Anderson committed to continuing the One Whitman Talks series into the foreseeable future.
Addressing the Needs of the International Population
Another initiative is attempting to further diversity and inclusion efforts related to the University's large international population. The Whitman School is working on a task team to help improve engagement with international students by looking for ways to join with corporate partners to provide these students with more opportunities for work experience in the U.S.
"Our international students are being excluded from internships and opportunities for full-time hire because of their visa status. That’s not likely to change, and we don’t have control over that," says Crawford. "So, we need to be innovative in how we can develop programs and corporate partnerships that use and develop their skills in the short term."
Crawford recently took on several student interns in the Dean’s Office, including one international student. All of the interns were selected from traditionally underrepresented groups based on their "passion for inclusion, leadership and diversity." According to Crawford, they are inclusion leaders assisting with programming, as well as educating the community through demographic and population statistics.