Whitman Voices

Introduction

Whitman School Makes Firm Commitment to Lead Business Schools in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Efforts

Whitman School Makes Firm Commitment to Lead Business Schools in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Efforts

aerial image of the Syracuse University campus, showing the iconic Hall of Languages

Whitman School Makes Firm Commitment to Lead Business Schools in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Efforts

2020 is certain to stand out as a year when issues surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion consumed the country - and the Syracuse University Campus was no exception. In a proactive effort, the Whitman School recently announced its commitment to being a leader among the top business schools to "produce ideas that help businesses unlock the power of diversity in driving innovation and produce leaders able to recognize and address inequities in organizations or markets," according to Dean Gene Anderson.

"Our world faces extraordinary challenges, and we can’t afford to leave any talent on the sidelines," he said in a recent announcement to the Whitman community. "The best business schools will foster inclusive learning communities that embrace all of their members and prepare students to lead in today’s increasingly diverse and interconnected economy."

While diversity, equity and inclusion have been a priority in the most recent strategic plan established in 2017, the Whitman School made the decision this June to fast track its Future Now initiatives in light of recent events. In October, Anderson recently outlined specific actionable items that include:

  • Doubling financial and scholarship support for students from underrepresented groups
  • Providing mandatory diversity, equity and inclusion training sessions for all matriculating students
  • Expanding diversity, equity and inclusion co-curricular programing to all students through the Goodman IMPRESS program
  • Expanding opportunities for students and faculty to collaborate with community partners working with underserved populations in the community, particularly those offered by the South Side Innovation Center (SSIC) and the Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (WISE) Business Center
  • Requiring workshops and training for faculty and staff that include topics such as unconscious bias and inclusive communication
  • Continuing the One Whitman Talks series for faculty and staff with topics that include classroom microaggressions, and engaging in anti-racism and allyship
  • Implementing and monitoring the University’s new faculty hiring guidelines to increase the success rate of diverse hires
  • Creating virtual forums and mentor-mentee opportunities for underrepresented alumni and students
  • Initiating seven Inclusion Student Leader Internships through Whitman’s executive director of institutional culture, Diane Crawford
  • Offering a second $100,000 round of diversity and inclusion research grants for topics related to diversity, equity and inclusion in management, organizations and markets; and
  • Launching additional fundraising initiatives in order to support and expand on the efforts set forth above.

Of the utmost priority is DiversityEdu, a series of asynchronous learning modules for faculty and staff that focuses on building inclusion skills. The Whitman School has taken the initiative to pilot this initiative now before it becomes a University-wide requirement.

According to Anderson, all of these efforts will not only help the Whitman School continue to lead but also further an atmosphere where "everyone feels valued and has the opportunity to add value."