Tag: DEI

Olin Dean Mark P. Taylor shared this update with members of the WashU Olin community—students, staff and faculty—today.

As we steadily press forward in developing Olin’s strategic plan for inclusion, diversity, equity and access (IDEA), I wanted to share what I can about our progress so far. Before doing so, I must reiterate my tremendous gratitude for everyone who has had a hand in moving us forward in this area.

That includes students who have engaged with me personally, sharing their honest and candid insights. It includes staff and faculty, who have given of their time to assess our needs and offer measurable solutions. And it includes alumni who have reached out to gain a deeper understanding about the importance of this work to Olin’s future.

In this note, I’ll share updates on:

  • Faculty hiring in the fall, including progress toward hiring an associate dean for IDEA.
  • Action we’ve undertaken in our strategic planning process—and what actions we haven’t taken and why.
  • Plans for ongoing workplace development at the school.

Progress in hiring

The associate dean. A key component of our plan remains among our highest priorities: hiring an associate dean for IDEA. We have engaged Collaborative Strategies as our partner in the recruitment process for that position (as well as, I might add, the new associate dean for graduate programs). We have undertaken that process with a sense of urgency, and I’ll tell you why. Put simply, that person must be empowered to galvanize and meaningfully lead our work in this area—and to do so as soon as possible. Indeed, a key first step for that person will be convening a number of focus groups and listening sessions. Thus, my sense of urgency in completing this task.

Other faculty hiring. I’m pleased to note that the new faculty cohort arriving before the start of the next academic year is among the most representative we have ever welcomed. This has always been—and always will be—a goal of our faculty recruitment efforts, and I’m happy to report this year’s work was successful. Note that we’ll publish more about these hires in the 2021 edition of Olin Business magazine.

The strategic plan

As we work toward hiring the associate dean for IDEA, we haven’t delayed in making first-year plans to focus on issues we know we must address. I’m grateful for the outstanding work of the plan champions, who put together extensive drafts and proposed budgets for each for each of the stakeholder areas in our plan: students, faculty, staff and the alumni and at-large communities.

Our plans will be reviewed and updated as needed by the new associate dean in consultation with students, faculty and staff. Our draft includes proposed action items well beyond this year. These are a few of the initiatives conceived for year one.

For student stakeholders

  • Increasing the number of Black faculty at Olin.
  • Launching a graduate-level course in inclusion, diversity, equity and access.
  • Joining two to three new national networks focused on IDEA recruitment at all program levels and continue to leverage current activity.
  • Increase the use of diverse course materials (i.e., case studies and course examples where at least one protagonist is not a white male).
  • Clarifying current student grievance process, and expand the current student grievance process to encapsulate an IDEA lens.

For faculty stakeholders

  • Evaluating our required faculty annual activity form to include individual faculty efforts toward promoting IDEA initiatives.
  • Systematically reviewing the hiring process for underrepresented minority/track applicants to ensure we are reaching desired groups.
  • Running professional development workshops for URM PhD students and junior faculty outside WashU Olin.
  • Launching the pre-doctoral program aimed at URM students to prepare for doctoral programs in business.

For staff stakeholders

  • Reviewing and enhancing the hiring processes to recruit Black, Latinx and other URM staff.
  • Setting clear expectations by developing IDEA standards, policies and practices specific to staff.
  • Continuing HR focus groups.
  • Providing IDEA support and reinforcement throughout the staff lifecycle (from hire to exit).

For alumni/community stakeholders

  • Supporting career progression and advancement for diverse alumni with a focus on the first five years after graduation to increase the number of diverse graduates in leadership roles and support and track salary growth.
  • Increasing overall engagement with diverse alumni through communication, events and lifelong learning.
  • Educating on leadership strategies and tactics for deeper understanding of diversity and changing cultures.
  • Partnering with alumni and the business community to raise support for Olin’s overall IDEA efforts.
  • Supporting diverse alumni with small business through the Small Business Initiative (using all student groups) and diverse alumni entrepreneurs through CELect/CEL and Skandalaris.

Staff/faculty development

As many of you are aware, we recently concluded a series of workshops focused on raising awareness about microaggressions in the workplace—the “Subtle Acts of Exclusion” workshops in March and April. Earlier—indeed, before the pandemic—we hosted a series of workshops focused on unconscious bias. We are reviewing follow-up programming to offer our staff and faculty more options to engage in this work.

Additionally, we are launching an MBA-level course focused on IDEA, which will be rolled out over the next year, and will later expand through other programs.

Finally, we anticipate additional programming developed in partnership with WashU’s Academy for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion that will be presented sometime in the vicinity of Juneteenth (which falls on a Saturday this year).

Further updates

I recognize the importance of transparency in our work toward advancing inclusion, diversity, equity and access within the walls of Olin and beyond. Thus, I also recognize the healthy appetite each of us has for ongoing updates on our progress in this work. I pledge to continue providing meaningful updates as often as possible.

It is my hope that our next update will include news of our new associate dean for IDEA and next steps toward bringing that person up to speed in our work. In the meantime, I remain available for your questions and look forward to continuing this important work together.

Protesters rally and march on March 8 in New York City’s Bryant Park on first day of police officer Derek Chauvin’s trial in the killing of George Floyd. Photo courtesy Shutterstock.

Sent to Olin’s students, staff and faculty on April 20, 2021.

Eleven months have passed since the horrific Memorial Day killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Today, a jury has rendered its verdict in the case against Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with the murder of George Floyd.

While you may find some solace with today’s decision, this remains a difficult, painful and emotionally draining time for many of our community members, especially our students, staff and faculty of color. 

In the months since George Floyd was murdered, painful tragedy has compounded upon painful tragedy: continuing violence toward Black and Brown people, a wave of anti-Asian violence, the mass shooting in Atlanta, a recent shooting in Indianapolis killing eight—including four in the city’s Sikh community.

Whatever you are feeling today, please know that I am here in solidarity with you and our community is here to support you.

As the chancellor shared in his message on Monday, I want to remind you of some of the support resources that are available: counseling for students through the Habif Health and Wellness Center and counseling for faculty and staff through the Employee Assistance Program, Work-Life Solutions.

Further support is also available from the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, the Office of Diversity Programs and the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

As the past months have affirmed, the jury’s judgment today is not the final word. We remain duty bound to strive toward solidifying our commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and access at WashU Olin.

Pictured above: Protesters rally and march on March 8 in New York City’s Bryant Park on first day of police officer Derek Chauvin’s trial in the killing of George Floyd. Photo courtesy Shutterstock.

Kate Hogan, MBA

Riley Hawkins and Kate Hogan, both MBA ’22, are co-presidents of Olin Women in Business and wrote this for the Olin Blog.

Transparency in the hiring process, publicly stated hiring goals, intentional mentoring efforts and externally reported accountability are key components to promoting a workplace that supports and promotes women, according to panelists in a recent event sponsored by Olin Women in Business and Anheuser Busch’s internal organization, Women in Beer.

The joint event, staged in honor of Women’s History Month, was entitled “What does it mean to be a feminist at work?” and hosted virtually on March 10.

The panel was moderated by Nidhi Kandari, MBA ’21, and included Karen Bedell, Center for Experiential Learning practicum and board fellows program director; Abbey Bethel, director, BSC Logistics–East Region IM, Anheuser-Busch; Ashley Macrander, associate dean and director of graduate student affairs; and Jennifer Logan, senior director, planning and performance management at Anheuser-Busch.

Clockwise from top left: Bedell, Bethel, Macrander, Logan, Kandari.

The event sparked interesting dialogues with emerging themes of accountability, inclusion and mentorship.

In regard to accountability, the panel discussed ways to ensure organizations are held to a high standard. For example, making hiring numbers publicly available helps to move the needle in terms of how quickly the candidate pool diversifies.

In addition, companies that make public commitments to hire more diverse candidates are more likely to end up doing so. Designating someone who challenges potential bias in interviewing—a “bias breaker”—is another way to ensure companies are held to their commitments of hiring more diverse candidates.

However, hiring diverse candidates isn’t enough. The panel shared valuable insights on the importance of inclusion. Without true inclusion, diverse candidates tend to have high turnover because they feel alienated. Companies and managers need to create an environment where people are comfortable and are able to be themselves once hired.

Finally, the panel spent time talking about a topic that’s especially important to emerging women business leaders: mentorship. Studies have shown that people with mentors are more likely to receive promotions, which makes mentorship a great tool to level the playing field for women. Panelists reminded attendees that mentorship is a two-way street, so mentees should think about how they can add value to their mentor and rise together.

One event participant asked how to find a mentor without conveying that she was needy or obnoxious.

“It’s an honor to be a mentor, so don’t feel like you’re burdening someone by asking them to start a mentorship chat,” Jennifer Logan said. “It means you like their work and it’s a compliment.”

Giving some final words of advice, Macrander said, “Strong teams are magnets for talent, so make sure you’re part of a team where there is trust and vulnerability and everybody knows your value.”

Stop Asian hate protest image. Photo via Shutterstock

This message to members of the WashU Olin community was sent by Dean Mark P. Taylor and the members of the SMP Council and the Olin East and Southeast Asia Club.

Dear Olin faculty, staff and students:

We write to you today from a place of both sadness and anger in response to continued acts of bigotry and hatred that have divided our nation over the past year. The violence committed in Atlanta this week, as well as all acts of discrimination and violence inflicted upon members of the Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities are unacceptable.

These acts stand in direct contradiction with Olin’s values of diversity, collaboration, integrity, excellence and leadership. We stand in solidarity with you, walking on the path forward together.

These events are another painful reminder that we must continue to work to create an inclusive community that values and respects our Asian community members.

Below, please find a list of a few campus spaces where you can begin or continue the work of crafting the inclusive community we all desire—one where we all can live, work, grow and thrive. To create that community, it is imperative that we each rise to the challenge of becoming allies in this work.

If you feel uneasy or worried about the recent uptick in violence against the Asian community, in addition to Olin’s undergraduate and graduate student affairs teams you can seek mental health resources at the Habif Wellness Center. Faculty and staff Mental Health Resources are also available.

This work isn’t abstract for us within the Olin community. As you can see from this story in The New York Times, the consequences of this hatred hit very close to home. Jason Wang is a 2009 BSBA from Olin. We are called to respond. This is who we are. These are our colleagues. These are our classmates, our friends, our family. This is Olin.

Photo above via Shutterstock.

Adrienne Davis

The WashU community is extremely fortunate to have in our midst a leading thinker, teacher, practitioner and scholar focused on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. Now, that leader, Adrienne Davis, has joined the WashU Olin faculty as a professor of organizational behavior and leadership.

Adrienne’s joint appointment at Olin—in addition to her existing post as the William M. Van Cleve Professor of Law—became effective on January 1. She will split her time between Olin and the law school, and she continues as co-director of the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity & Equity, which she founded last year. More on that in a moment.

“I’m excited to take my institutional work over the last decade and pursue research into how diversity can be best implemented across different sectors,” said Adrienne, whose appointment is one-third with Olin and two-thirds with the law school. “I’m especially interested in diagnosing the distinct challenges of diversity in higher education.”

While I also know Adrienne is eager to get back into the classroom, that will wait while she completes a one-year leave—and a book she’s been working on. She’ll begin to teach Olin classes in the 2022-23 academic year, but I expect we will see her around campus—virtually, these days—while she continues her research.

Hitting the ground running

Indeed, she has already contributed profoundly to the Olin community through her insight and guidance on the DEI strategic plan task force I appointed last summer.

I’m gratified by the reception she’s already received from the faculty.

“Adrienne brings a depth of experience in the leadership arena as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said Hillary Anger Elfenbein, chair of the organizational behavior area among the faculty. “She complements the research areas within the organizational behavior group. We are delighted to welcome her.”

I feel a sense of anticipation for what fertile new areas of inquiry await Adrienne and our existing faculty.

“I’m so impressed with Olin and with the OB team,” she said. “This will be a really wonderful place to learn a new mode of sharing my research—and sharing it with a different domain and audience.”

This is an exciting next step for both Olin and Adrienne, as she transitions from the administrative role she’s held for a decade as vice provost for the university. Among her many accomplishments in that role, Adrienne helped increase the number of Black tenured and tenure-track faculty on the Danforth Campus, and the percentage of underrepresented faculty of color among tenured and tenure-track faculty. She also designed a series of faculty development and leadership programs that have been producing outstanding new leaders, not only here at Washington University, but nationally.

Returning to her first love

At former Chancellor Mark Wrighton’s behest, former Provost Ed Macias appointed her for a two-year term in that role—and she stayed eight years beyond the appointment. “I’m a legal scholar and lawyer at heart,” she said. “It was exciting to test my research in critical race theory and feminism in the real world to see if they could drive meaningful institutional change. Now I’m excited to get back to my research and teaching full-time.”

And speaking of research, as I mentioned earlier, Adrienne continues in her role as co-director of the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity & Equity, which she founded and launched last year. The center is a forum for research collaborations across campus to study how race and ethnicity are integral to the most complex and challenging issues of our time.

“The nation is at a turning point in rethinking racial justice,” she said. “Many firms and other organizations are on the front lines of this. I’m delighted that I’ll have a role at Olin to lead these new conversations—and I know the business school can be a leading laboratory and incubator for this work.”

On a personal level, I’m also grateful for Adrienne’s willingness to be my special advisor on these issues as Olin builds and implements a strategic plan that allows our community to fully live into its stated values.