A conversation with Dean Rajan and student Morgan Franklin about Booth's new Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan
The University of Chicago recently announced its plans to address Diversity and Inclusion across the university. Chicago Booth welcomes these steps and reaffirms the school’s unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion, and rejection of racism.
At Booth, we have been in conversation with many in our community of students, alumni, faculty, and staff to evaluate and strengthen our work to address racism and create positive change across many facets of the school. We recognize we can do better and we are committed to doing so.
The Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan is a start, aimed at addressing concerns raised, in particular, by students in our full- and part-time MBA programs. These steps cover a broad range of areas, including student admissions, curriculum, faculty and staff, communications, employer relations, and engagement. This important work is currently under way, and we continue to consider ways we can take meaningful action and measure our progress going forward.
We are grateful to all who have shared insights about areas for growth, change, and improvement at Booth. Your goals for the school served as the basis for this initial action plan and will continue to inspire us to do more.
Recruiting a Diverse Student Body at Booth
- We will review our recruiting initiatives, immediately and on an ongoing basis, and commit to evaluating the applications to our MBA programs for inclusivity. We will report outcomes of this review.
- We will utilize the interview process to evaluate MBA candidates for qualities of empathy, self-awareness, and resilience, and will continue to train our Admissions Fellows on how to conduct these interviews. Implicit bias training will continue to be an important component of interviewer training.
- We will evaluate new ways to develop a strong pipeline of diverse candidates, including at both the college and pre-college levels, and will gather information and insight to understand why underrepresented minority (URM) students choose other schools over Booth.
- We are committed to hosting a virtual session in autumn 2020 for Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), and are committed to hosting MLT in the summer of 2022.
Developing the Global Leaders of the Future
- Diversity and inclusion, ethics, and leadership will be included as focus areas for the upcoming MBA curriculum review for the Full-Time, Evening, and Weekend MBA Programs. The faculty committee leading this review has been assembled and the committee’s work has begun. Students will provide critical input to this committee beginning in the summer of 2020.
- Following their review, the faculty committee above will advise on changes to the LEAD curriculum, applicable to the Full-Time, Evening, and Weekend MBA Programs. The Leadership Development Office will work with LEAD facilitators and others to implement any changes to the LEAD curriculum in order to address more deeply the necessity for leaders to create diverse, equitable, and inclusive work places.
- The Leadership Development Office will dedicate a significant portion of the time given to the Leadership Orientation Retreat (LOR) in order to address the topics of diversity and inclusion with the matriculating Full-Time MBA class, and will evaluate programming opportunities for our matriculating Evening and Weekend classes.
- We will continue to offer an implicit bias workshop as part of Orientation+, and will look for new ways to enhance this session. Additional workshops will be developed throughout the year, building on this Autumn Quarter session. In addition, we will explore university-wide opportunities for increased bystander intervention training and implicit bias training that go beyond the materials currently included in the Title IX training mandated by law for all students, staff, and faculty.
Increasing Faculty and Staff Diversity
- Work is underway to strengthen the pipeline of diverse faculty candidates, including training diverse college graduates in research practices through our Research Professionals (RP) program. These individuals come to Booth to work for one to three years after college or following a Masters program, and work full-time on faculty research, with the intention to enter top-tier PhD programs. Recruiting diverse candidates to the RP cohort is a priority, and it has direct influence on the pipeline of PhD candidates at top schools globally, which ultimately can move the needle on tenure-track faculty.
- We will redouble our efforts to increase the diversity of our faculty through a more expansive search process that ensures we identify and recruit from the most diverse candidate pool available. We will do the same when recruiting students for our own PhD program, which will help foster a more diverse hiring pool for business schools more broadly. In addition, we will continue to participate in and support programs like The PhD project, Leadership Alliance, and IDDEAS, which work to enhance the diversity of business school faculty.
- We will examine our own hiring practices for Chicago Booth staff and will adjust to eliminate biases.
- We will engage in staff training and dialogue to address issues of implicit bias.
Strengthening Internal Communications
- We propose the creation of a new student group at Booth called the Deans’ Diversity Advisory Committee (DDAC), to provide continued collaboration and communication between the students and the Deans Office. DDAC will span across Full-Time, Evening, and Weekend Programs, and will report to the Deputy Dean of MBA Programs and the Dean of Students. Over the summer of 2020, we will define the group’s areas of focus, which may include those listed below, in addition to others. The group will formally convene beginning in autumn of 2020.
- Booth Affairs: Working with other student groups, alumni groups, departments, and centers on diversity and inclusion initiatives, guiding and informing the Booth community on DDAC’s work.
- University Affairs: Engaging with University initiatives tackling race and diversity to incorporate interdisciplinary views, including the Center for Identity & Inclusion; the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture; the Office of Civic Engagement (OCE); and the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.
- Programming: Providing ideas, guidance, and perspective to the development of meaningful co-curricular programming at Booth, ensuring the school has diverse speakers and representation.
- Advocacy: Driving increased awareness through evaluation of new resources, such as educational opportunities, workshops, modules, and social advocacy groups, that will allow students to get more involved in issues near to these topics.
Monthly meetings with this group will increase transparency of the school’s work in diversity and inclusion, and will provide accountability on our progress.
Building Relationships with Inclusive Employers
- Chicago Booth will expand its efforts to proactively develop and maintain relationships with employers who articulate a commitment to diversity and inclusion as critical to business success.
- We support business leaders who take a strong and public stance against racism and whose actions influence positive change; we will encourage and facilitate their engagement with you—as recruiting companies and also as speakers, panelists, and career education participants.
- We will explore ways to eliminate biases in the recruiting and hiring processes of firms that source Booth talent.
- We do not tolerate discriminatory recruiting behavior and we will continue to take decisive action with firms and individuals when it occurs. We will work with student leaders to be sure students are aware of our zero tolerance and action-oriented commitment.
Shining a Spotlight on Diversity and Inclusion
- We will establish a social sector speaker series, led by the Rustandy Center in August 2020, on racial equity and the role of the social sector, investors, and markets. These conversations will be free and open to the public, and will feature experts drawn from university, business, and community contexts.
- We will launch a dedicated diversity and inclusion fund as a focus area of the Chicago Booth Annual Fund. This fund could be used to support programming, speaker events, and more.
- In partnership with the Office of Civic Engagement and led by the Polsky and Rustandy Centers, we will continue to develop and enhance opportunities for engagement and volunteering in the nine neighborhoods around the University of Chicago.