Building a More Inclusive Booth
Booth’s community has come together to strengthen diversity and inclusion in the school’s pedagogy, scholarship, and culture around the world.
- By August 21, 2021
In July 2020, the University of Chicago announced plans to strengthen its commitment to diversity and inclusion and reaffirm its rejection of racism, and has spent the past year taking steps toward improving such efforts across its global community. As part of this effort, Chicago Booth continued to expand its D&I initiatives.
Over the past year, the Booth community—students, alumni, faculty, and staff—has come together to evaluate and enhance D&I practices, and to create positive change across many facets of the school. To ensure accountability and increase transparency in its work, and to continue gathering input from all stakeholders, Booth has shared the progress it has made so far under the objectives outlined in its Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan.
The plan focuses on strengthening the school’s work in six key areas: recruiting a diverse student body, developing the global leaders of the future, increasing faculty and staff diversity, strengthening internal communications, building relationships with inclusive employers, and shining a spotlight on D&I across our entire community.
“I am deeply grateful to our amazing students, alumni, faculty, and staff, who have taken concrete steps over the past year to build a diverse, supportive, and inclusive community across Chicago Booth,” said Madhav Rajan, dean and the George Pratt Shultz Professor of Accounting. “While there is much work to be done, we are so proud of the incredible commitment and passion exhibited by our community to improve the school’s D&I efforts in meaningful ways.”
In July 2021, Booth welcomed Angela Pace-Moody, who joined as director of global diversity and inclusion. She will be responsible for supporting D&I initiatives for students in all Booth programs, and will serve as a liaison to the global alumni community.
“My goals, as director of global diversity and inclusion, are to partner with students, alumni, faculty, and staff, to create measurable D&I goals and objectives, and to serve as a resource hub for the range of D&I initiatives across Booth’s global community,” said Pace-Moody. “After concluding my first month at Booth and meeting with many members of our community, I see evidence that there is strong commitment and enthusiasm for advancing diversity and inclusion across academics, administration, and community engagement at Chicago Booth.”
Booth has spent the past year strengthening the pipeline to attract diverse MBA and PhD candidates and faculty members, including ongoing recruiting initiatives such as virtual and in-person diversity events, and building on existing and new external partnerships with groups supporting diversity and inclusion. Booth has also conducted careful and in-depth reviews of its interviewing and recruiting practices as well as its hiring processes.
“We are continuing to increase the network, to get the best possible faculty to enrich the experience of our students,” said Pietro Veronesi, deputy dean for faculty and the Chicago Board of Trade Professor of Finance. “We are expanding our effort to increase and support the pipeline of diverse students in the PhD Program,” he said. Booth participated in the foundation of PREDOC (Pathways to Research and Doctoral Careers), a consortium of universities and research institutions working to strengthen diversity and inclusion in the PhD student pipeline and in PhD programs. Through this and other efforts, Booth is looking far into the future—an expanded pipeline of PhD candidates will eventually evolve into an expanded pipeline of diverse, qualified faculty candidates.
“While there is much work to be done, we are so proud of the incredible commitment and passion exhibited by our community to improve the school’s D&I efforts in meaningful ways.”
Booth recognizes its critical role in educating and influencing current and future leaders to value, support, and celebrate diversity and inclusion, and has taken steps to ensure students and staff become more inclusive, empathetic, and self-aware. In this light, implicit-bias workshops will continue to be a critical part of Orientation+, and the school is looking into other opportunities for increased bystander-intervention and implicit-bias trainings. Following a curriculum review that took place across MBA programs, LEAD will include new and updated modules on inclusive leadership.
Booth is also enhancing opportunities related to D&I, including several programs for senior leadership and staff. Career Services and Corporate Relations have also worked to make sure they are partnering with inclusive employers, and are offering students a way to report incidents of bias and discrimination they experience while working at a company.
Throughout the past year, Booth’s alumni, students, and staff have been deeply involved in the quest to improve the campus culture and community. In order to strengthen internal communication and transparency, the Deans’ Diversity Advisory Committee (DDAC), formed this past summer, supports collaboration and communication between the students and the Deans’ Office, allowing for meaningful discussions on programming, advocacy, and more. The expanded Chicago Booth Staff Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the Diversity and Inclusion Alumni Task Force, as well as a staff climate survey, will also help guide Booth leadership in its D&I efforts. New initiatives at Booth’s London campus focused on staff hiring and development, student recruitment and support, programming, and community engagement.
Gabriela “Gaby” Arismendi, current MBA student and member of the DDAC, joined in order to give back to the Booth community. “The other student representatives and I have been able to provide feedback on multiple initiatives across various departments related to D&I,” Arismendi shared. “The increased levels of communication and transparency from the administration regarding D&I have been refreshing and reassuring.”
Booth has also been focusing on engaging more people and spotlighting D&I across all areas of the community. These efforts include new opportunities for engagement and volunteerism in the nine neighborhoods around the university. Two D&I-focused annual funds were launched in 2020, and $1 million was raised for broader D&I-related funds and initiatives.
In collaboration with student groups, Student Life, and Advancement and Alumni Relations, Booth continues to bring a diverse suite of speakers to present at Booth events and to broaden the scope of its programming. Developed by Advancement and Alumni Relations, the quarterly D&I Dialogues offered academic lectures, interactive workshops, and peer-led discussions including Innovating for Social Equity, a Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation series in partnership with the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation that has examined racial, economic, and religious equity in philanthropy, private corporations, and nonprofits. Marketing for Good, a quarterly series through the James M. Kilts Center for Marketing, has examined how philanthropic and private sectors can increase investment in Black, Latinx, and women founders and leverage market tools to drive sustainable social change.
While the progress over the past year has strengthened Booth’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, these steps are just the start. Dean Rajan said, “We will continue to take meaningful action, measure our progress to hold ourselves accountable, and promote a diverse Booth community to shape the next generation of groundbreaking ideas and empathetic, inclusive leaders.”