Reaffirming the Action Plan for Racial Equity

In honor of Juneteenth, GSB leadership shares progress made on the school's Action Plan for Racial Equity.

June 18, 2021

Juneteenth commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States. In 1865, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation became official, news that the Civil War was over made it to Galveston, Texas, ending slavery in all parts of the country.

In honor of Juneteenth, we reaffirm our commitment to the goals laid out in our Action Plan for Racial Equity (APRE) and are pleased to provide an update to the work we have done since we published the APRE in July 2020. While we have provided previous updates in our 2020 DEI Report and in our February 2021 update to the APRE, we have made further progress on our journey. In the spirit of holding ourselves accountable, we provide additional details herein.

We start by acknowledging that over one year ago, George Floyd was murdered. Just as our APRE was the result of listening to the powerful stories of our Black students, alumni, staff, and faculty, the loss of George Floyd inspired a broad awareness and understanding about the racism and bias faced by Black Americans.

Our APRE, like our broader goals of creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive Stanford GSB community, are in service of our broader mission, which is to create ideas that deepen and advance our understanding of management and to use these ideas to develop innovative, principled, and insightful leaders who make positive change in the world. The goals of the APRE aim to increase representation, build greater inclusion and belonging, drive positive change beyond Stanford GSB, and ensure accountability.

Increasing Representation

We remain committed to increasing the representation of Black and other underrepresented minority members in our community. Continuing our focus on increasing the diversity of people seeking to join our community, we are participating in focused outreach and weeding out biases and other barriers from our processes. We are also taking action to provide additional support for people of all backgrounds as they join our community.

We have made strong progress with our BOLD Fellows Fund, which was announced as part of Stanford GSB’s Action Plan for Racial Equity. The fund aims to help close intergenerational wealth gaps among incoming MBA students, often experienced by Black, other minority groups, and students who are the first in their family to attend college, and increase the diversity of perspectives in our student body. We just announced Round 3 admissions decisions and will soon complete this year’s BOLD Fellows Fund award cycle. We are grateful for the generous donations from alumni supporting the inaugural BOLD Fellows Fund cohort. This fellowship fund allows us to reduce a significant barrier for many of our incoming students.

Building a Culture of Inclusion and Belonging

We remain committed to creating a culture of inclusion so that all members of our community feel that they belong and so we can all thrive. Thus far, we have focused our efforts on our classroom experience and curriculum.

  • We leveraged our approach to include and honor all voices, perspectives, and contributions, and created a crowdsourced resource, a Month of Learning for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, with inputs from our community reflecting our inclusive culture of allyship.
  • To help students cope with content that they may find upsetting, our Teaching and Learning Hub has developed guidelines for content notices. A content notice is a cautionary statement, spoken or printed, that alerts students to the sensitive nature of the material about to be seen, read, or discussed in class. Such material can provide the foundation for meaningful and important conversations about sensitive topics. Content notices give people the forewarning necessary for them to develop strategies to decrease the harm when encountering sensitive material.
  • We held the first annual Rising Scholars Conference for underrepresented minority PhD and postdoctoral scholars.
  • We are positively changing the classroom experience through a concerted effort to diversify our case studies. Several of these new cases were taught during the 2020-21 academic year, building upon our previous efforts to create new cases featuring Black protagonists. We plan to include a detailed update in our annual DEI Report.
  • The PhD Program piloted a “Teaching in Diverse Settings” workshop, which focused on pedagogical concepts and strategies for cultivating inclusive classrooms. A Stanford GSB faculty panel discussed challenges they faced, resources they utilized, and strategies they employed to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion in their own classrooms.
  • The MBA and MSx Programs created a new position, the Director of Student Engagement and Inclusion, who will represent the MBA and MSx Programs team for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives and liaise with partners from across the university. The Director will also work with faculty and Stanford GSB colleagues on DEI programming for students, including identifying specific needs and delivering the experiences to meet those needs.

Making Positive Changes Beyond Stanford GSB

As a leading institution of higher education, we have the opportunity to enact change beyond our corridors and our campus through our actions, our thought leadership, and our positive example.

  • Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative (SLEI) published a report on U.S. Black-Owned Businesses, a first in this kind of research for Stanford GSB. The report has already made the news, including an interview on CNBC with Stanford GSB alumna founder Fatima Dicko and SLEI Research Analyst Inara Tareque.  
  • In April, the Stanford GSB Center for Entrepreneurial Studies hosted Building Momentum: Diversity and Entrepreneurship. Attending a virtual conference, participants addressed the unique challenges and opportunities faced by founders from underrepresented communities, and ways that investors, nonprofits, and communities are working to encourage more diversity in entrepreneurship.
  • In the fall, we shared the Anti-Racism and Allyship 7-Day Journey which reached a global audience. We partnered with Stanford GSB students to support five “Heritage Month” celebrations including Hispanic Heritage Month, Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Asian American Pacific Islander Month, and, currently, Pride Month. In addition to publishing stories on this website, and amplifying them on Stanford GSB social media channels, we also extended our reach through dozens of media articles and contributed articles such as “How to Lead Your Company as a True Ally,” published in Inc. magazine.
  • We launched our Racial Equity Alumni Task Force that seeks to increase representation, strengthen leadership, and drive economic empowerment in our society. The Task Force is made up of 33 Stanford GSB alumni and is chaired by Jennifer Fate Velaise (MBA ’88), José E. Feliciano (MBA ’99), and Rukaiyah Adams (JD ’99 and MBA ’08). The goal of the Task Force is to identify initiatives that can be undertaken by Stanford GSB that address systemic issues that have negatively impacted the Black community and other underrepresented groups.

As part of our goal to hold ourselves accountable to what we have promised, we are working to improve our measurement of our goals and have put in place structures of accountability.

Representing staff, students, and faculty, our DEI Council launched in February to ensure ongoing momentum of our DEI goals across every unit of Stanford GSB. The Council prioritized three work streams to advance our collective work at Stanford GSB. The first, Education & Training, will pilot a couple of panels and workshops to support faculty with new tools and understanding to use in the classroom. The second, Process & Systems, is developing and testing tools to bring a DEI lens to our current systems, such as hiring and recognition, in several of our departments. Lastly, Data & Analysis identified additional data that will be included in our Annual DEI Report to enhance our understanding. We are evaluating our DEI Council pilot and will implement our findings for our next term, which begins in October.

Looking Ahead

In the period that has elapsed since the publication of our APRE, we have become acutely aware of the need to continue our efforts and focus on their impact. This summer, we are excited to launch our inaugural Black Leaders Program, designed to transform leadership, build community, and explore the complexities of showing up authentically as a Black Leader. As we continue our journey toward achieving the goals of the APRE, we also recognize the need to broaden our scope to address the many types of hate around us. The United States has seen a recent wave of anti-Asian American and Pacific Islander hate crimes, as well as a dramatic increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes. As a community, we must stand against hatred of all forms and offer mutual support and empathy to one another.

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