Summer 2023: Sustaining Change
We launch this new Stanford GSB Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion reporting structure with the aim of sharing insights and fostering conversations on a more frequent basis.
Much has evolved since the launch of our inaugural DEI Report in 2019 — even since the 2021 report — including the societal context, the people involved, and our understanding of what it takes to enact change. Yet our commitment stays the same.
The Focus of This Update: Inclusion
Our aim is to create the conditions for people to feel welcome, valued, and seen so that they can contribute fully to our community and mission. We are committed to ensuring that classrooms are places for open and inclusive discussion that welcomes all viewpoints.
We focus on inclusion in two key areas: the classroom where faculty lead our efforts and our campus life where members of the GSB community take the initiative to promote more inclusion.
Faculty lead the work to foster a learning environment that engages our students in a broad range of topics, a diversity of speakers and case studies, and a climate where students engage in productive debate across differences.
To assess this climate of open engagement, we introduced a new question in our annual surveys of all MBA, MSx, and PhD students, that prompts them to agree or disagree with the following statement, “The course encouraged various viewpoints to emerge in class discussions.” And the students’ responses have been:
Here are a few ways the school is working to advance this goal and create a more inclusive classroom experience:
- Teaching excellence events: In Spring 2023, the GSB DEI Council, the Teaching & Learning Hub, and student leaders co-hosted a DEI-focused event for GSB faculty featuring GSB student panelists who shared their successes and challenges when fostering inclusive classrooms. They related their experiences and told of the insights they gained into how inclusive classrooms and cultural representation in the curriculum can foster belonging, student success, and deeper engagement with diverse student perspectives.
- Teaching excellence resources: Our Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and T&L Hub wrote 35 new cases that feature leaders from underrepresented and historically marginalized communities and that build “equity fluency” in 2021–22. CES focused 70% of case writing resources to this effort.
- Celebrating identities in the PhD Program: The PhD Program has expanded DEI events and other efforts to celebrate the multifaceted identities of the PhD student and research fellow communities. Their effort was demonstrated by various celebrations and educational opportunities for religious holidays and heritage months.
- Inaugural faculty liaison to students: Professor Szu-chi Huang, in collaboration with the GSB Director of Student Engagement and Inclusion, engaged with the student identity groups, regional groups, and committees as a one-year pilot to address student needs and hear their concerns, which included absence policies, holidays observed, connection-building across identity clubs, and advocacy for DEI-related training and content.
Fostering an inclusive campus environment is a collective effort, shared by all. Here are a few highlights of organic ways people and teams from the GSB community are advancing our shared goals:
- Student-led events, “The Language of Allyship:” The Student Association Diversity Committee hosted Language of Allyship sessions focused on supporting Black classmates at GSB and beyond, through language. These facilitated sessions included examples of microaggressions and situations students face on campus that invited students to engage across different backgrounds.
- New Allies for Equity alumni chapter: This diverse, inclusive group of Stanford GSB alumni is committed to advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging within GSB, our workplaces, and our communities.
- DEI Roundtable engages staff: This staff-led community brings monthly programming and conversations to the GSB staff, including celebrations of Black History Month and a discussion of Professor Jennifer Eberhardt’s book Biased.
As with many organizations, we continue to face critical moments when we dig deep into our reserves and collective wisdom in order to support our community and move our work forward. Sometimes change looks like bursts of innovation, and sometimes it looks like steady work being undertaken by committed people.
One key insight rose to the top of our reflections: Our momentum is possible because of you — our community of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and committed change agents.
Appreciation and Dedication
We dedicate this inaugural conversational DEI update to a very special member of our movement, the leader who has fueled our work since 2018: Sarah Soule. Professor, your work reminds us that movements are always messy, complex, and seemingly fragile. Only in reflection can we see the threads of steel woven between individuals, propelling us in the same direction. And thus, as you move on to lead new change efforts, we thank you for the threads of inspiration you have woven through our work at Stanford GSB.