Holding Ourselves Accountable: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Stanford GSB shares progress and learnings, and our focus on racial equity as a priority.

December 08, 2020

Students, masked and distanced, study together in front of the color wall during fall quarter, 2020. Credit: Elena Zhukova

Students study together during the fall quarter. | Elena Zhukova

Stanford Graduate School of Business today reinforced its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion by releasing the second annual Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Report.

“This has been a year of awakening,” said Sarah A. Soule, senior associate dean of academic affairs and the Morgridge Professor of Organizational Behavior. “Over the past several months, we’ve witnessed the inequities of COVID-19 and a wave of Black Lives Matter protests calling for an end to racial injustice and systemic racism. We have a responsibility — to the members of our community and our society — to play an active role in driving change. Our many small wins and the events of 2020 have awakened us and reignited our commitment to actions we can all take to make positive change at the GSB and beyond.”

2020 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Report: Looking Back, Stepping Forward

Last year, Stanford GSB reaffirmed its commitment to DEI, making it a priority to leverage and expand upon the efforts of our community members to develop our first annual Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Report.

Since then, the school has continued to gather data and hold many listening sessions with members of our community focused on our DEI efforts, so that we can report on our progress toward the five goals outlined in the first report:

  • Increase the diversity of our Stanford GSB community
  • Create an inclusive classroom and learning experience
  • Create an inclusive and welcoming campus community
  • Empower and support communities underrepresented in our efforts to date
  • Support new research efforts
In order to be a leader, both at an individual and organizational level, we need to be committed to listening to, learning from, and leading diverse teams.
Jonathan Levin

Efforts toward the key goals include: increasing gender diversity of our tenure-line faculty, hiring seven women and seven men; holding the first annual virtual Diversity in Leadership conference, which resulted in 1,500+ attendees participating in 23 events hosted by faculty, students, and the MBA Admissions Office over five days; launching Stanford Rebuild, a free innovation sprint that had 6,000 registrants from 125 countries, with 43% of participants identifying as women; hosting a three-session “Brave Spaces” listening tour with alumni that created a safe space for conversations about anti-racism; and creating a research guide that includes resources for studying diversity in organizations and the workplace.

The 2020 report also looks at the school’s future plans and provides an update on the Action Plan for Racial Equity.

Action Plan for Racial Equity: Taking a Stand, Working Together

Stanford GSB is committed to driving change toward dismantling systemic racism and addressing racial inequities in our society and our school. In July, we announced the Action Plan for Racial Equity, which builds on our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and focuses on actions in four areas: increasing representation, building a culture of inclusion and belonging, making positive change beyond Stanford GSB, and holding ourselves accountable.

“Our focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion is grounded in our commitment to excellence,” said Jonathan Levin, the Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean of Stanford GSB. “In order to be a leader, both at an individual and organizational level, we need to be committed to listening to, learning from, and leading diverse teams. This year has brought a renewed sense of urgency to our work, and I’m confident that we can make meaningful progress.”

Increasing Representation

Stanford GSB continues to increase recruitment efforts of Black MBA, MSx, and Phd students. Our newly expanded MBA Class profile provides data on multi-identity reporting, showing the MBA Class of 2022 has our largest proportion of U.S. students of color at 37% of the total class.

In addition, the school launched the BOLD Fellowship (Building Opportunities for Leadership Diversity). The fund aims to help close intergenerational wealth gaps among admits, often experienced by Black and other minority groups, and increase the diversity of perspectives in our student body. The first BOLD Fellows will be awarded with our Class of 2023 Round 1 admits.

Building a Culture of Inclusion and Belonging

To create a culture where all community members feel welcome, Senior Associate Dean Sarah A. Soule and Pamela Levine, learning experience designer, developed a workshop for faculty and lecturers: Managing Sensitive Topics in the Classroom. This year, the workshop focused specifically on race and ethnicity and how to begin to have conversations about race, and it will be offered multiple times a year. The school also recently announced Allison Rouse as the new Director of Diverse Alumni Communities; the new role aims to increase and deepen engagement with a diverse alumni community.

The first Stanford GSB Rising Scholars Conference took place this year. This conference was a new offering for underrepresented minority PhD students and postdoctoral scholars; it provided a forum for individuals from 30 institutions to present their work to faculty and conference attendees. The inaugural conference drew 500+ PhD students, postdoctoral scholars, and faculty members.

Making Positive Change Beyond Stanford GSB

The school recently named the three co-chairs of the Alumni Racial Equity Initiative Task Force and held a kickoff meeting on December 1. The task force aims to scope and secure the resources needed for the Stanford GSB Racial Equity Initiative, which aims to increase representation, strengthen leadership, and drive economic empowerment.

A new course, Leadership for Society: Race and Power, was introduced this academic year, and will continue to be offered in the winter quarter. The 9-week webinar series, led by Senior Associate Dean Brian Lowery, is free and open to the public; more than 4,000 people registered to attend the fall sessions. A new podcast series was created based on the course.

Several new DEI-focused Executive Education offerings also launched this year, including Diversity and Inclusion for Strategic Impact and the on-demand online course Leverage D&I for Organizational Excellence. In addition, the Anti-Racism and Allyship 7 Day Journey launched in October 2020. The free online learning resource is self-paced and available to the public. This resource aims to help individuals learn more about the downstream effects of unconscious bias and how to be an ally against it. Within the first week, the website had 2,368 new visitors from 61 countries.

The Center for Social Innovation created the Racial Equity Fund to aid students who are interested in participating in the community response to racial injustice and systemic racism. These small community leadership grants empower students to successfully bring their ideas to fruition.

Holding Ourselves Accountable

The new Stanford GSB DEI Council, made up of a select number of students, staff, and faculty, has been formed, and the kickoff meeting will be held in January 2021. The DEI Council will play a critical role in advancing our work to empower Stanford GSB to be more inclusive, equitable, and diverse in service of our mission.

The school plans to evaluate the inaugural work of the DEI Council and the Alumni Racial Equity Initiative Task Force. We also will continue to publish an annual report to provide transparency into our efforts around diversity, equity, and inclusion, and work with Stanford University to update and improve the IDEAL Dashboard.

The goals and priorities established in both the 2020 DEI Report and the Action Plan for Racial Equity will require collective efforts and actions across our school and consistently applying a DEI lens, which means that we consider diversity, equity, and inclusion in all of the work that we do. We continue to be grateful for, and inspired by, the energy of the Stanford GSB community to help us make long-lasting and meaningful change.

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