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Anti-racism at Yale SOM

Addressing the deepest challenges

In the fall of 2020, Yale SOM Dean Kerwin Charles announced a series of concrete steps and overarching goals that will guide the school in responding to racism in society and in its own corridors.

 

We at SOM are called upon to address systemic racism, both because we are part of the larger national current and because our distinctive mission urges us to engage with pressing societal issues. There is no more pressing issue than confronting systemic racism—specifically against the Black community. —Yale SOM Dean Kerwin K. Charles

Council on Anti-racism and Equity (CARE)

The Council on Anti-racism and Equity (CARE) includes representatives from the school’s faculty, students, alumni, and staff. It advises the dean and provides a mechanism for communication of needs and issues to the school’s senior leadership. It focuses on the action areas of inclusive communityacademics and classroom culture, and representation

Dean's plan

Our mission to educate leaders for business and society requires that we address the big problems in the world around us, rather than pursue individual success without regard for injustice and other factors that diminish the flourishing of segments of our community. Issues of discrimination, bias, and inequity are particularly germane to our mission, since they lead to deep human suffering, exclusion from opportunity, and systemic injustice. These problems can only be addressed if leaders at all levels bring passion, acumen, and rigor to the effort to change major institutions. Indeed, there is significant evidence that diverse companies do better across a variety of contexts; for example, companies with diverse executive teams are likely to outperform while diverse VC firms generate better returns. Efforts to enhance diversity truly benefit business and society.

Update, July 2021

Efforts to implement our anti-racism objectives have continued throughout the year. Some of the highlights, as of July 2021, include:

  • Launched a new diversity, equity, and inclusion training module, mandatory for all students, faculty, and staff.
  • Added a new staff position in the Community & Inclusion team with a special focus on creating co-curricular events for students and providing space for community members to engage in meaningful dialogue and learn across difference.
  • Secured funding for a diversity-focused position in the admissions group, which will help us with outreach to underrepresented groups across our programs.
  • Joined forces with QuestBridge and Admit Me Access, organizations striving to reduce barriers to business education and to increase the presence of underrepresented populations in business. 
  • Committed to co-host the next edition of the John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition this year, an effort which will be led by our newest student club, the Business Students for Racial Equity (BSRE).

Progress requires contributions from people throughout the school and the integration of diversity and equity principles across our programs and activities. While we haven’t been able to capture every step taken at the school, we have provided updates to the priorities enumerated on the following pages:

2020-2021 Focus

We will focus our efforts in the 2020-21 academic year in the following areas:

  • Inclusive Community: How can our community actively encourage anti-racist norms and behaviors while supporting those who suffer harms?
  • Academics and Classroom Culture: How can the subject matter and delivery of what we teach do more to train leaders who will address systemic racism?
  • Representation: How can we do more to welcome students, faculty, and staff from backgrounds that have suffered from discrimination?

Our actions will not be limited to these areas or to the particular steps outlined in these pages. Anti-racism is a predominating concern for the school’s leadership, as well as its faculty, students, staff, and alumni. It will be woven into innumerable discussions, initiatives, and activities at the school in coming years.

Action: Inclusive Community

A genuinely inclusive community, one that respects all its members and promotes equity, not only welcomes more people from diverse backgrounds, but also creates a richer learning environment for all.

Create a Council to Advise the Dean on Anti-racism, Diversity, and Climate

Announced Fall 2020
The Council on Anti-racism and Equity includes representatives from the school’s faculty, students, alumni, and staff. It advises the dean and provides a mechanism for communication of needs and issues to the school’s senior leadership.

  • Update: Council members were selected and their work commenced this fall. The group announced that its new name would be the Council on Anti-racism and Equity (CARE) and formed subcommittees focused on the three priority areas of inclusive community, academics and classroom culture, and representation. Information on the council can be found on this page and will be updated over time as work progresses.
Increase resources for the Community and Inclusion office

Announced Fall 2020
The school will devote additional funds and other resources to the inclusiveness efforts led by the C&I office.

  • Update: The school created  a new staff position in the Community & Inclusion team with a special focus on creating co-curricular events for students and providing space for community members to engage in meaningful dialogue and learn across difference. The school has also increased the Community and Inclusion budget to support increased programming, and added resources for the creation of a school-wide Diversity, Equity & Inclusion report.


Expand programming available to the full Yale SOM community

Announced Fall 2020
The school will sponsor training, bring in outside experts, and facilitate meaningful conversations about diversity and inclusion.

  • Update: Starting in the summer of 2021, all students, faculty, and staff were required to complete a diversity, equity, and inclusion training module. The school’s Community and Inclusion group has spearheaded expanded DEI programming during orientation for all incoming students; this has included bringing in an expert guest speaker who discussed Race, Identity, and Navigating Difficult Conversations. In addition, C&I has launched a “Conversations that Matter” speaker series and overseen a substantial expansion of events dedicated to Black History Month. 
Expand programming available to the full Yale SOM community

Announced Fall 2020
The school will sponsor training, bring in outside experts, and facilitate meaningful conversations about diversity and inclusion.

  • Update: Starting in the summer of 2021, all students, faculty, and staff were required to complete a diversity, equity, and inclusion training module. The school’s Community and Inclusion group has spearheaded expanded DEI programming during orientation for all incoming students; this has included bringing in an expert guest speaker who discussed Race, Identity, and Navigating Difficult Conversations. In addition, C&I has launched a “Conversations that Matter” speaker series and overseen a substantial expansion of events dedicated to Black History Month. 
Create a greater space for discourse about racism at SOM

Announced Fall 2020
There must be a privileged space in our community for ongoing vigorous and robust debate. We will create lecture series and other fora intentionally designed to bring all sides together in discussion and debate.

  • Update: The Dean’s Office has sponsored major speaker events that foster discussion of anti-racism. Additional series and plans are being developed. SOM committed to co-host the 2021 edition of the John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition, an effort which will be led by the Business Students for Racial Equity student club.
Revisit the iconography in Edward P. Evans Hall

Announced Fall 2020
The school will review the art works and other displays in Edward P. Evans Hall to ensure they reflect the diversity of the Yale SOM community. 

  • Update: The school secured funding of $50,000 per year over five years to diversify the art portrayed in Evans Hall. A task force composed of students, faculty, and staff—including members of the Council on Anti-racism and Equity—will oversee the development of this program and make additional recommendations. In addition, the school is using the digital screens around campus to highlight the values that SOM alumni draw upon to help them in their professional lives; each month a diverse selection of alumni from different years, programs, regions, industries, genders, and ethnicities will be featured.
Build mutually beneficial connections with the City of New Haven

Announced Fall 2020
We will identify, incentivize, and strengthen ways to connect talent in the SOM community with those in the local community who could benefit from assistance. 

  • Update: The school will seek to engage with New Haven organizations by engaging SOM students, staff and faculty in joint community service efforts.
Work with recruiters to promote diversity and inclusion

Announced Fall 2020
Recruiting is a major part of students’ Yale SOM experience. The school will work with companies to encourage and enhance diversity and inclusion efforts.

Action: Academics and Classroom Culture

The exchange between teacher and student is at the heart of the Yale SOM experience. We will work across the board to ensure that the classroom experience is inclusive and that our academic programs prepare students to address problems of systemic racism and injustice throughout their careers.

Diversify representation in cases taught at Yale SOM

Announced Fall 2020
Faculty will work hard to identify cases with protagonists that span a more diverse range than has historically been the case.

  • Update: The Case Research and Development team, along with relevant faculty, have launched a systematic review of cases taught in the MBA core. As an initial result, four of the eight new cases debuting in the spring semester feature Black or women protagonists. In addition, the school has begun an initiative to bring more speakers with diverse perspectives into the classroom to provide their points of view on existing cases.
Increase faculty training in inclusiveness

Announced Fall 2020
The SOM faculty have committed to make use of teaching resources through the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning and elsewhere at Yale to develop and strengthen their facility at fostering an inclusive classroom environment.

  • Update: The school is researching an online diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging educational unit that will be mandatory for faculty, staff, and students. Rollout is expected in 2021.

Action: Representation

The underrepresentation of Black people and other minorities in the pinnacles of leadership is a disgrace. At Yale SOM, we are not exempt from this failing, and we must make greater efforts to welcome people from diverse backgrounds to our campus.

Increase Black representation in our student body to a nationally representative share

Announced Fall 2020
Efforts to increase diversity among our students will have to be broad based and unstinting.

  • Update: New training specific to anti-bias/bias mitigation was customized and delivered to admissions interviewers in partnership with The Broad Center. Additional recent efforts have included securing funding for a diversity-focused position in the admissions group, which will help with outreach to underrepresented groups across SOM’s programs, and collaboration with QuestBridge and Admit Me Access, organizations striving to reduce barriers to business education and to increase the presence of underrepresented populations in business.
Increase the number of Black ladder faculty

Announced Fall 2020
This is a standing SOM and Yale University objective. All groups at the school are redoubling their efforts in this area and leveraging resources provided by the university.

  • Update: Increasing the diversity of our faculty continues to be an important criteria in our recruiting efforts and has been emphasized in all open searches.
Increase the diversity of Yale SOM staff, across all groups and levels

Announced Fall 2020
Our staff are indispensable to creating a supportive and inclusive learning environment. We will redouble efforts to ensure we are hiring diverse staff across functions and levels of responsibility.

  • Update: The school’s human resources group has worked with central Yale HR to implement an additional diversity screening in the hiring process. In addition, the school is investigating additional places to recruit diverse staff talent.
Foster diversity in research assistants and PhD programs at Yale SOM

Announced Fall 2020
The school aims to maximize the diversity and quality of research assistants who will work for our faculty and, eventually, apply to PhD programs and become faculty in economics departments and business schools around the country and the world.

  • Update: Yale SOM has joined a consortium of universities committed to working together on this issue, called PREDOC. The school also increased its engagement with the PhD Project, an organization focused on increasing diversity in the PhD pipeline, by organizing a school information session with four faculty and a current student.