RECRUITING DIVERSE STUDENTS AND DIVERSE FACULTY GO HAND-IN-HAND
To this end, business schools tell Poets&Quants that a thriving B-school experience for minority students is directly correlated — though certainly not limited to — the faculty they see before them. In other words, bringing in diverse students and maximizing their B-school experience also hinges on having a diverse team of faculty.
For the College of Business at Northern Illinois University, which had close to 43% underrepresented minorities in this year’s incoming class, “The biggest part of it has to do with our recruiting force and CHANCE program,” Bill McCoy, director of Ethics Education & Diversity Initiatives, told us. CHANCE is a program the university uses to identify, recruit, admit, and assist students who show promise for succeeding in college despite limited preparation and resources. While it’s open to students of all backgrounds, McCoy points out that it does bring in students of color throughout the university and helps boost recruitment in that area.
“But another thing helping is that we are really trying to make a good connection between faculty and staff of color,” says McCoy who is also director of BELIEF (Building Ethical Leaders Using an Integrated Ethics Framework), an effort which focuses on integrating ethics into the business school’s curriculum. “Granted, we need to work on those numbers, but we are helping our faculty to be a little more balanced. We’re pushing the academic department chairs to really look at the hiring process, where they’re advertising, purposely putting ads in places that will likely bring in more candidates. Even the wording of faculty and staff job descriptions is carefully considered so when we’re putting the positions out there, we’re putting in some frank terms that we want candidates who embrace diversity and think in diverse ways. So when people think of us, they get that we’re diversity-minded and that we really want to push that agenda.”
Jo-Anne Shibles, senior assistant dean of Undergraduate Business Programs at Santa Clara’s Leavey School of Business also stressed the importance of diverse faculty in enhancing the student experience — not just for minorities, but for all students. “As a university and business school, we understand it’s important to have different perspectives and different views both in terms of students we bring in and faculty we bring in to teach,” Shibles tells us. “That’s what higher education is all about, imparting perspectives and views.”
In this year’s ranking, Leavey had the third highest percentage of incoming students who were minorities. “The undergraduate admissions process runs through the university,” Shibles says. “They’ve been doing efforts to increase diversity such as attending a variety of college fairs and, for students at the high schools they visit, they’re making a concerted effort to have counselors come to campus and hear more about majors the students might not know about. They’re also connecting with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic serving organizations. The other piece is a strong partnership they’ve developed around nonprofits that are out there working hard to increase the number of underrepresented students such as Breaking Through, 10,000 Degrees, and similar others.”
BUSINESS SCHOOL STUDENTS TAKING CHARGE
On another front, B-school students themselves are taking charge and not shying away from the heavy lifting when it comes to enhancing the experiences of minority students.
Issabelle Hayden, a sophomore, serves as the Vice President of Operations for the Leavey Black Business Association, a student-founded and student-run organization that was created three years ago. In her role, Hayden says she helps plan club meetings and programs the group hosts, which are mostly professional development activities and networking opportunities.
“Primarily, we get recruiters who are recruiting for a diversity of talent wanting to interact with our club. Someone from Ernst & Young came and did a presentation that was open to the whole school but the first half was just for members,” Hayden explains. “We also have general club meetings, resume training with the career center, networking games and activities, and we have one speaker per quarter. Last year we had someone from Prudential and another from Pandora.”
Says Shibles: “In the business school, we’ve been very happy that a number of student organizations have come to be. For instance, the Leavey Black Business Association and Latino Business Students Association. They’re coming together with support of faculty, staff, and the university.”
Last year at Babson, Mendes helped author a petition for the college’s faculty, staff, and administration to address shortcomings she and other minority students said they saw within the school. Specifically, “The lack of a racially diverse education within Babson’s curriculum and the lack of domestic racial diversity among students, staff, and faculty,” the petition reads. The appeal calls for an audit of Babson’s current undergraduate and graduate curricula and faculty. First, to determine the diversity of existing cases put before students to study and teaching notes and lectures that incorporate issues of domestic diversity and inclusion and racism. Secondly, a funded commitment to recruit, retain, and promote more domestic diverse faculty, specifically those of Black/African-American and Hispanic-American backgrounds.
Mendes happily reports that Babson has implemented courses about diversity and inclusion into freshman year seminar classes as well as dedicated a day in new-student orientation to these topics. She also says the school is working on hiring more diverse faculty, that there’s a date scheduled for faculty training, and that a variety of committees have been created specifically for looking at diversity within the curriculum and in the classrooms.
“Within this semester in particular, there’s been a shift in terms of institutional commitment. Before, a lot of things were happening in silos and that’s not the case anymore,” she says.
(See the next page for the entire list of U.S. minorities at the top undergraduate business programs.)
THE 2017 P&Q RANKINGS SERIES: