Aiming for Greater Diversity

The Stanford Graduate School of Business publishes a progress report on its efforts so far.

IN DECEMBER, THE Stanford Graduate School of Business in California released its second annual Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Report. The report summarizes the school’s progress toward the five goals outlined in its first report: to increase the diversity of the Stanford GSB community, create an inclusive classroom and learning experience, create an inclusive and welcoming campus community, empower and support underrepresented communities, and support new research.

The efforts undertaken in 2020 included increasing the gender diversity of the school’s tenure-line faculty through the hiring of seven women and seven men; holding the first annual virtual Diversity in Leadership conference; and launching Stanford Rebuild, a free online program for entrepreneurs that brought in 6,000 registrants, 43 percent of whom were women. The school also hosted a three-session “Brave Spaces” listening tour with alumni that created a safe space for conversations about anti-racism, and it created a research guide that includes resources for studying diversity in organizations and the workplace.

In July, the school announced its Action Plan for Racial Equity (APRE), which outlines its ongoing DEI efforts in four key areas:

Increasing representation. The school has increased efforts to recruit Black students into its MBA and PhD programs, as well as an MSx program aimed at experienced professionals. Thirty-seven percent of the students in the 2020 MBA class are students of color. The school also has launched a fellowship program aimed at closing intergenerational wealth gaps among admitted students.

Building a culture of inclusion and belonging. The school has developed a workshop for faculty and lecturers on managing sensitive topics in the classroom; it will be offered multiple times a year. In addition, the school offered its first Stanford GSB Rising Scholars Conference, designed for minority PhD students and postdoctoral scholars, which drew more than 500 attendees.

Making positive change beyond Stanford GSB. The school recently named the three co-chairs of the Alumni Racial Equity Initiative Task Force. It has also created a new free webinar called Leadership for Society: Race and Power; several new DEI-focused executive education offerings; and free online learning resources about anti-racism and allyship.

Holding itself accountable. The new Stanford GSB DEI Council—which is made up of students, staff, and faculty—will focus on making the school more inclusive, equitable, and diverse. The school also plans to publish an annual report to provide transparency around its DEI efforts.

“This has been a year of awakening,” says 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.”