While we have been consumed with the incredible challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the recent high-profile violent events targeting Black Americans deserve our undivided and lasting attention. As dean of the Broad College of Business, I have been shocked by these racist events that have engulfed our country and feel personally compelled to speak out.
First and foremost, to our Black students, faculty, staff and alumni, know that the Broad College and Michigan State University stand with you. We are committed to building an inclusive environment — one that recognizes and respects people of all backgrounds and experiences.
As this is one of the major themes outlined in the Broad College Strategic Plan, we have already taken and are continuing to take various actions to address issues of diversity, equity and inclusion that broadly fall into three buckets: programmatic initiatives, curricular content and personnel decisions.
- Within our Residential Business Community and Multicultural Business Programs, students are immersed in activities and programs that prepare them to be business leaders in a diverse world with a global mindset.
- Many of our undergraduate and graduate student organizations promote diversity and inclusion, including the Native American Business Institute, Broad Women’s MBA Association, National Association of Black Accountants, and Spartan Pride, the Broad College’s first LBGTQ+ student organization.
- In addition, we have launched new courses that focus on topics such as diversity in the workplace and women’s leadership in business, to give students awareness training around ethical issues.
- Finally, the Broad College always emphasizes diversity and inclusion when considering hiring needs, and we continue to do so with every new appointment and selection.
While these examples show some of our efforts, I acknowledge that they are not enough. We must double down on our commitment to ensure that each one of us consciously acts to make our values of diversity, equity and inclusion a reality.
- To expand our faculty and staff awareness, education and discourse on these topics, we are building a reading list and identifying books and materials to read and discuss as a college. I have selected White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo as our first book for this fall. We plan to augment the reading list with discussion forums focused on difficult conversations.
- All Broad College faculty, staff and students will be required to complete anti-bias online training this fall through MSU’s Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives. We will support continuing professional development and training in these areas and have the participants share their learning in a “train-the-trainer” model.
- We are working to develop a diversity, equity and inclusion council to involve members of our advisory board, alumni, faculty and staff and other local community stakeholders to guide and drive ongoing diversity, equity and inclusion efforts for the college.
Our vision at the Broad College is to be a leader in diversity, equity and inclusion at MSU and among our Big Ten and peer business schools, with best-in-class practices, policies and achievements. To accomplish this, we will engage all of our stakeholders, incorporate teaching, research and outreach efforts, and pursue initiatives and activities that embrace these values in all we do.
Going forward, we pledge to learn more about our differences so we can better understand each other.
We will listen and learn, hear and understand, support and empathize.
We will stand behind the forgotten, the left behind, the pained and the hurting in our community.
We will actively demonstrate every single day that racism is not acceptable, period.
The work ahead will not be easy and will require understanding, patience and courage. Together, we, as Spartans, are up to the challenge.
Eli and Edythe L. Broad Dean
Broad College of Business