Raymond A. Mason School of Business puts $1M diversity and inclusion gift to use

by Phoebe M. Brannock ’18, University Advancement

William & Mary’s Raymond A. Mason School of Business is already seeing great impact since announcing the Ernst & Young (EY) LLP’s $1 million commitment last fall. The gift, which was given by the EY Foundation and William & Mary alumni who work there, advances the university’s efforts to increase diversity and inclusion among its students, faculty and staff.

EY’s culture of inclusion coincides with the Mason School’s commitment to offering world-class education programs to students regardless of their background.

“The gift is supporting four related initiatives: recruiting more diverse students into the business school, providing a foundation for diversity and inclusion to all undergraduates entering the Mason School through course work, supporting faculty initiatives to promote these principles in subsequent classes and funding a campus-wide diversity symposium,” said Jeanne Wilson, Brooks George Term Professor. “All four of these initiatives are well underway.”

These efforts include:

  • The second annual Diversity and Inclusion Symposium, which was held on Oct. 14, 2017, and was geared toward helping faculty and staff navigate diversity issues within their departments.
  • The Inaugural Student Diversity and Inclusion Symposium, which will take place on Feb. 28, 2018, seeks to increase student understanding of micro-aggressions and student activism.
  • The Business Perspectives and Applications course has been developed and enhanced by incorporating ethics discussions and simulations into the syllabus.
  • Diversity in the Workplace, Developing Your Voice, an undergraduate course designed to enhance recruitment efforts, will now be offered in an expanded format benefitting more students interested in enrolling in the course. 
  • Work is underway for faculty to hold forums each semester focusing on integrating diversity and inclusion into their coursework.

Wilson indicated that the gift will also give student leaders the tools they need to communicate with a growing population of diverse employees and clients.

Inga Carboni, a professor of organizational behavior, is re-configuring the current Business Perspectives and Applications course required of all students entering the business school. She describes it as a “course that will support the Mason School’s commitment to diversity and inclusion on a curricular level.”

The course enables students to explore diversity and inclusion through in-class activities, journal entries and class discussions of team-building strategies, giving voice to values and implicit biases. Carboni is developing a week-long simulation in which students will be videotaped engaging in a team activity and then assessed on their ability to create an inclusive environment.

The undergraduate course, Diversity in the Workplace, Developing your Voice, will be expanded with the mission of encouraging students with non-traditional backgrounds to explore the business school and consider a career in business as a viable option. There is an on-campus and off-campus version of the class. The off-campus version includes a Washington, D.C., trip to meet alumni who are leaders in business. Mansfield Associate Professor Katherine Guthrie is spearheading these innovations.

Since the gift represents a partnership between EY and the Mason School, representatives from EY will be working closely with the faculty to develop biannual diversity and inclusion symposiums. Fanchon Glover M.Ed. ’99, Ed.D ’06, the university’s chief diversity officer, has been helping to lead such efforts.

“Our efforts are well underway, and the partnership is already breathing new life into our current programs,” said Larry Pulley ’74, T.C. and Elizabeth Clarke Professor and dean of the Raymond A. Mason School. “Our partnership with EY represents a new milestone in strengthening diversity and inclusiveness at the university.”

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