Posted on March 8, 2019

Harvard Business School Plans New Position Focused on Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Sam E. Sharfstein, Harvard Crimson, March 8, 2019

Amid ongoing efforts to increase minority representation in its case studies, the Harvard Business School is planning to hire its first-ever Associate Director for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging, according to Ellen Mahoney, chief human resources officer at HBS.

The new director, who will take on a position that has been developed over the past 18 months, will coordinate between students, faculty, and staff to improve the environment surrounding equity and inclusion at the school, said Mahoney, who helped lead the development of the position. The Business School is also working to address issues of diversity by increasing the number of case studies that feature black protagonists.

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Mahoney said that a crucial aspect of the new position will be creating new metrics that capture students’ experience at the school to understand diversity and belonging, instead of solely relying on demographic numbers .

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The new position will allow the administration to engage with the existing diversity and inclusion student organizations, such as the Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Council and the Women’s Student Association, according to Student Association Co-President Triston J. Francis, co-president of the Student Association.

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As the school searches for the new director, Steven Rogers, a senior lecturer at the Business School, has led efforts to increase the diversity of protagonists in business school cases. His course, “Black Business Leaders and Entrepreneurship,” includes 14 case studies with black protagonists. {snip}

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“There has been improvement, but the improvement has been glacial and I am a little disappointed. Because we are HBS, we are Harvard, we can do whatever we want to do,” [Rogers] added.

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The school has begun to take concrete steps to include more case studies featuring black protagonists, according to Business School professor Jan W. Rivkin. One of these steps is determining the number of these cases currently taught.

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Rivkin stressed that increasing diversity in the case studies would be valuable for all business school students, not only those from minority backgrounds, as it prepares them for work in the world outside the Business School.

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