The Business School at WPI: Creating a Culture of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
Department(s):The Business School
The Business School is proud to participate in the Sustainable Inclusive Excellence (SIE) efforts as part of WPI’s Lead with Purpose Strategic Plan Implementation. As a school our SIE goals are to:
- Develop socially responsible business leaders
- Attract and retain diverse business students
- Infuse DEI into the Business School identity
In The Business School, we recognize that business is a force for good and positive societal change and our responsibility is to prepare students to take up the mantle to be socially responsible business leaders. Within our curriculum, faculty have worked to embed ethics, values, and a social justice emphasis in all courses. This focus allows us to increase awareness to broader societal issues for our students, helping them to be more informed advocates. We are using department meetings to increase faculty and staff awareness of student support resources and have leveraged this forum for professional development opportunities regarding mental health resources and anti-bias training. We have also partnered with the Morgan Teaching Center to ensure that our instructional practices are inclusive. Additionally, we plan to host a speaker series for students and faculty on social justice issues. We will know that our efforts to develop socially responsible business leaders have been successful through student ratings of DEI measures during exit surveys, evidence of social justice and ethics topics in course syllabi, increased faculty and staff awareness of and engagement with student support resources, and continued professional development and anti-bias training.
Secondly, we are actively working to attract and retain diverse business students. In The Business School, 5.4 percent of undergraduates and 10.6 percent of graduate students are of underrepresented minoritized populations. Because this is not where we need to be, we are working diligently to increase awareness of The Business School within minoritized communities through projects, partnerships, and outreach. We are increasing our marketing investments toward minoritized student recruitment. We are exploring business and tech pipeline development programs for undergraduate and career-switching graduate students. And most notably, we have launched the Dean’s Diversity Scholarship where we will award three $20,000 scholarships annually to attract underrepresented graduate school applicants. Our goal is to increase graduate applications from students of color from 15 to more than 45 applications and increase our commit rate from 65 percent to 85 percent. We also hope to increase the number of undergraduate and graduate projects that work with disadvantaged communities to increase equity.
Our third goal is to infuse DEI into The Business School’s identity. We have updated our mission statement to be inclusive of faculty, students, and staff. Our mission: To develop adaptive leaders who create sustainable solutions, deliver globally responsible impact, and conduct transformative research at the intersection of business, technology, and people. With this mission, we will build a culture of care for our faculty, staff, and students where everyone is welcomed and feels a sense of belonging. We are also attracting faculty applicants through partnerships with the PhD Project and similar organizations to increase representation. To that end, of the five faculty and staff hires made since January 2021, The Business School has added four people of color.
We are excited about our SIE action plans in The Business School and are positioned to accomplish our goals. Because we know that diversity enriches experiences at every level of an organization, we have made it our work to create a culture of care that prizes diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.