Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Annual Report 2021

Executive Summary

Two years ago, Dean Costis Maglaras created the role of Vice Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at Columbia Business School, furthering our commitment to the principles of DEI. In this new position, Dr. Gita Johar, Meyer Feldberg Professor of Business in the Marketing Division, focused on three key pillars: Community Diversity, Curriculum and Classroom Inclusion, and Culture and Climate. Guided by data and stakeholder input, Dr. Johar and the School implemented and expanded initiatives to increase access and opportunity for underrepresented groups, develop diverse and inclusive leaders, and foster an inclusive and equitable environment.

Diversity provokes thought and enhances creativity through pluralities of background, knowledge, and experiences; gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, and sexual orientation; and viewpoints and information. These differences foster innovation, lead to better decision making, and improve business and societal outcomes.

Below please find the executive summary. The full report can be downloaded here.

This inaugural Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Annual Report includes:

  1. Activities and accomplishments from 2019 to 2021 organized among three pillars:
    • The diversity of our community—students, faculty, and staff
    • Inclusion and equity in our classrooms and curriculum, with an emphasis on how cases and discussions reflect the challenges, opportunities, and value of diversity, equity, and inclusion in organizations and society
    • DEI as it manifests in and permeates the culture of our School
  2. A dashboard of DEI metrics, from which future progress can be measured
  3. Recommendations from the Race, Diversity, and Inclusion Task Force that will inform our continuing DEI work

There is work to be done at our School, and positive change will ultimately be the result of sustained effort over time. The School is committed to this effort.

The progress documented here is the result of collaboration among the DEI Initiative; DEI Standing Committee; Race, Diversity, and Inclusion Task Force; IDEAS Staff Committee; and countless students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community partners. We are grateful for these partnerships and proud of what we have achieved in just two years.

Notable Activities and Accomplishments, 2019–2021

Community Diversity: Increasing Access and Opportunity

At CBS, students, faculty, and staff comprise a dynamic and stimulating community that benefits from a diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. We are proactively creating structured processes to help eliminate barriers to education by creating applicant pipelines and securing financial aid to create equitable access. We are holistically working to enhance diversity in our classrooms, from full-time faculty to adjuncts and guest speakers, as well as nurturing the pipeline of doctoral programs that feed into our faculty ranks. In addition, we are revamping human resource processes to address issues of diversity and opportunity in our administrative staff across seniority levels. Finally, we have developed the mechanisms to track and enhance diversity of students, faculty, guest and seminar speakers, and staff in order to have actionable data. Highlights from the last two years include:

Student Pipeline

  • Joined The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management to reaffirm our commitment to admitting a racially diverse MBA student body.
  • Announced programs to remove cost barriers to business education, including the Perelman Scholarship Fund to offer tuition awards for students from underrepresented racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups and a five-year fundraising campaign to grow the African American Alumni Association (4A) Committee Scholarship Fund.
  • Partnered with First Generation Investors, a nonprofit program that teaches high school students in underserved communities the power of investing.
  • Launched the Columbia Undergraduate Business Scholarship (CUBS) program of paid research assistantships to create awareness among underrepresented minority (URM) Columbia undergraduates about business research and academic careers.

PhD Student & Faculty Pipeline

  • Founder-member of PREDOC (Pathways to Research and Doctoral Careers), a consortium that creates pathways for undergraduates to enter business PhD programs.
  • Continued our partnership with The PhD Project, which can help diversify our full-time faculty.
  • Established policy and accountability to increase the gender, racial, and ethnic diversity of our adjunct faculty and guest speakers.
  • Established the Katherine Phillips Professorship in Business to celebrate the life and accomplishment of our late colleague, Kathy, and to help recruit leading diverse faculty to our School.

School-Wide Diversity

  • Developed mechanisms to track the diversity of students, faculty, guest and seminar speakers, and staff in order to have data from which we can take meaningful action toward enhancing diversity.

Curriculum and Classroom Inclusion: Developing Diverse and Inclusive Leaders

Business cases, protagonists, and classroom discussions should all reflect the diversity of our classrooms and help all of our students become inclusive leaders. We are taking a comprehensive look at our curriculum, introducing more diverse protagonists in our cases, offering additional courses on DEI topics, and developing co-curricular programming for all MBA students on inclusive leadership, which we plan to expand to more of our community. We are increasing DEI resources and support for faculty to better prepare them to approach classroom interactions through a DEI lens, and we are making inclusive practices like sharing pronouns and name pronunciation common and affirming for everyone. Highlights from the last two years include:

Leadership Development

  • Piloted and launched the Phillips Pathway for Inclusive Leadership (PPIL) for all MBA students.
  • Introduced online and in-person DEI training for faculty, added the “Faculty in Conversation” series on inclusive teaching, and partnered with Samberg Institute to provide faculty with DEI coaching and resources.

Classroom Inclusion

  • Introduced pronouns and name pronunciation tools in classrooms, as well as randomized seating for core classes, to promote classroom inclusion.

Case and Curriculum Diversity

  • Launched the Dean’s Summer Fellows: The Course Development Track, through which student fellows work with faculty and Columbia CaseWorks to prioritize annually the development of materials that increase diversity and inclusion.
  • Partnered with the Arthur J. Samberg Institute for Teaching Excellence and Columbia CaseWorks to audit classroom materials, including a survey on inclusive language.
  • Added elective courses with a DEI focus, including Bridging the American Divides and Executive Ethics.

Culture and Climate: Fostering an Inclusive and Equitable Environment

The culture in our classrooms, hallways, offices, events – in every aspect of our School's life – should be inclusive and respectful, with equitable treatment of our community members. Our new Values Statement anchors our work, and with the support of robust training and resource groups, we are helping our community live up to our values and uphold and defend our principles. We are listening – and responding – to the insights and feedback gathered by our Race, Diversity, and Inclusion Task Force, and by our CBS Reflects student advisory board. Highlights from the last two years include:

Community Inclusion

  • Students: Added six new DEI trainings and inclusive leadership sessions for MBA students.
  • Faculty: Launched research seminar series in partnership with each academic division to showcase research on DEI topics.
  • Staff: Created IDEAS (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access, Social & Systemic Justice) Committee, introduced several employee resource groups, and provided 12 DEI trainings and workshops.

School-Wide Initiatives

  • Established the DEI Standing Committee composed of CBS students, faculty, and staff
  • Developed the Columbia Business School Values Statement to affirm our core values of inclusion and respect.
  • Established the Race, Diversity, and Inclusion Task Force to review and make recommendations on the topic of racial justice at CBS.

Looking Ahead

The next phase of the DEI Initiative will be led by Dr. Ann Bartel, Merrill Lynch Professor of Workforce Transformation in the Economics Division, who was appointed Vice Dean for DEI in July 2021, and Dr. Ufuoma Abiola, who was named the inaugural Executive Director for DEI in August 2021. They are supported by a newly established team with two Directors dedicated to DEI. Dr. Bartel and Dr. Abiola will lead initiatives focused on further advancing the 3 Cs, guided by the recommendations of the Race, Diversity, and Inclusion Task Force, summarized below.

Community Diversity: Increasing Access and Opportunity    

  • Increase number of underrepresented minority (URM) students in our programs
  • Increase number of female and URM full-time and adjunct faculty
  • Diversify senior staff positions
  • Provide transparency by publishing statistics on the diversity of students, faculty, staff, and speakers

Curriculum and Classroom Inclusion: Developing Diverse and Inclusive Leaders

  • Increase diversity of gender, race, and ethnicity of in-class guest speakers to match demographics of our student body
  • Expand case study initiative to increase gender and race diversity of case protagonists
  • Design and launch faculty DEI training and coaching
  • Create touchpoints for faculty to support students and understand dynamics related to their identities
  • Recognize and address barriers that URM individuals face, through initiatives such as the enhancement of our faculty mentorship program

Culture and Climate: Fostering an Inclusive and Equitable Environment    

  • Strengthen student orientation programming with enhanced DEI sessions
  • Train student leaders to address DEI dynamics
  • Increase touchpoints with student affinity groups
  • Expand Phillips Pathway for Inclusive Leadership
  • Provide staff with DEI training and coaching
  • Ensure staff have knowledge and access to career growth opportunities
  • Identify opportunities for staff and faculty to interact outside of standard workplace settings

Download full report here.

link to data dashboard