Carnegie Mellon University

Tepper School Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Commitments Update

February 2021

As stated in our 2023 Strategic Plan:

The Tepper School values a diverse and inclusive community, not only because it is ethically and morally right, but because it enriches our experience and leads to greater creativity and innovation in our decision-making. Attracting an outstanding and diverse community of students, staff, and faculty, and ensuring that all members of our community have a voice and sense of belonging, will empower them to strive for excellence.

While DE&I is a core value of who we are as a school, we must acknowledge the gap between our current state and where we aspire to be with respect to diversity, particularly with regard to gender and racial diversity of our students, staff, and faculty. We must and we will do better.

Our path forward has been inspired by the dedicated work of our Tepper Together DE&I Task Force comprised of work groups representing students, staff, and faculty, as well as a group of more than 300 passionate students and alumni. As the nation and world witnessed manifestations of the long-rooted problems of systemic racism in our country, these students and alumni organized and penned a letter to Tepper School administration. The letter outlined recommended actions by the Tepper School to help address societal issues of systemic racism; make progress in achieving greater diversity by recruiting underrepresented faculty, staff, and students; include DE&I content in the academic experience; and create a more inclusive and representative community.

The school leadership supports these recommendations and recognizes that there is much more work to be done to build a stronger foundation for lasting improvements.

Where We Are

As part of the existing Tepper Together DE&I strategic planning process, the steering committee and work groups have assessed the current state, centered on four core themes: Community and Climate, Access and Equity, Recruitment and Retention, and Education and Scholarship (CARE).

As we continue the work of the Tepper Together strategic plan, each member of our community must be actively engaged in providing feedback to the proposed strategic actions aligned with our CARE core themes. We will inform the community on this feedback process in the coming months.

Where Do We Go From Here?

We commit to putting intentional energy, actions, and accountability measures in place to build and cultivate an inclusive environment that values and represents the vibrant diversity of our nation and world on all dimensions, but particularly for women and racially underrepresented populations.

Our progress and success will be contingent upon the intentional leadership of the dean and the collective engagement from every member of the Tepper School community. Working together, we can build and sustain an inclusive culture that promotes equity and provides an environment that fosters collective success for all and does not tolerate racism, discrimination, or bias.

We will be transparent in our communication, work with stakeholders, and encourage meaningful contributions from all members of the Tepper School community. Diversity, equity, and inclusion matter and will be normalized in the ethos of the school.

Below, we’ve outlined high-level commitments that have been informed by the current work of the Tepper Together DE&I work groups, input from other school stakeholders, and commitments outlined in President Jahanian’s July 2, 2020 message.

In April, we will share detailed strategic actions and a clear timeline aligned with these commitments.

No one commitment will resolve the challenges we face. However, as the senior leadership of the school, our responsibility is to ensure we move from stated commitments to strategic actions. This intentional focus and collective approach will move the needle in the right direction and have a long-lasting impact on our community.

CARE Core Themes


Community and Climate 


Access and Equity


Recruitment and Retention


Education and Scholarship

We commit to: 

  • Assess existing organizational structures for systemic bias and barriers that have a negative influence on achieving our DE&I goals. (C, A, R, E)
  • Increase the representation of women and racially underrepresented faculty by putting forth intentional strategies for pipeline development, recruiting, and retention. (A, R)
  • Increase the representation of women and racially underrepresented students by putting forth intentional strategies for pipeline development, recruiting, and retention. (A, R)
  • Increase the representation of racially underrepresented staff by putting forth intentional strategies for outreach, recruiting, and retention. (A, R)
  • Expand DE&I learning opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to develop cultural competency and broader understanding of DE&I issues. (E)
  • Assess and structure staff and resources devoted to driving the DE&I work of the school. (C, A)
  • Expand the DE&I content in new student orientation across all Tepper School academic programs. (E)
  • Identify opportunities to incorporate DE&I content into the academic experience and existing course offerings across all Tepper School academic programs. (E)
  • Establish a school-wide DE&I Council charged with implementation and accountability for the DE&I strategic plan and recommendations to the dean, senior associate deans, and executive director of community and inclusion on issues related to DE&I. (C)
  • Expand our partnerships with our community and collaboratively develop positive social innovations that expand access, opportunity, and economic empowerment in the Pittsburgh region and reverse the trends of injustice and inequality. (C, A)
  • Provide greater access to executive education programs for women and racially underrepresented populations. (A, E)

With regard to the university’s commitments, President Jahanian stated, “Inevitably, there will be those who think these actions do not go far enough and those who believe they go too far.” That truth applies to the commitments we have made today. And while we do not have all the answers today, we know that the only way to find meaningful solutions is to dig into this work together and in a manner that is authentic to Carnegie Mellon.

We have a lot of work to do as a country, a university, and as a school. We are eager to work together to build a better bridge, to a better future, for a better Tepper School.

Isabelle Bajeux-Besnainou

Dean and Professor of Finance

Linda Argote

Senior Associate Dean of Faculty and Research and Thomas Lord Professor of Organizational Behavior and Theory

Willem-Jan van Hoeve

Senior Associate Dean of Education and Carnegie Bosch Professor of Operations Research

Rhonda D. Fischer

Chief Operating Officer