Carnegie Mellon University

Tepper School Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Commitments Update

May 2021

In February, we shared a message with the Tepper School community about our renewed commitment to address diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) here at the Tepper School. As you are aware, we hold DE&I as a core value in our community, and we are committed to being transparent in our communications regarding these initiatives at the Tepper School.

As promised in our last communication, we would like to provide you with an update on several strategic actions we will put in place to achieve our DE&I goals. As you know, we created three work groups, which are dedicated to staff, students, and faculty, respectively, and have a shared commitment to this work. The work groups have identified a number of strategic actions that the Tepper School can take now to advance our shared DE&I objectives. These work groups were established last year and began their work in January 2020. The work groups, under the guidance of our DE&I leadership team, have done the foundational work that will allow us to build a comprehensive DE&I strategic plan. The preparation of a comprehensive plan is underway and our objective is to complete it before the end of the year.

The work groups have identified a number of strategic actions that the Tepper School can take now and in the coming year to advance our shared objectives of:

  • Creating a more inclusive community environment at the Tepper School where everyone is treated equitably and feels a sense of belonging.
  • Identifying, attracting, and enrolling a talented and diverse undergraduate and graduate student body.
  • Establishing best practices for the recruitment and retention of staff and faculty, who contribute to the diversity goals of the Tepper School.

Here are the actions we’ve identified which will make an immediate impact.

Creating a more inclusive community environment at the Tepper School:

  • Enhance the Tepper Together website to serve as a mechanism to communicate the status of the school’s DE&I initiatives and as a central resource hub for all internal and external DE&I programming and information.
  • Establish a comprehensive, vetted list of speakers, consultants, and campus resources available to support DE&I workshops, trainings, and in-class experiences for students, faculty, and staff. (fall 2021)
  • Conduct bias mitigation training for staff and faculty. (summer/fall 2021)
  • Launch pilot of cultural intelligence (CQ) assessment to improve the intercultural competency of graduate students and thereby promote their ability to thrive in culturally diverse situations, both personally and professionally. (fall 2022)
  • Establish staff and faculty “First Together” community to support Tepper School undergraduates who are the first in their family to attend college. (fall 2021)
  • Incorporate elements of DE&I into core MBA Leadership Development Certificate curriculum. (Implement in fall 2022.)
  • Administer a graduate student inclusion survey to assess our school’s climate and determine how we can create, affirm, and strengthen an inclusive community. (summer 2021)
  • Explore school-wide opportunities for inter-program (graduate and undergraduate) interactions to strengthen community relationships among students. (fall 2021)
  • Utilizing existing HR modules, encourage professional development opportunities for school leadership and staff to promote the value of diversity, create stronger cultural competencies and awareness about how to contribute to a diverse community, and how diversity enhances innovation and decision making.
  • Establish mechanism to track and reward staff members who uphold and demonstrate innovation aligned with the school’s DE&I goals and best practices.

Identify, attract, and enroll a talented and diverse undergraduate and graduate student body.

  • Establish strategic partnerships with high-school targeted organizations, HBCUs, HSIs, Women's Colleges, etc. that broaden our access to talented undergraduate and graduate students. (In progress)
  • Enhance Celebration of Diversity Weekend engagement by providing travel stipends for prospective students interested in Tepper School undergraduate programs. (spring 2022)

Establish and follow best practices for the recruitment and retention of staff and faculty who contribute to the diversity goals of the Tepper School.

  • Increase transparency of Tepper School faculty diversity:
    • On an annual basis, and in various forums, the dean will present data to Tepper School stakeholders on the current state of faculty diversity at the Tepper School and provide annual updates on our progress in increasing faculty diversity, including women and historically underrepresented groups. The Dean will discuss efforts to increase the representation of faculty who are women or from underrepresented groups with Tepper School stakeholders. (fall 2021 and ongoing)
    • In the academic year 2021-2022, we will launch a search for a tenured faculty member in any area of the school, whose research is associated with DE&I and who will serve as Associate Dean, DE&I. (Search initiated in fall 2021.)
    • We will review our various processes to ensure that they align with best practices for recruitment to support our goal of increasing the representation of faculty who are women and from underrepresented groups. (spring 2022)
  • Actively pursue recruitment of faculty who contribute to the diversity goals of the Tepper School:
    • We will support the recruitment, retention, and development of outstanding scholars who will contribute to diversity and equity at the Tepper School (fall 2021 and ongoing)
    • CMU is piloting a Faculty Opportunity Fund that will support the recruitment, retention, and development of outstanding scholars in all fields who will contribute to diversity and equity at the Tepper School and enhance our reputation as a leading school. The success of this program will also depend on supporting and expanding recruitment strategies that have proven successful to date, including the President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program (PPFP), among others.
    • We will require that applicant pools be diverse before proceeding with searches, interviews, and candidate selection. (fall 2021 and ongoing)
  • Enhance support to faculty members after they join the Tepper School:
    • We will provide regular feedback to faculty about their research, teaching, and service on an annual basis to help them to be successful. (spring 2022 and ongoing)
    • We will strengthen the mentoring program for all untenured and non-tenure-track faculty, develop mentoring guidelines, and evaluate the program on a regular basis to identify opportunities for improvement. (fall 2021 and ongoing)
  • Continue partnership with university HR, led by Tepper School COO, to work closely with hiring managers in recruiting, selection, and onboarding process designed to enhance the diversity of staff at all levels of the school.
    • We will maximize the use of recruitment tools and sites, and seek new partnerships to attract a diverse applicant pool. (spring 2021 and ongoing)
    • For all supervisory positions, we will assess candidates’ experience with DE&I and managing diverse teams through a formal set of questions and associated rubrics. (spring 2021 and ongoing)
    • We will build training/toolkits to support managers in leading diverse teams. (fall 2021)
    • We will continue to have DE&I-related expectations included in performance goals for all Tepper School supervisors.

While this is not a fully comprehensive strategic plan, we are taking steps to move in the direction of increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion at the Tepper School. We appreciate the efforts of our work groups, which provide a sound foundation for the preparation of our formal strategic plan.

We made a commitment to work together to make diversity, equity, and inclusion a priority. We look forward to the progress we will make as we move forward, and we will continue to keep you apprised of the progress we are making.

We will be scheduling listening sessions and discussion circles to discuss the first version of our strategic plan and get your feedback. We hope you will continue to support our commitment to DE&I here at the Tepper School. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have questions or comments about the actions stated above. We always appreciate your input.

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