Archive for February, 2011

Come to a Great Conference on Education and Business

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

I’ve been working with public school educators a lot in recent weeks.  Teachers, principals, superintendents and education scholars are all challenged to improve our education system.  That makes the Darden School of Business’ upcoming conference, Education in the New Economy—all the more exciting for me.  It takes place Friday, February 25, 2011 beginning at 9:00 AM and is presented by the Black Business Student Forum at Darden.

The 20th century economy was built on manufacturing power and scale, but the economic powers of the 21st century will be defined by an innovation economy anchored by an educated citizenry.  The future of the American economy depends on our education system; a system that has prepared far too few to be the next generation of leaders. The gap in the education system that we have and the education system we need affects all facets of our society. Re-thinking this system is a collective responsibility.

The conference brings together a diverse group of experts from the education and business community, to thoroughly examine how schools prepare students to be successful in the workforce, and why the business community should be partners in this challenge.  Highlights include:

  • Lunch Keynote by Dr. Steve Perry, renowned educator, author, and contributor for CNN
  • Keynote by Dr. Christopher B. Howard, the dynamic President of Hampden-Sydney College
  • Amazing line up of panelists ranging from policy analysts, business leaders, consultants and entrepreneurs. Highlights: Dr. Pam Moran, superintendent of Albemarle County Public Schools, Secretary of Education for the State of Virginia Gerard Robinson.
  • Great Darden alums, including Victor de la Paz, Nicole Lindsay, and James Temple. Tierney Fairchild will serve as a moderator.
  • Darden School/Curry Education School Partnership for Leaders in Education will also support the conference as Senior Director William Robinson moderates a panel entitled “MBAs in the Schoolhouse.”

Come to this conference if you are a:

  • Business-minded professional—you’ll gain insight into how public education systems are preparing the next generation of talent: YOUR next hires.
  • Current student with an interest in education—come hear how others have successfully established careers in the intersection of business and education.

Come to Darden and check out this terrific event!

Education in the New Economy

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Presented by the Black Student Forum at the Darden School of Business, this annual conference brings together a diverse group of experts from the education and business community to thoroughly examine how schools prepare students to be successful in the workforce, and why the business community should be partners in this challenge. Click here for more information and to register.

On the importance of minority faculty

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

I was recently asked to answer a series of questions on why it is important to have minority faculty represented at business schools. While it seemed like the answer to the question would be obvious, I was happy to go through the exercise, and found that it may not be as straightforward as one might think.

Minority representation among our faculty is essential because we know that being competitive in the global business school market means getting smarter and smarter about how we create high quality learning for an increasingly diverse student body.   Having excellent minority faculty means that we are better able to leverage the diversity of background and perspective among all of our faculty colleagues to create that high quality learning environment.  Here are a few examples:

a)     Our faculty collaborate extensively in teaching.  In our teaching meetings, everything from the selection of cases to the pedagogy we use to teach our students is informed by the multiple perspectives of our faculty teams, many of which are racially and culturally diverse.

b)    In the classroom itself, our minority faculty serve as role models, not only for our minority students, but also for our majority students.  Students and typically build strong learning relationships together and when the faculty member is a minority, students are exposed to perspectives that expand their models of who they can learn from.

c)     Our faculty collaborate extensively in conducting cutting-edge research.  Our minority and majority faculty work together to produce new research ideas that contribute to academic scholarship and to our mission of informing practicing managers.  For example, I’m working with a colleague on a new research project explaining what prevents organizations from developing minority and women managers sustainably.

I can’t help but reflect back twelve years ago when I came to Darden from Tuck as the only minority faculty member at Darden. In twelve years since, five more minority faculty have joined our faculty (raising our percentage of minority faculty well above industry averages).  More significant, five of the six minority faculty member at Darden have earned tenure (the sixth is a junior colleague) and all continue to thrive at the institution.  The absolute numbers are impressive; the retention is remarkable.

This success has been achieved for several reasons: 1) the three deans who have led Darden during the past twelve years have consistently supported the hiring of minority faculty; 2) our current dean, Bob Bruner, has overseen the promotion of 4 of the 5 tenured faculty at Darden; 3) the school—faculty, students, and administration—has embraced eagerly the trend toward increased diversity among faculty.  Most important, the environment at Darden is welcoming.

I’m afraid there is likely to be a shortage of minority faculty in top 20 business schools and in international business schools because networks that provide talent to these institutions have not yet been widely opened to U.S. minorities. So one of the most important goals 21st century business schools must achieve is to develop and transform their way of doing business education;  business schools have to be “fluent” in diversity because our global stakeholders—students, recruiters, faculty, alumni, donors—are demanding this of us.  U.S. minority faculty have a critical role to play in helping business schools gain this fluency. Together, members of a culturally diverse faculty can create “laboratories” to help everyone learn how to build processes and organizational cultures that better produce relevant, high quality business education.