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K-State Today

April 20, 2022

College of Business DEIB efforts win university honor

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

For its strategic plan and programs for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, or DEIB, the College of Business is the recipient of this year's Kansas State University Outstanding Department or Unit Award for Enhancing Diversity.

The award, established in 2003, recognizes exceptional efforts undertaken by a unit or department to enhance diversity at K-State.

Nominated by Kevin Gwinner, Edgerley family dean of the college, the college's Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Strategic Plan was developed by a steering committee chaired by Olivia Law-DelRosso, assistant dean for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

"I am excited for the College of Business to be recognized by the university for this important DEIB work," Gwinner said. "We strive to be both an employer of choice for our faculty and staff as well as a college of choice for our students. This award recognizes the hard work that our people put in every day to help achieve that goal."

Under the plan, the college launched several practices to enhance and strengthen DEIB collegewide:

• Inclusive recruitment of students. The college's Business Ambassadors were trained to be inclusive in their interactions with prospective students and knowledgeable about the college's DEIB programs. The college developed bilingual recruitment materials and hired a bilingual recruiter — both English/Spanish. The college also created a recruitment video for prospective students from underrepresented groups.

• DEIB professional development. These efforts include offering an inclusion summit, diversity and inclusion lectures and other initiatives throughout the year to raise awareness, encourage collaboration, community, discussion and learning among faculty, staff and students to grow the college's ability to foster equitable and inclusive cultures in the classroom, advising, mentoring, etc. Tracking DEIB professional development was also added to the annual review process of faculty and staff.

• Inclusive faculty/staff recruiting. The college developed and implemented just-in-time unconscious bias and inclusive interviewing training for search committees.

Along with strengthening DEIB practices, Gwinner said the college is particularly proud of three DEIB programs and initiatives it created during the current academic year:

• The Rise Up Program is a leadership program for high-potential K-State business students who identify with a systemically marginalized and underrepresented group. The four-year program offers world-class leadership development, industry mentors, community, scholarship support and exclusive course sections.

"Rise Up is a unique social justice-oriented program that intentionally recognizes the scholars' distinctive identities to help them thrive in business school and into their career," Law-DelRosso said.

• The Women in Business initiative was created to foster a network of innovation and collaboration through academic and co-curricular learning opportunities. It also supports business research to advance women in the workplace. Its goals include increasing enrollment of women in the college and engaging current and future K-State students with alumni and corporate partners to offer mentoring, networking and learning opportunities with targeted scholarship support. The initiative also included the inaugural Women in Business Career Summit in October.

• The new diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in business undergraduate certificate program was launched in the spring. It is open to all K-State students to help them build skills to work effectively and build belonging among a diverse workforce. The goal of this certificate is to educate and empower students to become inclusive leaders and agents for change in their organizations.

"We are thrilled to be recognized with this award," Law-DelRosso said. "The DEIB strategic efforts in the College of Business are truly collaborative. There are student interns, faculty, and staff throughout the college who are passionate about building belonging and improving representation among our students and workforce. Like any organization, we are on a DEIB journey and are committed to continuing striving for growth."

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