Over the past year, increased conversations about race in America have propelled many institutions to reassess diversity and inclusion on their campuses, particularly as they relate to the student population. At the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, administrators also received numerous communications from alumni requesting an increased response to these issues.
“As a school that develops business leaders of the world, it was apparent to us that we needed to step up and provide tools and resources to members of our alumni community who were trying to address these topics in their personal and professional lives,” said Annie White, Senior Director of Alumni Relations at Booth. “We wanted to amplify programming coming out across the University and do something specifically for business alumni.”’
Booth launched a robust programming series in Autumn Quarter 2020. The D&I Dialogues series was designed to allow Booth alumni to come together and discuss various aspects of diversity in work and in life. Featuring guest speakers from a variety of backgrounds, the sessions explore diversity and inclusion-related topics. A gift from the full-time Class of 2020 sponsored a multi-session “Managing Bias in the Workplace” series during the Spring Quarter. Additional topics have included social justice and equity, the business case for diversity, and exploring the gap between dominant culture (“fit”) and a culture of inclusion.
A primary goal of the D&I Dialogues series is to offer unique content that’s relevant to Booth alumni.
“Our alumni constantly ask for tangible, tactical things that they can take back and execute at their own organizations,” said Caroline Oates, Alumni Relations Associate at Booth. “We hosted several events that provided high-level overviews of diversity and inclusion during the Autumn Quarter, which were well received. That helped us transition into offering very targeted programming focused on strategic implementation.”
To date, Booth has offered 25 D&I Dialogues sessions since the start of last year’s Autumn Quarter. Participants come from a wide range of backgrounds and include recent graduates and retirees. Attendance varies by session, with some events generating up to 200 registrants. In addition to offering several live sessions each quarter, recordings of each event are posted on YouTube.
The D&I Dialogues series will offer several events during the Summer Quarter. For more information, visit the D&I Dialogues website.