For years, Associate Professor of Legal Studies Leora Eisenstadt has had a vision for how Temple University could implement academic research on equity and inclusion.
Her work focuses on the legal side of workplace discrimination, and although these topics were taught to some business students, it was a just a fraction of all the graduates who would go on to influence workplace culture and safety, she thought.
When the #MeToo movement — first established by activist Tarana Burke and made more widely known following Harvey Weinstein’s sexual abuse charges in 2017 — began gaining traction, Eisenstadt realized how often companies were ignoring cases of discrimination, harassment and retaliation. She began working on a proposal for resources dedicated to these issues within Fox School of Business, and this month, the school established the Center for Ethics, Diversity and Workplace Culture.
The Center is a home for research, programming, conferences and projects relating to innovation that focuses on diversity, ethical decision making and the creation of healthy workplace cultures. Eisenstadt will oversee the Center, as the Fox school announced last week.
“Law schools teach these topics and lawyers get called in a crisis, but Fox students are the ones who are the future workplace managers,” Eisenstadt told Technical.ly. “They are responsible for workplace culture, and we’re better off if we’re teaching these students earlier.”
While the Center is housed in Fox, students and faculty from across the university are encouraged to participate in its roster of events, speaker series and programs. Those who get involved are intended to understand the value of ethical and inclusive workplaces and consider diversity from all perspectives, including race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability and more. The Center’s first event had about 150 attendees from a variety of schools and majors, according to Eisenstadt.
“By engaging with one another in an empathic way, we are better positioned to face systemic racism and discrimination of all kinds, to make ethical decisions, and to create a culture that empowers the members of our community to grow and thrive in their careers,” said Ronald Anderson, dean of Fox and the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management, in a statement.
Also involved in the Center is a board of advisors, made up of 14 senior execs from multinational corporations. That includes Juan Otero, SVP of diversity, equity and inclusion at Comcast; Kenneth Bouyer, Americas director of inclusiveness recruiting at EY; Jen Warne, EVP and chief people officer at Lincoln Financial Group; and Ben Hasan, SVP and chief culture diversity and inclusion officer at Walmart.
These advisors will help to set the agenda for research and inform on what students should know before they enter the workforce. They’ll also be present at events and speaker series, as well as fundraising for the center itself. The Center’s website has already posted two upcoming events for November on Nov. 8 and Nov. 11 focusing on #MeToo and sexual harassment and building basic competency for DEI, respectively.
“It is so exciting. It feels like a long time coming, but also the perfect moment where everything is coalescing,” Eisenstadt said of getting the Center up and running. “Students have been so receptive to these kinds of programs and education being infused into their business school lives. I’m so pleased. It just feels it should be an integral part of a business school’s eduction.”-30-