BC Executives Focus on Managing in an Environment of Diversity
office for institutional diversity
Four vice presidents, five deans, and ten associate or assistant deans were among the 80 University executives and managers who took part in the Office for Institutional Diversity (OID) Voices of Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Forum on December 4, 2012.
Carroll School of Management Associate Professor Judith Clair, who specializes in organizational behavior and managing identities at work, led off the forum with a talk titled “The Value of Diversity Leadership in American Higher Education.” A panel discussion followed, in which Vice President of Planning and Assessment Kelli Armstrong, Graduate School of Social Work Dean Alberto Godenzi, Center for Work and Family Executive Director Brad Harrington, Associate Professor of History Martin Summers, and Director of Dining Services Helen Wechsler considered concerns supervisors face as they manage and develop Boston College’s multi-racial, multi-ethnic workforce.
Attendees then broke into small groups to discuss their own experiences managing diverse groups of employees, and to identify practical strategies to help them be more effective.
Richard Jefferson, executive director of the Office for Institutional Diversity, said participants shared ideas about improving the work environment such as promoting open discussion of cultural differences. Some other participants also suggested ways in which the University as an institution might better support managers dealing with diversity concerns.
“The session was a wonderful opportunity to step back from the rush of day-to-day operations and to talk about the rich diversity of Boston College’s employees, and the challenges and opportunities that their diversity presents,” commented Leo Sullivan, the University’s vice president for human resources. “The Office for Institutional Diversity’s programs enhance our awareness and strengthen managers’ skills in dealing with workplace realities.”