Haas publishes Diversity, Equity,and Inclusion Action Plan


Berkeley Haas leaders delivered a sweeping action plan this fall that provides concrete ways to bolster enrollment of underrepresented minorities at Haas and to develop a more inclusive environment schoolwide.

The report, called The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan, was created with the support of the Haas community and is a direct response to a disappointing decline in the number of African-American students enrolled in the Full-time Berkeley MBA Program for the last two years–a dip that occurred despite this being the largest class size in the school’s history.

Interim Dean Laura Tyson called for the action plan, which focuses on three areas: rebuilding trust with underrepresented minority (URM) students and alumni and with allies; making Haas a community that African-American and all URM students want to join; and increasing outreach to and yield of URM students at Haas. She charged a leadership team headed up by Courtney Chandler, Haas’ chief strategy and operating officer, and Jay Stowsky, senior assistant dean for instruction, with crafting the plan. The team met with students, alumni, faculty, and staff before presenting action items.

Haas’ leaders are working to implement the strategy to improve diversity and inclusion across all programs, faculty, and staff in the short and long term. Incoming Dean Ann Harrison, who begins her term in January, is also committed to a successful outcome.

Recommendations in the plan include:

  • Hiring a director of diversity admissions, who will focus on expanding opportunity for all historically underrepresented communities.
  • Increasing scholarship funding to URM students and adopting a “first-offer-best-offer” approach to financial aid.
  • Hiring a chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer who will report directly to the dean and focus on executing the plan.
  • Changing MBA admissions criteria to consider an applicant’s skill set and experience in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Establishing a Diversity Admissions Council, which will include staff, faculty, students, and alumni, and hiring up to two second-year FTMBA students to serve on the FTMBA Admissions Committee.
  • Evolving staff hiring policies and practices by adding explicit language in job postings to address diversity needs.

The plan acknowledges the many students and alumni who have worked to make change at Haas around diversity, equity, and inclusion. That group includes the student-led Race Inclusion Initiative, which launched in 2016 and delivered a detailed list of action items related to diversity and inclusion at Haas last spring; the Haas Alumni Diversity Council, which consists of alumni and diversity leaders from the three MBA programs; and student leaders from the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, the Black Business Student Association, and the Latinx Business Club.

Monica Stevens, MBA 96, who founded the Alumni Diversity Council in 2012, called the decline in the school’s diversity numbers upsetting and unacceptable, but said the plan is a “more defined way to move forward.”

“We need to build the infrastructure for future success, but we also have a patient in the ER who needs immediate attention, and it’s important to act quickly,” says Stevens, who called for “true accountability” from the leadership team and “measurable outcomes.”

“Creating this plan is just the beginning,” Chandler says. “We still have a lot of work ahead of us and we encourage everyone to commit to this journey. We need to live up to our own Defining Leadership Principles to make Haas an even better, more diverse business school.”