2019 Emerging Leaders of Color participants on a tour of the Carlson School.

Building a Diverse, Inclusive Community

Friday, October 8, 2021

Donor-supported Dean’s Excellence Fund addressing emerging needs and priorities.


 

In the summer of 2020, with the eyes of the nation trained on the streets just outside our doors, Dean Sri Zaheer reaffirmed Carlson School’s commitment to foster a diverse, inclusive community and learning environment, in which all individuals can thrive. In service of this commitment, she announced the formation of the Dean’s Advisory Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), and a $15 million campaign to support the school’s comprehensive plan to address racial justice and inclusivity within the Carlson School.

Zaheer is using the donor-supported Dean’s Excellence Fund to address emerging needs and pressing priorities related to DEI efforts. Under her direction, the funds are making an immediate impact on two existing programs—Emerging Leaders of Color and Carlson THRIVE—that prepare traditionally underrepresented students to apply to business school, and to support the unique needs they might encounter when studying at the Carlson School.

“Persistent injustices affect everything that we do,” says Zaheer. “Our mission to develop human potential cannot be achieved unless people of all identities have equal opportunities to succeed. The commitment and trust from generous benefactors to support the Dean’s Excellence Fund allowed me to advance these successful, impactful programs so they continue to grow.”

Emerging Leaders of Color is a unique opportunity for cohorts of underrepresented high school students from across Minnesota to experience and learn about business at the Carlson School. Selected students, who apply for the program, meet one Saturday a month for eight months. They are exposed to business programs, faculty, and career options. Nearly 100 students have participated in the first two years, with several enrolling at the Carlson School and other U of M colleges.

“Our mission to develop human potential cannot be achieved unless people of all identities have equal opportunities to succeed.”

Dean Sri Zaheer headshot in grey suit
– Dean Sri Zaheer

Carlson THRIVE provides students who are first-generation and from underrepresented groups with resources and support while at the Carlson School. Students receive help to navigate educational and career choices, connect with mentors and resources to be successful, and access to a cohort of peers to encourage each other.

“With support from donors to the Dean’s Excellence Fund, these programs are able to meet the needs of our students of color,” says Nora Anderson, co-chair of the Dean’s Advisory Committee on DEI, and executive director, Executive Education at the Carlson School. “We are not only welcoming them, but demonstrating that inclusivity is a priority for our community. A diverse student body enhances the learning environment for all and produces graduates who are better equipped to succeed in a multicultural, global workforce.”

To learn more about the school’s DEI efforts, visit z.umn.edu/ DEIatCarlson.

“A diverse student body enhances the learning environment for all, and produces graduates who are better equipped to succeed in a multicultural, global workforce.”

Nora Anderson
– Nora Anderson
Fall 2021 alumni magazine cover

This article appeared in the Fall 2021 alumni magazine

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