Business School Strives for Diversity

After donating $200 to the U chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Business School Dean Jack Brittain addressed the group about diversifying campus Wednesday.

“I’m humbled to be here because we are not doing enough to diversify our school,” he said to the 15 members present. “I wanted to give to [the NAACP] because organizations like this are the strength of the university.”

Brittain grew up on the East Side of San Jose, Calif., and didn’t realize he was growing up in a diverse community until he moved away. When he came to Utah nearly three years ago, he experienced a sort of culture shock.

“The Bay Area is an integrated place, and I was hoping it would be like that here, but it isn’t,” he said.

However, Brittain is involved in different diversity projects both on and off campus. During the summer, he’s a volunteer teacher for a U diversity program. He is also on the board of directors for the Guadalupe School?an elementary school for economically disadvantaged students. He started an opportunity scholarship for a student there to go to the U.

Brittain strongly supports opportunity scholarships because without them he would have been unable to afford college.

“My father was the first in his family to graduate high school, and my mother dropped out of high school in 10th grade, but they had the idea that education would provide opportunities for their children,” he said.

As a leader, he said he hopes to encourage students to go to college because of his academic successes.

“Many kids in the diversity program at the business school have been told their whole lives they couldn’t do it,” he said. “There is no more powerful message than to say ‘I did it.'”

Beyond creating more student diversity, he is working to recruit faculty with different backgrounds. He recently hired two black management professors, Tiffany Galvin, an assistant professor, and Lindy Archambeau, a visiting assistant professor, and Gerardo Okhuysen, a Hispanic management assistant professor.

“I don’t buy it when people say there are no minority candidates, and that there are no qualified minority candidates?there are, and we have them,” he said.

However, he feels the number of minority tenured faculty at the U in general is “pathetic,” and hopes that will soon change.

“Right now we’re taking the first steps, we’re not at the finish line yet,” he said.

After Brittain spoke, the NAACP, which is in its first year at the U, elected new officers for the upcoming academic year. Lisa Ezell, the current president and a senior in management, will retain her position. Running uncontested, next year’s officers are students Chris Martin, vice president; Conrad Heward, treasurer; and Iris Johnson, secretary.

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