AACSB Appoints Chief Diversity and Inclusion Advocate

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International, a global accrediting body and membership association for business schools, announced on Monday the appointment of Christine Clements as chief diversity and inclusion advocate for the organization.

This new role — the first of its kind at AACSB — will be in addition to her responsibilities as senior vice president of accreditation and membership services.

Lenore Pearlstein and Holly Mendelson, publishers of INSIGHT Into Diversity, met with Linda Livingstone, former AACSB chair and dean of the George Washington University School of Business, in June to discuss ways to increase diversity and inclusion at U.S. business schools. One of the suggestions offered by Pearlstein and Mendelson was to appoint a chief diversity officer for the AACSB.

As an accrediting body and a key resource on industry trends and analyses, AACSB is positioned to help business schools around the world incorporate diversity and inclusion into their commitment to social responsibility and to better develop the next generation of business leaders.

“Diversity serves as a central component to our mission and values, and we are committed to expanding the organization’s leadership role in advancing new concepts, ideas, and mindsets,” said Thomas R. Robinson, president and chief executive officer of AACSB, in a press release. “Clements’ background provides the crucial level of expertise, experience, and knowledge that AACSB needs to carry this important initiative forward — within and outside of the management education sphere.”

Prior to joining the leadership team at AACSB, Clements served as dean of the College of Business and Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater for 14 years, where she co-chaired the Chancellor’s Committee on Inclusive Excellence (IE), increased efforts to retain and graduate multicultural students majoring in business, and instituted the first college-level IE committee dedicated to researching and discussing diversity issues.

“I am proud to collaborate with our member schools as they prepare their students for future success in a complex business environment, participate in dialogue on inclusion, and demonstrate their commitment to supporting the needs of a more diverse student population and workforce,” Clements said in a statement.

In her new role, Clements will oversee and promote business school diversity initiatives and schools’ efforts to adopt and implement best practices, as well as develop training and events focused on diversity and inclusion, among other responsibilities.

In addition, the organization has been called upon by the White House to advance a series of recently formed best practices for business schools, the AACSB announced Wednesday. Developed by the White House and top business school deans, the best practices aim to increase opportunities for women in business and better prepare students for the 21st-century workplace.

For more information about AACSB International, visit aacsb.edu.