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ECHO: Engaged, Courageous, Humble, Open

Creating a climate for greater equity, diversity and inclusion at UCLA Anderson

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One of the core principles of UCLA Anderson’s strategic plan is our goal to become more diverse and inclusive. Over the next few months, our Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, under the leadership of Assistant Dean Heather Caruso, will launch a new initiative to further these essential goals. Consider what follows a preview, a trailer if you will, of what’s to come.
— Dean Al Osborne

At UCLA Anderson, our people are our most valuable assets, in large part because of the boundless and ever-changing diversity of human experiences we make available to one another. This diversity is simply unparalleled as a source of information and inspiration, and we are committed to creating a climate that presents those benefits to every member of our community.

We won't pretend this will be easy.

While the potential benefits of diversity are undeniable — and supported by research that includes the scholarship of our own faculty — we must not downplay its inevitable challenges. Indeed, its challenges are what bring about so many of its benefits! As we seek to spark innovation, revise outmoded procedures and engage new audiences, we know that we will have to confront gaps and inaccuracies in the status quo, and even in the views we individually express to one another. This may be tough to take, but it will be worth the effort.

We proudly strengthen ourselves through both challenge and affirmation.

Like a good physical workout, difficult conversations represent opportunities to build strength. We proudly embrace them as tools with which we can develop robust understanding of one another, and of the organizational demands we face together. With all the humility and openness this naturally requires, we look forward to discovering not only the differences between us, but also the inevitably rich histories and contexts in which our differences have come to be.

Heather Caruso, Assistant Dean, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Alongside this, we recognize that affirmation is also a valuable tool for developing understanding. Not only is it vital in preventing us from living under constant or excessive stress, exploring shared views can help us to better pinpoint and articulate otherwise neglected features of our experience. This is why, whether informally or through our thriving identity clubs, we support all Anderson communities in celebrating their shared values, appreciating their shared histories, honoring their cherished traditions and embracing their shared identities with dignity.

Engaged, Courageous, Humble and Open: ECHO in the Anderson Community

Inclusivity aligns well with our core values, but it arises less from merely knowing what the values are than from knowing how we can make them felt in our everyday interactions. Going forward, we offer four suggestions — a call to be Engaged, Courageous, Humble and Open — that can guide the Anderson community toward the inclusive climate we all deserve.

  • Be engaged with one another, even when we do not agree.
  • Be courageous in learning about views that sit outside of our comfort zones.
  • Be humble in acknowledging the vast complexity of our diverse identities.
  • Be open in expressing our authentic selves to one another.

In the coming months, the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion will draw attention to the many ways members of our community can — and have already started to — ECHO one another each day, enabling us all to become both more intentional and more skillful in strengthening our inclusive climate going forward.

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