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Michigan Ross Honors Faculty, Staff, and Students for their Efforts to Advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Michigan Ross Honors Faculty, Staff, and Students for their Efforts to Advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Ross School of Business recently celebrated scholarship and advancement in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the third annual DEI Research and Teaching Awards. 

The event, hosted by the Office of the Dean; the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; and the Business+Impact Initiative, brought together the Michigan Ross community to celebrate the research, teaching, and work that is done to advance the DEI mission of the school.

While recognizing the work of undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty members, this year, the event also honored a staff member committed to DEI work with the inaugural Staff DEI Impact Award. The event also recognized the third recipient of the J. Frank Yakes Diversity and Inclusion Teaching Excellence Award, which is bestowed on a faculty member who demonstrates commitment to diversity and inclusion and has made a significant, positive impact on the growth of students.

The award recipients spoke briefly about their research and projects as part of the ceremony.

Watch the eveNT

The 2023 award winners and their projects are:

DEI BBA Thesis Award

Lauren MacKeigan, BBA ’23  
Senior thesis: “An Equity Analysis on the Collegiate Name, Image, and Likeness Market”

Noting that gender and racial disparity have long played a role in collegiate sports, MacKeigan’s senior thesis examined the name, image, and likeness market to find out if an athlete’s opportunity in the market is impacted by their gender or race. Her findings show that BIPOC athletes have 1.7 times higher compensation expectations and 1.8 times higher opt-out thresholds than white athletes. Additionally, women expect and will opt-out at roughly half the compensation rates as men. Her findings remained consistent when controlling for sport, social media followers, division, degree types, academic standing, and previous NIL involvement. Overall, her thesis provides evidence of race and gender disparity within the NIL market.

DEI BBA Thesis Award

Haojing Han, BBA ’23  
Senior thesis: “Heterogeneity of Entrepreneurship Participation between Asian and White Females”

Han’s senior thesis investigates how race and gender may impact entrepreneurship participation in the United States. After controlling for basic non-race demographic variables, including age, education, and marital status, Han found that there is no significant difference in entrepreneurship participation between Asian and white women. Her findings also suggest that the findings from previous literature that suggest the proportion of Asian women entrepreneurs is higher than white women entrepreneurs is likely due to white men being more likely to be entrepreneurs than Asian men and white women.

DEI Staff Impact Award

Evan Marie Allison Pieknik, associate director, Sanger Leadership Center  
“Cultivating a Community of Belonging”

Allison Pieknik has led DEI efforts at the Sanger Leadership Center in many ways over the years. Since its inception, she has led and directed the Leading Inclusive Teams Program at Sanger, which is a six-week DEI community for graduate students. She works directly with the Sanger faculty director and coaches to update curriculum, share best practices, and share her own personal story as to why DEI work matters. Allison Pieknik also worked across departments to bring the Racial Equity Pledge to the Leading Inclusive Teams Program.  

At the awards ceremony, Allison Pieknik shared her own experience entering the Michigan Ross and Sanger communities and initial fears on whether she would belong. She also presented on the elements of belonging and how to increase belonging in a community. 

Faculty DEI Research Award

Samantha Keppler, assistant professor of technology and operations  
“Little’s Law and Educational Inequality: A Comparative Case Study of Teacher Workaround Productivity”

In her research, Keppler explored an employee workaround that is common in K-12 public schools – compensating for insufficient government funding with supplemental resources from nonprofit organizations. She found that wealthier schools have a higher number of annual partnerships while all schools average the same in terms of partnership cycle time, which problematically exacerbates the differences in supplemental resources. As a result, Keppler recommends that schools prioritize policies surrounding how schools can improve partnering productivity by changing the way they sequence partnerships over time, and partnership formation rate and cycle time policies for districts and NPOs that improve partnering productivity at poorer schools by helping to increase partnership formation rates or cycle times.

PhD DEI Research Award

Susie Choe, PhD  
“‘Aligned, Misaligned, or Maligned?’: How Producers’ Ascribed-Identity Alignment Governs Authenticity Perceptions”

Choe explored how producers’ ascribed identities shape their evaluation in markets, specifically authenticity perceptions. She also investigated how producers can make up for their misaligned identities through production choices. Choe examined Yelp reviews of Japanese restaurants in the Toronto area, as well as conducted a scenario-based online experiment. She found that producers with aligned identities are viewed as more authentic than misaligned producers. For example, Japanese producers are found to be more authentic than non-Japanese producers. Her work demonstrates that market entry, survival, and performance are correlated with identity, and that we are likely to see ethnic and racial stratification across markets and within price segments. All in all, identity-based market entry and competition leads to less diversity in more cultural market segments.

PhD DEI Research Award

Helen (Zihan) Wang, PhD  
“When Harry Won’t Meet Sally: Gender Disparity in Online Learning Platforms”

Wang’s research explored the equitable treatment on online learning platforms and whether there is gender disparity among learners on discussion forums. She noted that while course content is the same for everyone, men are more likely to receive responses to their questions on forums, leading to more favorable outcomes for male participants. As a solution to this disparity, Wang suggests simple operational improvements to improve learners’ experience and narrow the gender gap in learning outcomes. Those recommendations include course providers hiring more female staff and providing training on DEI awareness, and de-gendering displayed names on forum platforms.

J. Frank Yates Diversity and Inclusion Teaching Excellence Award

Lindy Greer, professor of management and organizations  
“Leading Diverse Teams and Organizations”

Greer presented on her Coursera course which helps to equip participants with evidence-based knowledge and practical tools for designing and leading diverse, equitable, inclusive teams and organizations.

Greer shared some background on what inspired this project and how it was developed, starting first by defining diversity, equity, and inclusion, and how to establish a growth mindset. She also presented on the individual DEI skills that she teaches and applies to teams and organizations. Greer concluded with a key message, sharing how a commitment to lifelong growth is crucial to continuing DEI work.