Earlier this week, Darden’s Senior Associate Dean and Global Chief Diversity Officer Martin Davidson hosted a webinar on diversity and inclusion throughout the community of Darden and the broader community of Charlottesville, VA.
Martin began by explaining the program’s mission to make diversity and inclusion a part of Darden’s DNA, and to empower everyone – students, faculty and staff – to hold each other accountable in attaining this goal. Then, he addressed the school and the community’s reaction to the white supremacy events in August.
The “variety of incredible outcomes” from the August events Martin enumerated include:
- Scrutinizing what we could have done better before and during the events, and how we can make changes in security to make the University an even safer place.
- A heightened focus and energy in making this a more inclusive community, not only at Darden, but at the University and in the community of Charlottesville.
- A surge of brainstorming sessions and discussions on diversity and inclusion in general; recently Darden held “One Darden Week” celebrating our diverse global community through various events, workshops and discussions.
- Providing diversity training for faculty and staff teaching them how to lead more inclusively.
When asked how we may have fallen short in our attempts to be an inclusive community, Martin explained that this happens when we don’t encourage people to stand up and say or do what may be unpopular, in an attempt to keep the community a pleasant and collegial place.
Reflecting on UVA’s history with Thomas Jefferson and its location south of the Mason-Dixon line, Martin proposed that these factors make our engagement in the racial dialogue even stronger and more active. While we might not always get everything right, we are talking and thinking, and this makes our community healthier.
Martin Davidson has been with Darden for over 19 years, and is the first tenured African American professor. Watch the full webinar to hear his powerful message. And read more about diversity and inclusion at Darden.