Efforts in progress at Leeds

Recent acts of senseless violence against Black communities and the horrific death of George Floyd have left a deep imprint on many of us at the Leeds School of Business. We acknowledge the historic nature of oppression and violence against Black Americans and recognize our role as educators in shaping the thoughts and actions of future generations of leaders. To that end, we recognize that embracing the value of inclusion is not enough – together we must stand resolutely against racism in all its forms.


    Leeds is committed to being more active against racism and its underlying causes, and increasing our efforts around issues of equity, inclusion and safety. Leeds’ Dean Sharon Matusik reflects on the brutal killing of George Floyd, racism and oppression, and working harder to deepen our conversations around these issues in “A Message of Solidarity and Commitment to a Better Future.”

    We are also committed to actively gathering insights from our many stakeholders – from our students to our faculty/staff and business community – on how Leeds can pro-actively shape a better future.  The efforts Leeds is currently engaged in to reaffirm our commitment to addressing and confronting racism are listed below and will continue to grow with your help and insights.

      Programmatic Efforts

      In an effort to address systemic racism, Leeds is committed to providing academic outreach that increases knowledge and interest in business education for underrepresented students of color. Leeds has established scholarships at the undergraduate and graduate levels for first generation, low income and underrepresented students. 

      By partnering with community and business organizations that support diversity and inclusion, Leeds has been able to fund programs that demystify college, increase students’ sense of belonging, improve readiness for college and develop strong relationships with peers, faculty and staff. While we have a rich history of efforts that support diversity and inclusion, we still have much to do.

      The Office of Diversity Affairs (ODA) maintains a focus on underrepresented undergraduate experiences and is dedicated to fostering and maintaining partnerships with alumni and businesses through outreach efforts and programs.

      ODA and the Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility host an annual Diversity & Business Ethics Case Competition, which brings Colorado undergraduate business students together to gain real-world experience competing with other diverse talent in a case challenge focused on diversity and ethics in a business setting.

      Leeds’ Diverse Scholars Program provides diverse students with supplemental academic advising, peer mentoring, professional networking and access to community-centric events that foster individual growth and strong relationship building.

      Leeds also offers several programs for high school students that are designed for underrepresented high school students who want to start exploring possible career paths and while gaining key leadership, collaboration and communication skills.

      Leeds’ Graduate Programs has recently organized a student workshop on allyship and bystander training, a staff workshop on unconscious bias and inclusive practices and a faculty workshop on inclusive pedagogy.

      The CU Real Estate Center, in partnership with the Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility, and the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship hosted a diverse panel of real estate experts in a focused discussion on social equity, real estate development and the role of the private sector.



        Research on Racism

        Leeds’ world-class faculty are also doing important research on race, diversity, and inclusion, and the implications of these issues for business and society.

          Leeds Associate Professor Stephen Billings co-authored research that finds that minority and male students attending stricter middle schools are more likely to end up incarcerated later in life.

          Stephen Billings also co-authored a study, along with Associate Professor Emily Gallagher and Lowell Ricketts of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, that found massive inequalities in disaster relief between wealthy and lower-income residents. 

          In addition, a new paper also co-authored by Billings and featured in the Washington Post, indicates that a school’s racial composition could shape your future political identity through friendships, role models, instruction, discipline, and extracurricular activities.

          David Hekman, along with Leeds researchers: Associate Professor Stefanie K. Johnson, Professor Russell Cropanzano, PhD alumna Elsa Chan and PhD candidate Jessica Kirk, examined the ways executive pay leads to racial and gender bias

          Stefanie K. Johnson, David Hekman and Elsa Chan collaborated on a series of three studies aimed at uncovering what unconscious biases impacted diverse candidates’ chances of being hired for a variety of jobs.


          Stefanie K. Johnson’s new book, Inclusify: How to Maximize Uniqueness and Belonging to Build More Innovative Teams, focuses on helping leaders create diverse teams feel engaged, empowered, accepted and valued.

          Campus-Wide Efforts

          CU Boulder offers many resources for support, activism, and education, including: