Understanding Disability as Diversity

Eunyoung Kim, Ph.D., associate professor in the College of Education and Human Services at Seton Hall University, and Katherine C. Aquino, Ph.D., graduate of the Higher Education Leadership, Management and Policy Ph.D. program in the College, have collaborated on Disability as Diversity in Higher Education: Policies and Practices to Enhance Student Success, published by Routledge.

By framing disability not as an impairment, but rather an important dimension of diversity and identity on college campuses, Disability as Diversity proposes new perspectives, empirical research and case studies to provide the necessary foundation for understanding the role of disability within the campus climate. The book provides insight into how higher education institutions can use policies and practices to enhance inclusion and student success for students with disabilities.

“The overarching theme of this book is to include disability as part of diversity beyond race, gender, and class that have been center stage in the diversity debate to a greater extent, disability to a lesser extent,” said Kim.

Kim noted that once students with disabilities enroll in post-secondary education, they get frustrated with a lack of services, and being overlooked and marginalized. As the number of students with disabilities on college campuses increases, it is imperative to provide them with the means to thrive.

“Disability is often not automatically understood as a component of student diversity. My biggest hope for this book is to increase the conversation on student disability within the college environment. It is our aim to allow for all members of the institutional community – faculty members, administrators, students with and without disabilities, and the family members of those students -to increase their comfort level on the role, and importance, of students with disabilities in post-secondary education,” said Aquino.

Kim and Aquino developed the book concept in the spring of 2014. Equipped with a completed prospectus, they invited colleagues who research disability in higher education to share submissions to be considered for inclusion in the volume. Their idea came about through a desire to include the voices of renowned and emerging scholars who have been engaged in disability research. As editors, they also wrote a chapter in collaboration with Taghreed Alhaddab, Ph.D., graduate of the Higher Education Leadership, Management and Policy Ph.D. program, titled, “Does Disability Matter?: Students’ Satisfaction with College Experiences.”

“We were fortunate to have a deluge of chapter submissions. From the large pool of potential contributors, we were able to be conscious of the message and flow of the text. We are honored to have had such wonderful contributing authors – they are all making incredible strides to increase research and awareness of this topic in the field. It was truly a privilege to work with them,” shared Aquino.

Reviews have been positive, highlighting the significance this volume of work adds to the field of higher education.

“This book explores the experiences of students with disabilities and makes valuable suggestions for how to improve the education and success of such students. Disability as Diversity in Higher Education is an essential book for faculty, administrators, and students to help combat one of the least recognized but most prevalent forms of discrimination at institutions that pride themselves on their diversity programs,” said Lennard Davis, Distinguished Professor of English in the School of Arts and Professor of Medical Education in the College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago.

Kim currently serves as the program director for the Higher Education Leadership, Management and Policy graduate programs. Her research interests include college student development, minority students’ college access and success, diversity and equity in higher education, sociology of education and international education. Kim’s research focuses on the intersection of social and cultural capital in college aspirations and pursuits and identity formation among underrepresented and marginalized students.

“It has been a distinctive pleasure and rewarding experience to collaborate with graduate students and see them grow as an independent and contributing scholar. Furthermore, very few newly minted doctors have books on their vita. So, it is a notable accomplishment for Katherine and I am very proud of what she has accomplished,” said Kim.

To learn more about Disability as Diversity in Higher Education: Policies and Practices to Enhance Student Success, visit Routledge.com.

Strategies for Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in the Mortgage Industry: CFPB Report

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has released a report outlining a number of strategies for promoting diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the mortgage industry, presenting the business case for diversity, and providing current D&I approaches and practices used by mortgage industry participants.

D&I has been a foundational principle of the CFPB since the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.  Specifically, Section 342 of the Act created Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) at all federal financial regulatory agencies, including the CFPB. OMWIs are responsible for promoting diversity and inclusion in employment and procurement practices at their own agencies, and within the financial entities they regulate.  Pursuant to that mission, the April 27 report came out of a roundtable meeting from CFPB’s OMWI which included representatives from larger and smaller banks, nonbank financial companies, and federal agencies.

The report first highlights the notion that a diverse and inclusive workforce is important to help mortgage industry participants attract and retain the talent and perspective necessary to solve complex issues, create innovative solutions, and improve business outcomes.

Next, the report shares strategies and best practices for creating a D&I program, including:

  • Sustaining a D&I program requires “buy-in” and accountability from leadership. A top-down approach reduces organizational resistance and causes employees to more likely understand the company’s position and be an active participant in D&I efforts. In addition, proper accountability creates a focus that directs D&I efforts to the goals set by management and enhances the organization’s likelihood of achieving its goals.
  • The need to clearly define “diversity and inclusion” so that both employees and consumers can more clearly understand the broad nature of D&I programs and be able to see themselves included in such definitions.
  • The need to make the business case for diversity, which includes diversifying workforces and employee bases in order to more effectively meet the needs of diverse consumers, as well as capitalize on a robust and diverse talent pool. More specifically, the report notes that when the diversity of the workforce is aligned with the demographics of targeted consumers, there is a greater likelihood of increasing business opportunities.
  • The importance of data as data collection and analysis play an integral role in supporting many D&I programs. In fact, the report explains that understanding the demographics of an organization’s workforce is key to ensuring that it reflects the available talent pools as well as customer bases.

In addition to the CFBP OMWI, the Bureau plans to work with the other OMWIs to host additional roundtables that will expand upon the business case for diversity and inclusion. The report concludes by encouraging entities to develop a D&I program that best fit their needs.

Biotech Company Boardroom Diversity Has a Long Way to Go: Liftstream


A study of 177 biotechnology companies which publicly listed between 2012-2015 shows that women participate on biotech company boards at a current level of 10.9 percent, and to reach gender parity would take 40 years. In 2016, a total 57.2 percent of companies in the study have at least one woman board director, representing an increase over previous studies of the biotech sector, the report notes. Liftstream, the executive search firm who compiled the report, analyzed the gender diversity in the boardrooms of the companies to assess how they take advantage of going public to reconstitute their boards and introduce greater levels of gender diversity.

“This new study of the gender diversity on biotech company boards provides multi-year data on the sector’s progress and brings forward new insights. Our discovery of the link between the corporate governance structure and more diverse boards is an important finding, as is the evidence linking diverse boards to better financial returns.” said Karl Simpson, CEO of Liftstream. “It also illustrates the cultural transformation required in many biotech boardrooms to bring about a fully diverse and inclusive board. After all, it is the board which sets the cultural tone and standards for the entire company.”

Abbie Celniker, Partner at Third Rock Ventures said: “This study by Liftstream confirms the gender diversity problem and highlights the need for active and intentionally disruptive approaches for appointing directors to biotech boards. Venture capital firms and company directors must plan more effectively to increase their opportunity for recruiting directors from outside their customary networks when meeting the changing needs of the company.”

Liftstream collected data from the securities and exchange commission S-1 filings and proxy statements (Form DEF 14A) issued between 2012 and 2016 for 177 public biotech companies listed in theUnited States. The study looks at a cumulative peak of 1297 company directors, including executive, non-executive and VC directors. The report, A Public Reality for Women in Biotech Boardrooms, tracks the number of directors who leave the company’s boards, and those who are newly appointed, providing insight to the boards’ behaviors when appointing directors post-IPO. The results from the analysis is published in a 41-page report.

Wende Hutton, General Partner at Canaan Partners commented: “The Liftstream report shines yet another light on the critical business case for diverse boards in biotech. With these well-researched financial and performance benefits, our industry has no excuse for continuing to lag on gender diversity in biotech boardrooms. We must embrace recruiting women from the entire C-Suite – and not just from the pool of CEOs, of which only 7% are women. I’ve worked with tremendously talented CMOs, Heads of R&D, Heads of Business Development and CFOs in my career. In order to make a change now, that’s where we need to look to recruit diverse boards and improve bottom lines.”

Key findings from the study are:

·                                 Women added to many company boards after IPO but companies have not sustained their board diversity.

·                                 Women chair the board of directors in less than 2% of companies.

·                                 Less than 8% of companies were found to have a woman CEO.

·                                 Company boards have just 4% of women VCs as directors.

·                                 Cumulatively women occupied 10.9% of board positions in 2016.

·                                 The number of company boards with a woman director increased to 57.2%.

·                                 Companies with separate Chairperson and CEO have more diverse boards.

·                                 Men are appointed to boards at twice the rate of women.

·                                 VC directors replaced by non-executive directors improved board diversity.

·                                 Post-IPO share performance of diverse boards shows a 28 percent net gain over companies with all-male boards.

·                                 To reach 30% participation of women on boards would take 20 years, and parity 40 years.

Karl Simpson commented: “I am exceptionally proud that Liftstream has been able to lead on the issue of board diversity in the biotech sector over the past few years. Our view that diverse company boards are better business and offer greater economic potential is supported by this new research. As we continue to engage leaders from across the life science sector on board diversity, this new data will be important evidence to focus that discussion. More importantly, we hope it further highlights the incentives for gender diversity, thereby encouraging industry stakeholders to take the required action towards finding interventional solutions capable of accelerating the pace of change towards equality.”

The study, A Public Reality for Women in Biotech Boardrooms, can be downloaded free at http://www.liftstream.com/women_biotech_boardrooms.html

About Liftstream

Liftstream is an executive search recruitment practice focused exclusively on board and executive appointments in the global life sciences sector. Since 2003, Liftstream has been strengthening company boards, executive teams and functional management across international bioscience clusters, improving the leadership and governance standards of its clients. Liftstream is committed to equal opportunities, diversity, and inclusion. For more information about Liftstream, www.liftstream.com.

Diversity Day: Recognizing New Canadian Talent: CPA Ontario

The Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario has announced Diversity Day: Recognizing New Canadian Talent, a new annual initiative aimed at highlighting the value and importance of internationally trained professionals to Ontario’s economic prosperity.

The initiative comes as Canada steps up efforts to recruit top global talent and the recent federal budget focuses on building the “most skilled, talented, creative and diverse workforce in the world.” International professionals are not only critical to growing the economy, particularly as baby boomers get set to retire, but they are a bridge to new markets and new ways of innovating in a fast-changing global landscape.

Our diversity is not only something to be proud of, but arguably our greatest competitive advantage. Internationally trained professionals bring valuable skills and global experience, which are crucial for enhancing competitiveness and building an innovative economy,” explained Carol Wilding, FCPA, FCA, President and CEO of CPA Ontario. “Given current global uncertainty, more immigrants are looking to Canada as a place to settle and build their careers, and we have a unique opportunity to attract even more of the world’s top talent. At CPA Ontario, we see the success of newcomers to Ontario as our success, which is why we have decided to launch Diversity Day: Recognizing New Canadian Talent.”

In the case of CPA Ontario, internationally trained professionals now make up approximately 20 per cent of the organization’s 19,000-strong student body, representing a rich source of talent for Ontario companies. Yet, while new Canadians are expected to make up approximately 30 per cent of the population in the coming decades, research by Statistics Canada and others consistently shows they remain underemployed and their skills not fully utilized. A key objective of Diversity Day is to raise awareness around the need to better leverage the skills of new Canadians.

For more information about CPA Ontario and Diversity Day: Recognizing New Canadian Talent, please click here.

About the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario

CPA Ontario protects the public interest by ensuring its members meet the highest standards of integrity and expertise. CPA Ontario serves and supports its more than 87,000 members and 19,000 students in their qualification and professional development in a wide range of senior positions in public accounting, business, finance, government, not-for-profits and academe. Chartered Professional Accountants are valued by organizations of all types and sizes for their financial expertise, strategic thinking, business insight, management skills and leadership. For information on the profession, visit cpaontario.ca.

BPS publishes Declaration on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

The British Psychological Society (BPS) has published a declaration of its commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion, a document that is intended to guide them in all that they do and actively promote this culture within its discipline.

The Society will now develop a plan to deliver the objectives of the declaration, which will be embedded at all levels within the organization, and will regularly reflect on and review progress of this endeavour.

President Elect Nicola Gale commented, “Promoting equality, diversity and inclusion is central to our work as psychologists, whether we are generating and promulgating scientific knowledge, working in professional practice and advocating for top quality services, in education and training, or indeed in the course of our work with policy makers and the wider public. I am committed to working with colleagues to foster this in all that we do.”

The full declaration can be viewed at: Declaration on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

9th Annual Viola Desmond Day Awards

Ryerson University has honoured the extraordinary achievements of Black women from the campus and in the community at the 9th Annual Viola Desmond Day Awards Ceremony. This year’s recipients were: Siifan Hassen (Viola Desmond High School Student Award and Bursary); Dr. Annette Bailey (Senator Wanda Thomas-Bernard Faculty Award); Donica Willis (Rosemary Sadlier Ryerson Staff Award); and Devanae Bryce (Paulette Senior Ryerson Student Award).  The event is organized by Ryerson University’s Black History Awareness Committee.


The Social Café

This initiative of the Opening Doors Project provides for relevant and constructive discussions around mental health, diversity and discrimination. Past activities have included the painting of sneakers that were exhibited throughout Toronto to promote the creation of inclusive spaces, as well as, discussions around the complexities, limitations and possibilities of inclusion.


Get to Know Your Veterans

Veterans Affairs Canada has launched a new section on its website that will encourage veterans to submit their stories and help Canadians get an in-depth perspective into the diversity that has become the foundation of the Canadian Armed Forces today.

This new section, Get to Know Your Veterans, is an online space to showcase the diverse cultures, religions, genders, and ethnicities of Canadian veterans. Throughout each year, Veterans Affairs Canada will profile an array of veterans’ stories from different backgrounds and experiences on its official website and social media channels. Veterans, especially those from modern day conflicts, are encouraged to come forward with their stories and help Canadians get to know them and what they were able to achieve in the name of their country.

“At Veterans Affairs Canada, and the Government of Canada, we believe that diversity is one of Canada‘s greatest strengths,” said Kent Hehr, minister of Veterans Affairs. Canada‘s military history is best told through the stories of those diverse men and women who served in it. This new online initiative is meant to help as many Canadians as possible celebrate their contributions as part of our military history.”

Canadian Armed Forces numbers show that there has been an increase in the percentage of visible minorities enrolling in the CAF. In 2004, the percentage was 2.3, and 12 years later, it is 9.7 over the first three quarters of fiscal year 2016/17.

SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada


Zeïneb Mellouli

One of the bright lights in the diversity realm in 2016 was Zeïneb Mellouli, a lawyer with the Montreal law firm Lavery. She won a Lexpert Zenith Award from Lexpert Magazine for advancing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession such as serving on the Young Bar Association of Montreal’s board of directors and working with the Barreau du Québec to create a group to promote diversity and the inclusion among ethno-cultural members of major law firms.

Top 6 tips for getting more women on boards

According to Anita Rai, an employment law partner with Taylor Vinter, there should be no glass ceiling for talent, whether male or female, and there are practical steps businesses can take to promote such diversity. Here they are:

  • grow and maintain an executive pipeline of female talent for core board posts by having aspirational and measurable targets for women at all levels, removing any barriers to their promotion and making real efforts to bridge any gender pay gap
  • review equality and diversity policies and ensure awareness is raised on all levels (although the Davies report has focused on board diversity, gender equality should filter throughout the workforce)
  • review family-friendly policies to ensure it is as easy as possible for women to remain in the workforce (hopefully the introduction of shared parental leave will encourage more men to share the responsibility of raising children, thereby enabling women to remain in the labour market and naturally progress up the career ladder)
  • provide mentors for women before and after taking time off for childcare, accommodate flexible working arrangements where possible, and allow more remote working
  • raise the external profile of the company as an employer that embraces diversity at all levels, including board level, increasing the likelihood of women gravitating towards the organisation
  • review recruitment practices to ensure any discriminatory criteria are removed and consider guaranteed interviews for under-represented groups.

SOURCE: HR-inform