As conversations around diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging permeate every corner of the professional working world, the Raymond A. Mason School of Business is ensuring its students are equipped with the requisite vocabulary through a batch of new, free resources offered through the McLeod Library.
The Mason School’s Diversity Equity Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) LibGuide is based off a similar aggregation of content produced by the University of Kansas and was originally created for the first-year full-time MBA students for their fall Sprint Week.
“We used a guide developed by librarians at KU and adapted it to William & Mary’s audience to include some unique work within it like business-focused podcasts on DEIB topics. We added content specific to William & Mary faculty and we really worked on incorporating cases that feature diverse characters. We’ve curated a number of books and other content both from William & Mary’s libraries and openly available content on the web, and this aggregation will help students and faculty both develop a vocabulary related to these topics,” said Anna Milholland, Business Librarian at the Mason School.
The practice of using LibGuides is not new to the business school or to William & Mary as a whole, but as demand increases by employers for their new hires to already possess an awareness and understanding about DEIB topics, Milholland and her team thought a consolidation of resources into a living guide was the best approach.
“This process is iterative,” said Milholland. “We’re respectful of the work that was done previously but we’re also modifying it to suit our audience. The guide is living and it is not going to be a static list of resources. It will change over time.”
Resource-Sharing Across Academia
Colleges and universities are known for the collaboration that takes place among students, faculty, researchers, and staff to advance the science of knowledge. But it’s not widely recognized that collaboration and resource-sharing is a common practice between institutions, specifically among librarians and collegiate libraries.
“Information access and sharing is at the heart of what we do. Librarians tend to be very motivated by what our colleagues are doing at other institutions and we are willing to share what we have, and are okay with someone using and readapting our work. Of course, we take into consideration ethical practices as we build out a resource like the DEIB LibGuide, so we reach out to colleagues to ask if we can reuse, cite, and build upon their work. Many librarians embrace Creative Commons and open access, which facilitates this within the profession” said Milholland.
To build out the Mason School’s resource, Milholland and her team gathered applicable content that enhances the DEIB focus in the classroom, such as links to specific DEIB-themed case studies, helps dismantle complex topics like privilege and microaggressions, and informs curious minds on relevant and current DEIB content linking users to a host of clearly categorized and themed materials.
“This LibGuide is a great framework that we can keep building upon,” said Phillip Wagner, Clinical Assistant Professor of Management Communications and host of the “Diversity Goes to Work” podcast. “It aligns well to the other resources available across William & Mary, but keeps the focus on resources that are most applicable to the Mason School community.”
Preparing Principled Leaders in Business
In addition to books, articles, websites, case studies, and media, the Mason School DEIB LibGuide also incorporates resources unique to William & Mary like the Acknowledgement of Indigenous Peoples as the Historical Custodians of the Land, teaching resources for and by William & Mary faculty, and DEIB initiatives both specific to the business school and university-wide.
Milholland and her team included a section for heritage months and observances, and also shared out an extensive glossary and pronoun guide which she says can be helpful to current students, faculty, and alumni.
“There’s a combination of proprietary and open content which makes this guide a great resource for everyone. It helps users to build a framework and a vocabulary using some existing resources and best practices,” Milholland said.
As a living document, the DEIB LibGuide will continue to be accessible and useful to students as they make the transition into their respective careers in the business world. Milholland and her team take this education piece very seriously as they know students will be expected to enter their new jobs with DEIB knowledge in their toolkits, and by acquiring the information as a student, they won’t have to educate themselves while learning their new responsibilities.
Moving forward, Milholland plans to maintain the DEIB LibGuide for the Mason School community’s use but she is also looking at additional opportunities to curate DEIB-related content for other audiences.
“One initiative we are coordinating with the Mason Academic Committee is to create a resource guide for faculty on ways to create a more inclusive classroom. There are many applications for this type of work. But at the end of the day, our core mission is to develop resources, build our collection, and ensure that everyone in the Mason School community has a space where they feel welcomed and feel that they belong,” she concluded.