The School of Business is funding projects that foster and encourage diversity, inclusivity and equality

Aalto BIZ Case Development Center and Root to Rise project received EDI funding
Ryhmätyöskentelyä Aalto-yliopistolla. Kuvituskuva.
All the community members could apply for the EDI funding.

To promote equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) for all in our community, the School of Business Diversity and Inclusivity Fund supports, for example, networks, seminar series, creative projects, mentorship schemes, public events, and work with Aalto schools or social clubs. All the community members could apply for this funding, as no initiative to advance equal opportunities for all is too small. 

The School of Business Diversity and Inclusivity Fund has one application period per year – this year in May and the awarded projects should start by December 2022 at the latest. This time, two great proposals that are Aalto BIZ Case Development Center and ‘Root to Rise’ – Building a Community for Aalto BIZ Doctoral Students received funding.

Aalto BIZ Case Development Center

The first awarded project was the Aalto BIZ Case Development Center by Senior University Lecturers David Derichs and Nina Sormunen from the Department of Accounting.

This project aims at supporting equity, diversity, and inclusion in teaching by creating inclusive learning spaces through developing local case writing on strategically relevant topics (e.g., sustainability) at Aalto BIZ.

David and Nina tell that according to Constructive Developmental Pedagogy, inclusion, equity and diversity in learning is supported by learners being able to identify and contribute to a relevant/relatable context by applying their own experiences.

Diverse, equitable and inclusive learning spaces can be created in three ways: By validating learners as knowers, finding creative ways to connect and leverage prior knowledge and experiences, or by embracing the learners’ context by setting the learning experience in their environment. The third way is by seeing learning as a mutual construction of meaning between the learner and the instructor by creating a collaborative journey, exploring interconnecting possibilities and appreciating how much we can learn and benefit from others within the space (Magolda 1999).

The bottleneck in case production (professors and lecturers) at Aalto BIZ are educators’ time constraints and lack of knowledge of the case production process. This project aims at creating an Aalto BIZ Case Development Center by developing a framework for case production and supporting educators in producing cases through access and funding and case writers. Based on experiences from comparable business schools (Erasmus University Rotterdam, INSEAD, LBS, or IMD Lausanne) both above goals are essential in maintaining high output figures at those institutions.

N.B. Nina and David will reach out to our faculty members during autumn – but in case you have an idea of a teaching case or an already developed but unpublished teaching case, please get in touch with them already!

‘Root to Rise’

The main aim of the ‘Root to Rise’ – Building a Community for Aalto BIZ Doctoral Students project, which also received funding, is to plant the seeds for a culture of community amongst doctoral students in the School of Business. For this, Doctoral candidates from the Department of Marketing Petra Paasonen, Pelin Geyik and Ana Paula Lafaire have planned a series of five activities for the academic year 2022–23.

The activities are including a foraging workshop in September, wellbeing workshop in November, communal dinner in January, diversity training in March and finally, an overnight writing retreat in May. Each activity has a specific theme that is connected to the EDI agenda. Overall, these activities help foster a stronger sense of belonging and provide opportunities for peer support for doctoral students across departments.

Ultimately, the project team hopes that this project works as a pilot and can be built into a permanent programme in the School of Business. For now, it is the three doctoral students (Petra Paasonen, Pelin Geyik and Ana Paula Lafaire) who are planning and organizing the activities, but the aim is to get other students involved in planning and organizing future activities to ensure the resilience of the community after the project.  

The budget for both projects is 5000 euros.

Congratulations to David Derichs and Nina Sormunen as well as Petra Paasonen, Pelin Geyik, and Ana Paula Lafaire on your great initiatives.

Think of and implement ways to support equity and diversity in the School of Business in 2023

The School of Business prioritises an operating environment where equity and diversity atmosphere predominate. The members of our community can now propose how our values can be reflected in our activities more extensively than before

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Kristallikukat-näyttely. Kuva: Aalto-yliopisto / Mikko Raskinen
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