Dear GW Business Community,

There is much joy to be shared as we look forward to coming together for the start of this new academic year. During these early days of August, this also presents a moment during which each of us can consider how to further strengthen the sense of inclusion and belonging within our teaching and learning.
For faculty, the Instructional Core for Advocacy, Research, and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (ICare) team at GW Libraries has compiled online resources to help make classrooms and courses more inclusive. Even a small adjustment to a teaching structure or delivery method can be the change a student needs to succeed, as The Chronicle of Higher Education points out in this helpful advice guide. We are fortunate to be in a school where diversity is celebrated. As we make our courses more inclusive, we may find we get more satisfaction from teaching and that our students learn more and report greater appreciation for the class. Win, win, win!
Students will find that one way to boost their sense of community and increase their engagement on all dimensions, academic, professional, and social, is by joining a club or organization. As you anticipate coming to campus this month, whether for the first time as a new member of the GW community or for another year of your ongoing studies, remember that there are more than 500 active student organizations on campus. This includes 22 undergraduate student organizations and 17 graduate student organizations based at the GW School of Business. You may alternatively consider creating a new organization! The Office of Undergraduate Programs, the Office of Graduate Programs, and the Dean's Diversity Council at our school will do what they can to support you. You can email me to get started.
August Days of Celebration
International Day of the World's Indigenous People
By resolution of the United Nations, August 9 is recognized globally each year as The International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples. The theme of this year's international celebration is Indigenous Youth as Agents of Change for Self-determination. A virtual commemoration ceremony will be held via Zoom, beginning at 9:00 a.m. ET that day.    

Per the UN website: "Indigenous Peoples have sought recognition of their identities, way of life and their right to traditional lands, territories and natural resources for years, yet throughout history, their rights have always been violated. Indigenous Peoples today are arguably among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of people in the world. The international community now recognizes that special measures are required to protect their rights and maintain their distinct cultures and way of life." 
Indigenous communities are a focus of faculty and student research at the GW School of Business. The International Institute of Tourism Studies (IITS) co-led the establishment of the Indigenous Tourism Collaborative of the Americas initiative, which on August 9 will launch a new Indigenous Tourism eLibrary, a suite of tools and resources aimed at supporting the sustainable development and management of Indigenous tourism. In addition, the Institute for Corporate Responsibility (ICR) has an ongoing project looking at ways to revive cocoa farming in Trinidad and Tobago, an industry that has thrived historically and provided important benefits for the country’s economy and indigenous population. The issue of over-tourism was the focus of a project by students in the M.S. in Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management (MSTHEM) program during the spring. I also recommend reading “Seven ways to support Indigenous Peoples,” from Planet Forward, a project sponsored by GW's School of Media and Public Affairs.
Women’s Equality Day
On August 26 each year, the United States celebrates Women's Equality Day, commemorating the adoption of the 19th Amendment on this date in 1920.

The U.S. Constitution's 19th Amendment prohibits state and federal governments from denying the right to vote on the basis of sex. We celebrate this historic day and the perseverance of all those who made it possible. But on this day, we should also remember that the 19th Amendment did not guarantee the right to vote to all adult women. For decades following adoption of the 19th Amendment, laws and practices intentionally disenfranchised women of color. In addition, Women's Equality Day is about more than voting rights; it also concerns disparities in pay and underrepresentation in government and business, among other inequities. August 26 reminds us that achieving and maintaining equality for all is challenging and requires our continuing attention and support.

There are many examples of faculty at the GW School of Business who have published research focused on gender equality. Jennifer Merluzzi, associate professor of strategic management and public policy, was recently invited to present two papers at the 16th Annual People and Organizations Conference at The Wharton School this September, “Devaluation by association: Gender diversification and performance recognition in male-dominated occupations” and “Changes in Hiring Discrimination Against Stay-at-Home Fathers During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence from Online Field Experiments, 2019-2021.”

N. Sharon Hill, professor of management, has explored the topic of virtual work arrangements and what effects it has on women's career advancement. Annamaria Lusardi, University Professor of Accountancy and founder and academic director of the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center (GFLEC), has studied gender gaps in retirement readiness and financial literacy knowledge.

I would also recommend resources such as this TED Talk: “Why Gender Equality is Good for Everyone, Men Included,” and this piece on “8 Ways to Celebrate Women's Equality Day.”
Finally, as we prepare to come together for the start of this new academic year, let's each ask ourselves what we can do to strengthen our communities. The GW School of Business Dean's Diversity Council is looking to partner with student groups and others to build a stronger, more inclusive community for everyone. If you'd like to discuss ways to do this, let's talk! Please email me at to start the conversation.
All the best!
Leo Moersen, JD, CPA (He/Him)
Interim Chief Diversity Officer
Associate Professor of Accountancy and Business Law
School of Business
George Washington University
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