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Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion | 2023 Report

The intent of this annual report is to call attention to the inclusion, diversity and equity work that Foster continues to uplift. We know that representation and relationships matter.

Our annual reports hold us accountable to all members of the Foster community, elevating the work that is being done, while also giving us direction on unaddressed needs. It is a chronicle of the committed work of our community.

We express deep gratitude to all who advance this impactful work as well as to those who gave their time and talent to create this report. It takes sustained commitment to create and maintain an inclusive community where belonging matters. Together, let us continue on this path.

Frank Hodge, Dean of Foster School of Business and
Michelle Purnell-Hepburn, Associate Dean for Inclusion & Diversity

Our Commitment

At Foster we aim to cultivate every individual’s leadership potential, to foster an experience that includes everyone and integrates their lived experiences and insights. We strive for continuous growth and progress, avoiding temporary fixes and choosing to focus on long term, lasting change which will allow students, faculty, and staff to become better every day. We are committed to a community where all members feel seen, heard, and supported, and everyone experiences a sense of belonging. A community committed to incorporating inclusion, diversity, and equity perspectives into every decision we make.

Our Annual DEI Report has been created to provide honest, accurate information about our strategic DEI efforts. In this report, we provide a summary of where we have been as well as an overview of where we want to be with respect to creating a safe, welcoming, inclusive, and diverse community.

We need you on this journey. Thank you!

Our Vision

Empowering our Foster Communities in a spirit of abundance, inclusion, and interconnectedness.

Our Purpose

We Foster Leaders
We Foster Insight
We Foster Progres
…To Better Humanity

Our Values

Integrity above all.

Excellence in all we do.

Inclusiveness and Respect for others.

Our Guiding Principles

Diversity, equity, and inclusion is everyone’s work
Diversity, equity, and inclusion is everyone’s work

DEI is not the work of a few people within the organization but is rather a shared responsibility that requires every member of the Foster community to think deeply about how we do our work and how our work impacts others.

Fostering Diversity

Listen first
Listen first

As we do this work together, let’s begin by listening and recognizing that we will make the most meaningful and impactful change if our decisions are driven by listening to our community. We are actively working to build structures and pathways for all voices in the Foster community to be heard and acknowledged.

Foster Listens

Progress not perfection
Progress not perfection

DEI work is hard, and we will all make mistakes as we navigate the nuances and complexity of discussing difficult topics and making difficult decisions. Let’s all support each other by focusing on growth and learning and extending grace to each other as we try new things, make ourselves more vulnerable, and push ourselves out of our comfort zones.

Fostering DEI History

Our Present: Fostering Progress


NOTE: IPEDS guidelines were used for demographics which only allow for 2 options for gender. This reporting decision is not one that Foster made independently but we choose to stay consistent with our peer schools in using IPEDS reporting rules.


The Undergraduate Diversity Services (UDS) Office mission is to serve as a holistic resource for students from backgrounds historically underrepresented in the greater business community, and Washington State. These groups of students include those of racially minoritized, economically disadvantaged, and first-generation backgrounds. The UDS Office provides programs and opportunities to support students achieve academic and personal success in the undergraduate business program.

In Fall 2022, 582 students (28% of Foster undergraduate population) qualified for the UW Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) which provides students holistic support to under-represented ethnically minoritized, economically disadvantaged, and first-generation college students.

UDS Pipeline Programs

is a program designed to address the historical lack of representation in Business Schools and the greater corporate world of Black, Latiné, Native, Pacific Islander & Southeast Asian professionals, as well as people of first-generation and/or low-income backgrounds. In the month prior to the start of Autumn quarter, the B² cohort – made up of 25-30 first-year students – earn college credits and participate in valuable personal and professional development sessions. Campus and corporate partners collaborate with UDS to ensure a well-rounded experience.

Building Networks is a peer mentorship program. The program aims to equip undergraduates at the UW and local community colleges with the skills, resources, and connections needed to be a successful professional after graduation. Students attend seven sessions on the UW Seattle campus which include business lectures, professional development, and intentional networking.

Young Women’s Leadership Summit is focused on introducing female-identifying high school seniors to the areas of Finance, Operations and Supply Chain Management, and Information Systems. Students in this program will learn about professionalism, leadership, and what to expect in a college business setting as they prepare to pursue an undergraduate education.

YEOC is a nine-month college pipeline program and will be celebrating its seventeenth year of supporting high school students of color during the 2023-2024 academic year. What began with 36 students from 17 local high schools has grown to cohorts averaging 160-170 students who come to campus once a month from schools across the state. In partnership with professional partner EY, YEOC strives to expose participants to a comprehensive curriculum including college preparation, professional development, leadership activities, and lectures rooted in business disciplines. Each Young Executive is paired with a UW undergraduate student mentor who helps them navigate the program, develop tools for academic and personal success, and prepare for college applications and scholarships.


With thirteen graduate programs, Foster is spread deep and wide. MBA options include a full-time program, a global executive program, evening, and hybrid programs, as well as programs for executive and technology management professionals. Specialty Master’s program offerings include accelerated master’s degrees in business analytics, information systems, supply chain management, entrepreneurship, accounting, and taxation.

MBA Diversity Partnerships

The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management was founded in 1966 and is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to ensuring the equal representation of African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans in management careers in the business community of the United States of America. As a Consortium member, Foster has awarded Consortium scholarships.

Our mission, through the strength of our growing alliance and extended network, is to enhance diversity and inclusion in global business education and leadership by striving to reduce the significant underrepresentation of African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans in both our Member Schools’ enrollments and the ranks of global management across Non-profit, for-profit corporations, government agencies, entrepreneurship ventures in both profit and non-profit environments.

Access is on a mission to lower the barriers to graduate management education and make the boardrooms look more like classrooms. Access focuses on increasing access for talented underrepresented and under-resourced communities with a free, scalable, and comprehensive set of resources designed for underrepresented candidates applying to business school.

The Forté Foundation aims to increase the representation of women in business and transform leadership in every field that business touches.
Management Leadership for Tomorrow equips underrepresented students with the skills, coaching and connections they need to lead organizations and communities worldwide.
Reaching Out MBA‘s mission is to increase the influence of the LGBTQ+ community in business by educating, inspiring, and connecting MBA students and alumni.

MBA Recruitment Pipeline Programs

FOSTERing MBA Access is a series of events dedicated to increasing awareness and access to MBA-level education in underrepresented communities. Over the course of 2 days, prospective students participate in MBA class simulations, hear from MBA Career Management through alumni panels, network with current students and alumni, and visit various companies.
Women’s Brunch is an event dedicated to fostering women leadership through mentorship, MBA mock classes, and networking opportunities.

Celebrating our Community

The Foster School invests in programming and events to create a sense of belonging within our community. A few examples of this are:

  • UW Impact Awards
  • Annual Celebration of African American Alumni Achievement
  • Fostering MBA Access
  • Latinx Student & Alumni Celebration
  • Welcome BBQ for Black Students
  • Foster Community Thursdays (held quarterly)in conjunction with the UW Law School

Faculty and Staff

Thirty faculty have participated in equity trainings led by the Inclusion & Community Program Manager. These training have included: Foster ID Training, Addressing Microaggressions In the Classroom, and [How to Handle] Hot Moments. Over 40 faculty members have reported equity and inclusion related activities in the past year.

Faculty Population Demographics Distribution

Staff Population Demographics Distribution

Foster ID Framework

It is our goal that every student who graduates with a Foster degree is offered opportunities to develop their inclusive leadership skills and act as effective allies. To do this, students need to develop inclusive leadership across three interrelated levels (self, relational, and systems). The Foster ID Framework provides a scaffolded and disciplined learning journey to allow students to build skills at each of these levels. This Foster ID framework continued to be rolled out and was presented in most degree programs in the 2022-23 academic year. To build an even more cohesive community, the Framework is being offered in faculty learning sessions and onboarding new staff.

Foster Initiatives

This year several structures that supported our ongoing efforts to amplify voices, inform our strategic planning, and create spaces of belonging. We are thankful to the students, faculty, alumni, and staff who have generously shared their ideas, time, and energy with us in the following committees and activities:

  • Faculty Diversity Committee
  • Dean’s Diversity Committee Undergraduate and Graduate subcommittees
  • DEI Community of Practice (for Foster faculty, staff, and doctoral students)
  • MBA Mentoring Circles for students of color
  • Foster Listening Sessions
  • Member of the UW Diversity Council
  • The Tenure Project
  • Actively supporting the Washington Employers for Racial Equity [WERE] Leadership Program. These efforts continue to be a key part of our future which we address in the coming pages
  • Continue to offer opportunities for faculty to write case materials that feature a diversity of case protagonists and business contexts.

Our Future: A Strategy for Moving Forward

We are in the process of strategically evaluating our existing efforts in order to identify more next steps forward in regards to inclusion and diversity. With the abundance of talent and treasure at Foster, we are committed to uplifting the sense of belonging and interconnectedness with all of our community.

We choose to lead in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Dean Hodge and other leaders across the Foster School created and began instilling the message that “DEI is everyone’s job.” As a community, we strive to always consider equity and inclusion in the decisions we make. Often this means we need to be more mindful and strategic about our decisions that impact all of our community members.

To further operationalize our work in this area, the Director for Inclusion and Diversity was created to better manage and maintain the work in both the Undergraduate and Graduate Diversity Services programs.

Other ways we foster leaders include:

  • Continue opportunities for faculty and staff to experience equity and inclusion in learning sessions.
  • Continue to offer opportunities for faculty to write case materials that feature a greater diversity of protagonists and business contexts.
  • Continue to recognize and uplift the work of the Undergraduate and Graduate Services teams.
  • Seek to expand our recruiting efforts that are noticeable to diverse communities and engage diversity leaders in our recruitment efforts.

We at Foster know that students and faculty need to be seen and heard for the expertise and life experiences that they bring. Systems and history have not always recognized this need and it has never been more important than now. Our faculty consistently demonstrate their commitment to share their knowledge with our students. Our students, especially those students of marginalized backgrounds, benefit significantly when they see themselves in that knowledge. Having cases and discussions in classrooms that include multi-ethnic protagonists can promote not only a deeper learning experience, but visibility and belonging.

Foster encourages faculty, staff, and students to seek and share knowledge and best practices around having meaningful and respectful conversations about difficult topics. Additionally, there was keen interest in summer grant funding which was created by the Consulting and Business Development partnering with the Dean’s Office to promote research that advances the knowledge of growth in business development for businesses owned by people of color. The intention is to nurture and amplify research in this important area in top tier journals to bring new knowledge to the field.

Let us recognize our staff for their constant support of the vast network and operation as Foster. Their commitment touches every aspect of Foster. The Communities of Practice [CoP] publish a monthly DEI Digest to highlight and promote the inclusion and belonging activities happening at Foster and we will continue to offer DEI onboarding and  listening sessions.

Other ways we foster insights include:

  • Continue to build out the DEI Dashboard on InsideFoster (intranet) and maintain the DEI Digest to keep faculty and staff engaged and informed.
  • Continue opportunities for faculty and staff to experience equity and inclusion in learning sessions.
  • Continue opportunities for faculty to write case materials that include multi-ethnic protagonists.
  • More coordinated efforts to communicate with students.
  • Build a stronger sense of community for Foster alumni from marginalized communities.

Listening is critical toward making progress to address issues. The Foster Listens program was established by Dean’s Impact Scholar Stacia Jones in 2021. A centerpiece of the program was the introduction of regular listening sessions.  The purpose of listening sessions is to allow participants to share their thoughts without being interrupted and without expecting an immediate response. The listeners take in all that has been shared, and within a short period of time meet to discuss strategies to address the issues raised. These sessions began in 2022 and will continue going forward for undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff.

Increasing faculty diversity continues to be a high priority. To assist in this effort, the role of “Dean’s Impact Scholar” was created in 2021. The  Deans Impact Scholar is a leader from our business community with demonstrated expertise in diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Dean’s Impact Scholar is dedicated to spending time mentoring and teaching students and  actively participating in Foster’s inclusion and diversity efforts. To date, Foster has hosted 3 Dean’s Impact Scholars.

Other ways we foster progress include:

  • Continue to promote and publicize Foster Listens and offer listening sessions to Foster community stakeholders.
  • Build a stronger sense of community for Foster alumni from marginalized communities.
  • Improve representation and increase the diversity of leaders and experts in the Foster community.
  • Create connections between Foster’s philanthropy development officers (individual and corporate), the Diversity Services team members, and purpose-driven donors who align with Foster’s mission for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Attracting more diverse prospective students is a catalyst for engaging alumni, donors, and corporate partners.

Onward and Forward

Activities and Commitments


Support tenure track faculty hiring
Deans Impact Scholars
Bradford Osborne Research Award
DEI in Promotion and Merit
The Tenure Project


Promote the Foster faculty hiring toolkit
Hire at least 1 Impact scholar for 2023-24
Pilot faculty setting DEI goals in Performance Evaluation process by June 2024
Tenure Project Conference Summer 2024


Student, Faculty and Staff Learning Sessions
Foster ID Framework
Foster Listens
Community Celebrations


Continue to encourage and support faculty to participate in DEI learning, projects, and/or mentor students from underrepresented communities
ID framework introduced in all degree programs and staff orientations
Offer quarterly Foster Listens sessions for students, faculty, or staff


Invest in Pipeline Programs: YEOC, YWLS, Building Networks, Business Bridge
Maintain scholarship support
Supplier Diversity Efforts


Continue to invest in and build out pipeline and early career programs
Launch Social Media Account
Maintain scholarship support for low-income students and students from marginalized communities
Develop staff purchasing toolkit

Holding Ourselves Accountable

Accountability is a cornerstone of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging efforts at Foster. Just like we believe that DEI is everyone’s job, we believe that ensuring we are holding ourselves accountable is not only our students, faculty, and staff’s job but also our communities. What happens at Foster has the potential to have an impact beyond our campus. We want to ensure the communities we are a part of and share space with are aware of what is happening on and off our campus, how we are tracking progress, and making changes where needed. With this in mind, Foster plans to report on DEI efforts annually: this will happen through an annual report and via our social media channels.

Invitation For Community Involvement

We invite you— students, faculty, staff, alumni, partner organizations, and community members— to join us.

Get Involved