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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

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July 8, 2020

Kathy’s Point: Forward to Fall and a More Inclusive Community

Kathy’s Point: Forward to Fall and a More Inclusive Community
Dean Kathy Farrell leads the College of Business remotely as plans unfold for Nebraska's Forward to Fall initiative and college personnel work to ensure diversity and inclusion efforts take center stage as the new school year draws near.

As we look forward to fall, our faculty and staff are energized by our students’ continued commitment to leading the future of business. I was incredibly proud of their resilience, but am even more so now as a record number of business students earned their spot on the Dean’s List.

With summer internships canceled, many students chose to pursue remote summer coursework. Additionally, nearly 50 students said yes to participating in an innovative Summer Career Accelerator program pilot, coordinated by the Business Career Center, to continue gaining relevant skills and career experience.

If you are interested in hiring our Nebraska Business students, I encourage you to attend our virtual Employer Partners Day, Wednesday, August 5. The day includes professional development at no cost while also allowing you to hear more about how we prepare our students to work and lead at your businesses and organizations.

Forward to Fall
We want Hawks Hall to continue to be a place where our students can come together to question, learn and prepare for their future. We recognize our classrooms and campus will be different than before, but as a college, we will do what we can, in every way that we can, to continue to provide them with a transformative learning experience. We have heard very clearly from students about the importance of the on-campus experience and having that shared sense of community. We will utilize the university’s Forward to Fall framework to help us safely and successfully deliver on our mission to create future business leaders.

For more information about the Fall 2020 experience on campus – including the modified academic calendar, common FAQs, and information about housing, student support and classroom environments, visit Nebraska's Forward to Fall Experience webpage.

Commitment to Action
Last month, I shared how our community believes now must be different given the recent tragic events rooted in racial injustice. We must act because we believe in the power of every person. In response, we accelerated the process of creating a Diversity and Inclusion strategic plan for our college to identify actions we can take to create real change. I want to express my gratitude for those in our Nebraska Business community who have emailed to share their experiences, ideas, and time and talent as we work to advance diversity and inclusion efforts in business and beyond.

Some of the action steps for the College of Business include:

  • Associate Dean Rik Barrera will lead our college’s diversity and inclusion efforts in his expanded role as associate dean of student services, inclusion and chief operating officer on July 1. Rik has provided valuable insight and ideas as we continue to build a safe and inclusive college and a second home away from home for our students.
  • The plans for a new Inclusive Excellence Gathering Space are underway in Howard L. Hawks Hall. As soon as designs are approved, the construction will begin with the goal of opening yet this fall.
  • An Inclusive Excellence Advisory Board of faculty, staff, students, external business partners and alumni is currently being formed to assist with formalizing our initiatives and priorities, establishing and tracking goals and ensuring action and achievement.
  • We are expanding our training for faculty and staff and enhancing our business curriculum with a greater focus on diversity and inclusion. Examples include incorporating case studies, class discussion topics, guest speakers and an online library of resources (videos, books and more) to help.

This is just the beginning of fostering a more diverse, equitable and inclusive community. Remember, real change starts with ourselves. I challenge you to join me in committing time for personal development on these important issues.

Now more than ever, the world needs business leaders who challenge themselves, are inclusive, ask bold questions, look to the future and make it matter. Your actions and your continued support of the College of Business help build a better future for us all.


Dean Kathy Farrell

P.S. Please join us in welcoming new business students by sharing a message with the incoming class. You can submit a text or video message, and share advice or a favorite memory. Click here to learn more about submitting a message to our incoming students.