UVA Darden Professors Explore Issues of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Work in Free Online Course

By Dave Hendrick

The summer of 2020 brought new attention to long-simmering issues of race and equity in the United States, and led many to ask what role they can and should play toward building more inclusive and just organizations.

Six renowned professors from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business are helping to answer key questions with an innovative, free online course: “Foundations of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Work.”

Designed to provide professionals, students, managers and teachers with the latest tools and perspectives to make a difference in their organizations, the course, which is offered on the Coursera platform, covers six critical topics for creating effective change in organizations:

  • Leading true inclusion in organizations
  • Power and privilege in organizations
  • Societal inequities of race and class at work, schools and communities
  • Difficult conversations: Strategies for addressing conflict
  • The business case for diversity and inclusion
  • Addressing inequity and promoting change in organizations

While many institutions large and small have expressed newfound commitments to equity within their organizations, making good on those commitments typically requires a willingness to act boldly — and in a sustained manner. Changing the culture of an organization is challenging in the best of circumstances; in the current environment, it is even more important for professionals to tap into best practices and new insights.

Foundations of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Work” was created to benefit anyone who works or studies in an organization. The Darden faculty members leading the course share their latest scholarship and best practices to help learners develop both the mental framework and real-world tools for meaningful change.

“Darden professors have a variety of unique and compelling vantage points on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion that we hone with our MBA students every day,” said Professor Martin Davidson, global chief diversity officer at the Darden School. “At a time when so many are seeking to engage with these topics in a meaningful way, this teach-out is an effort to make our collective lessons and learnings available to whoever would like to know more.”

The course’s specific faculty members, with their areas of instruction, include:

  • Professor and Darden Global Chief Diversity Officer Martin Davidson, who will discuss leveraging difference within an organization
  • Professor Greg Fairchild, who will discuss how historical and current systems and societal practices impact diversity, equity and inclusion, in the workplace and communities
  • Professor Toni Irving, who will discuss how leadership can approach recruitment, feedback and promotional processes in an authentic and equitable manner
  • Professor Laura Morgan Roberts, who will discuss the process of leading change, and help learners consider both the business and moral case for diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace
  • Professor Sean Martin, who will discuss how social class shapes thoughts and actions and how to create psychologically safe contexts that encourage dialogue
  • Professor Lili Powell, who will discuss leading mindfully and how to prepare for and participate in difficult conversations

“Foundations of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Work” from the Darden School of Business is available now.

Darden Executive Education can also provide a range of custom solutions on issues of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

For more thought leadership from Darden faculty, visit Darden Ideas to Action.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


Press Contact

Molly Mitchell
Associate Director of Content Marketing and Social Media
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia