As businesses, nonprofits, cities and academia bring more awareness to the need for social justice, the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas said it will offer a new program aimed at promoting integrity and diversity among students, faculty and staff. The college also hopes to extend discussions about racism into the Northwest Arkansas community.
Matt Waller, dean of the Walton College, said the program, dubbed “Let’s Talk,” is a redoubling of a decades-long effort to promote diversity and inclusion within the institution.
“As our long-standing college values state, Walton College strives to be epic in all we do, especially our efforts to value our differences, respect everyone and welcome all,” Waller said in a statement.
The “Let’s Talk” program will include a classroom focus, a book, a workshop series, a speaker series and a verifiable badge that Walton College students can highlight on their LinkedIn profiles and resumes. The college said the inaugural season will focus on speaking up about the pivotal issues of racism.
“Let’s Talk” is being organized and led by the college’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion and its director, Barbara Lofton, as well as the Business Integrity and Leadership Initiative, headed by Cindy Moehring, the initiative’s founder and executive director.
“Speaking up is the foundational crux of personal integrity. Learning how to speak up effectively is a skill,” Moehring said. “The ‘Let’s Talk’ program provides tools that can be used to build the skill of speaking up on racism, as well as voicing your values on other issues of integrity.”
The program also advances the university’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Last month, UA Chancellor Joe Steinmetz joined business and community leaders across Northwest Arkansas in signing a leadership pledge to address systemic racism and promote a more equitable and inclusive region. The pledge, adopted by the Northwest Arkansas Council and EngageNWA, states that the signing companies are committed to guiding principles around education and training, community and workplace, public policy and continuous improvement.
Walton College is also co-sponsoring with the Northwest Arkansas Council a series of eight workshops for up to 100 community leaders. The workshops will engage Northwest Arkansas leaders in dialogue about integrity and race throughout the fall. The program also will offer on-campus activities.