School of Business Organizes “Confronting our Biases” Virtual Session

Faculty and staff from Woodbury’s School of Business gathered to discuss and increase ways to raise awareness of the reality of implicit biases. Dr. Randal Pinkett, co-founder of BCT Partners, a consulting firm that focuses on diversity issues, shared some strong points to ponder regarding working within diverse teams. Dr. Pinkett emphasized his passion for creating a diverse and equitable society; a passion which he implements through presentations, consultancy, and authorship. He made a strong business case for diversity, equity and inclusion, explaining that diverse teams may not result in the fastest results, but they definitely present broader and more in-depth output.

Dr. Joye Swan, professor of psychology at Woodbury, gave a powerfully illustrated presentation on the workings of the brain, and how biases are not to be considered as shortcomings, but rather as learned shortcuts in our approaches. She pointed out the danger in which some biases can result, leading to unnecessary brutality and stereotyping of certain members of society. Through stories, images and video material, she conveyed the importance of facing the many influences we have been subjected to, in order to acquire our current biases.

Dr. Adam Wood, associate professor of management at Woodbury, analyzed the Harvard Implicit Association Test (IAT), which the participants had been asked to conduct prior to the session. The IAT is a tool that allows individuals to discover hidden cognitive biases. Based on a timing system and combinations of features and attributes, the system records and interprets preconceived notions within the test taker, and presents findings afterwards. Not everyone is happy with the results, oftentimes leading to people questioning the validity or structure of the program. Nonetheless, the IAT is a widely used and decent tool for showing bias and how our unconscious drives our day to day decision making.

The event was coordinated by Anasia Obioha, assistant director of diversity, equity and inclusion for Woodbury’s School of Business and School of Media and School of Media Culture & Design. Anasia has coordinated several events focused on increased social justice through augmented DEI awareness in both schools. For the School of Business she spearheaded two minority entrepreneur lectures, and co-organized a series of DEI-inspired faculty lectures in the weekly faculty research colloquium.

 

Last Updated on December 2, 2020.