University of Arkansas

Walton College

The Sam M. Walton College of Business

Statement from the Sam M. Walton College of Business

Sam M. Walton College of Business

An Update on our Commitment to Advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

March 2021

The Walton College Commitment made in Summer 2020:

Walton College Students, Staff, Faculty, and Alumni,

It has been painful to hear through #BlackatUark how short we have fallen in our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. As Walton College leaders, we are responsible for creating a safe and developmental environment; we have failed those who endured racism in our college or on our campus. We are at a pivotal moment to advance societal change, uphold our mission, and strive to be EPIC in our efforts to respect everyone, value our differences, and welcome all.

We commit to you that we will do that.

Dr. Barbara Lofton and Dr. Synetra Hughes in the Walton College Office of Diversity & Inclusion have been allies and advocates to many of you, but they should not do this work alone. We commit to you that we will be your allies and advocates. We will listen, learn, and act. Our goal is to eliminate systemic and episodic bias and inequity in our college.

Plans are underway to address the racial inequity on our campus and in our college. We have started town hall meetings that will be held regularly going forward. These meetings provide a platform to listen to your needs, address your concerns, and gather action items to make our college and campus anti-racist and a more welcoming community for all. We know this is ours to fix, but we will be better equipped if we have your guidance, so we hope you will share your concerns and ideas with us.

We will ensure that all students, faculty, and staff have equal opportunities to succeed and thrive. The dean’s office of the Sam M. Walton College of Business and its Office of Diversity & Inclusion and department chairs welcome your voice.


  1. Create a task force to audit all the Walton College processes to find embedded racism and discover remedies to eliminate biases, discrimination, and prejudices.
  2. • In fall 2020, we established a team and hired a consultant to audit operational procedures and recruitment and selection processes. The goal was to identify best practices to ensure equitable and inclusive selection processes that eliminate inherent bias. Practices identified in this audit are implemented when hiring resumes on campus.

    • The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is conducting a benchmarking study of other campuses to identify best recruitment and selection practices.

  3. Develop a diversity statement for faculty to include in their syllabi.
  4. • Developed and provided a diversity statement for faculty to include in their syllabi. The statement reads as follows:

    Respect for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Statement The Sam M. Walton College of Business values the diversity among its students, faculty and staff as a strength that is critical to our educational mission. The Walton College strives to be EPIC in valuing our differences, respecting everyone, and welcoming all. We promise to provide a rich intellectual community that includes differences in race, ethnicity and national origin, gender and gender identity, age, disability, sexual identity, social class, and religion. We expect differences in values and opinions and welcome community members to share those. We promise to create an inclusive environment (in classrooms, work environments, and at events) in which each person is heard and treated with respect. We strive to create an environment of speaking up when challenges arise and of learning together.

  5. Provide resources to assist faculty in making their courses and classrooms more inclusive.
  6. • Created and will be offering a seminar through the Center for Teaching Effectiveness that provides information to faculty about developing and facilitating meaningful conversations around race in the classroom.

    • The Office of Diversity & Inclusion presented many robust programs and resources that have provided valuable insights into what we can do as individuals and as a college in support of equity and justice. Below are a few of the programs and resources.

    a. “Let’s Talk about Integrity and Race” It has also been adopted by the NWA Council. Here is more information about that program:

    b. Diversity and Inclusion micro-credential is being developed for students to complete academic activities to earn the D&I badge.

    c. Dean Matt Waller and Assistant Dean Dr. Barbara Lofton wrote the article - “How business schools can be a part of the solution to racism” in June 2020.

    d. Provided a faculty development workshop to faculty

    e. Sample resource created

  7. Provide a resource to share suggestions, complaints, resources, and recommendations with the dean’s office.
  8. a. Provide opportunities through the ODI to share student ideas, suggestions, changes, challenges, enhancements, or to have a conversation with Walton College’s senior administration.

    b. Host multiple conversations with interested students and members of the senior administration.

We can still do much individually, but even more that we must do as a college. Additional updates will be shared as progress continues.

Matt Waller, dean

Anne O’Leary Kelly, senior associate dean

Alan Ellstrand, associate dean

Brent Williams, associate dean