Published April 5, 2019

Campus News

Belliveau welcomed as director for Center for Diversity Innovation

Maura Belliveau at the podium.

Maura Belliveau, the inaugural director of the College of Arts and Sciences' new Center for Diversity Innovation, addresses attendees at a meet-and-greet reception. Photo: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki

By ROBBY JOHNSON

Published April 5, 2019

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“There may be no more significant, and yet more poorly informed area of organizational practice than diversity. ”
Maura Belliveau, director
Center for Diversity Innovation

The College of Arts and Sciences introduced Maura Belliveau as the inaugural director of its Center for Diversity Innovation at a meet-and-greet reception on Monday. Faculty and staff gathered in the Student Union’s Landmark Room to hear her vision for UB’s continued efforts in diversity and inclusion.

The Center for Diversity Innovation, one of the College of Arts and Sciences’ new strategic initiatives, is designed to train the next generation of diversity leaders, build greater capacity for social inclusion and close opportunity gaps in education and employment. The center will help develop degree programs, research-based models, practical tools, community collaborations and experiential learning opportunities, as well as transform UB students into more empathetic global citizens.

“The center’s goals are to close opportunity gaps all over the place in education employment, to educate the next generation of university leadership and to help transform UB, SUNY, the community and the region,” said Robin G. Schulze, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “We knew when we were going after an inaugural director for the center that we needed someone with a terrific vision and with an extensive background in the research of diversity and inclusion, especially in the translational research of that area. I couldn’t be more pleased to have found that person in Maura Belliveau, who absolutely rose to the top in a very competitive national search.

Belliveau arrives at UB with more than 20 years of experience as a faculty member at leading business schools across the country including, Emory University and the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. Since earning her PhD in organizational behavior and industrial relations at the University of California, Berkeley in 1995, she has contributed heavily to research on the gender wage-gap, the effects of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action policies, and issues with the Americans with Disabilities Act and accommodation practices.

After being introduced by Schulze, Belliveau spoke to the faculty and staff about her belief in UB’s potential and its vision as a university.

“SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson singled out our university as a critical engine for social mobility, propelling more students upward in their life trajectory than the top eight Ivy-caliber institutions combined,” she said. Those results are a testament to the commitment and vision of UB’s leadership and faculty, who dedicate themselves to having such a transformative effect on students’ lives.”

Maura Belliveau mingles with a group of faculty and staff, including Provost Charles Zukoski, at the meet and greet reception.

Maura Belliveau (second from left) mingles with faculty and staff, including Provost Charles F. Zukoski (far right) at a reception in the Landmark Room in the Student Union. Photo: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki

Belliveau said that establishing an initiative like the Center for Diversity Innovation is important because diversity is one of the most overlooked components throughout organizations. She also said that although most organizations are committed to diversity, many lack a strategy beyond single, one-off trainings.

“There may be no more significant, and yet more poorly informed area of organizational practice than diversity,” Belliveau said. “Many people will enter the workforce with little to no understanding of what research indicates as being effective in creating and leading a diverse workforce and achieving inclusion.

“The single biggest investment that firms have made have been in one-off diversity trainings, yet there is rigorous research — some of it conducted right here at UB within the School of Management — that shows the erroneous ways in which organizations spend those diversity-training dollars, pursuing it as a one-time event rather than part of a thoughtful, comprehensive, diversity strategy in which the training is integrated with and reinforced by other organizational practices.”

She followed that by saying the center will push UB faculty to reassess their ways of measuring success that could impede in hiring a minority candidate, while the university can also do more to further connect with historically black colleges and universities (HBCU). She said more can be done by putting in simple efforts like having lunch with HBCU doctoral students whenever they’re in the area.

“If these two suggestions sound as if they’re too small to make a difference or too effortful, just know that these exact behaviors are ones other higher institutions are engaged in, and they are yielding benefits for those other institutions,” she said. “There is no reason they can’t benefit UB.”

As her formal introduction drew to a close, Belliveau also spoke on her vison for the center and how it will not only support UB’s diversity goals, but act as a model for work in diversity throughout the Buffalo community as well.

“The Center for Diversity Innovation can curate empirical evidence of what works for higher ed and other organizations more generally and support not only UB’s diversity and inclusions efforts, but the racial equity and other initiatives being pursued in Buffalo and beyond,” she said. “Drawing on diversity scholarship, we can pursue our own diversity objectives at UB in a way that has higher potential for success.”