Myrtle Bell appointed associate Dean for Diversity, Racial Equity and Inclusion
Myrtle Bell, a University of Texas at Arlington management professor has been named associate dean for diversity, racial equity and inclusion in the College of Business.
Bell also holds the endowed Thomas McMahon Professorship in Business Ethics. She’s been at UT Arlington since 1996.
“I’m honored to serve and to be a part of this movement,” said Bell, referring to the George Floyd murder, the Breonna Taylor death, the Kenosha, Wisc., shooting and other incidents across the country where Blacks were killed or injured. “We are at a critical juncture in our country and in our institutions. We do students a disservice if we send them out without tools to handle disparities, diversity and racial equity.”
Bell has been teaching diversity courses for nearly her entire time at UT Arlington.
“You teach it just like science,” Bell said. “You teach the data. It’s really hard to argue with when presented with the statistics of disparities in employment levels and wages by educational status as they relate to race. It’s very straightforward.”
Harry Dombroski, dean of the UT Arlington College of Business, said the college is fortunate to have someone of Dr. Bell’s stature to lead this critical initiative.
“Dr. Bell is nationally recognized for her work in the field of diversity, racial equity and inclusion. She has dedicated her life and her academic career to it,” Dombroski said. “Dr. Bell’s ability to work with groups, both inside and outside the university, to implement diversity and inclusion-based strategies makes her the perfect choice for this position.
“Given our highly diverse student population and the College of Business’ focus on the issue of diversity and its impact on students, faculty, businesses and the community, we are uniquely positioned to be a recognized leader in the area of diversity, racial equity and inclusion. We understand that this will be a long and sometimes difficult road and will require all of us to leave our comfort zone and have meaningful conversations with each other about difficult and uncomfortable subjects. It will require us to truly listen to each other. I am confident that Dr. Bell will further our leadership in this area.”
Bell said education can answer a lot of the challenges in implementation.
“I think there is hope in that these students can turn it around,” Bell said. “You teach students to look more objectively at job applications, maybe assigning numbers to candidates instead of their names, which could indicate race or ethnicity. Research has found identifiability negatively affects those with Black, Hispanic, or Asian-sounding names. You teach them to consider customer service biases, such as tipping less to Black servers, as studies have found occurs, even when quality of service is the same.”
In addition to appointing Bell as the new associate dean, Dombroski also announced:
The formation of a Diversity, Racial Equity, and Inclusion Group. The mission of the group will be to assist the COB leadership in ensuring diversity, racial equity and inclusiveness are represented in all activities within the College of Business.
The creation of Diversity Partners, a group of community and business leaders that will provide the group with an external perspective regarding racial equity, diversity and inclusion matters.
The creation of a Student Diversity, Inclusion and Racial Equity Group within the College of Business to hear directly from students regarding their perspective.
To promote the development of new diversity and inclusion programs, courses and certificates the College of Business will provide research grants to assist faculty to develop these new offerings. Grants will also be made available to those faculty interested in redesigning current syllabi to incorporate diversity themes.