Walton College Hosts SEC Diversity Conference

Diversity officers from Southeastern Conference business schools converged on the Fayetteville campus to discuss best practices, new initiatives and professional development, March 8-10, for the 2nd Annual Southeastern Conference Business School Diversity Officers Conference.

“Walton College is proud to host our fellow SEC diversity officers and support recruitment and retainage efforts with academic institutions, faculty, staff and students,” said Barbara Lofton, director of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion for the Sam M. Walton College of Business. “Through this conference, we explored many avenues to promote diversity in business.”

Diversity officers from Southeastern Conference business schools met to discuss best practices, new initiatives and professional development, March 8-10. [Photo by Ryan C. Versey]
The conference included speakers addressing diversity assessment and evaluation, demographics, funding and investment, and traditional and non-traditional recruitment strategies for faculty, staff and students. Keynote speakers included Dereck Rovaris, vice provost for diversity and chief diversity officer, Louisiana State University; Florence Holland, lead manager of pipeline initiatives for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; Sonel Shropshire, president of The Academic Network; Bernard Milano, president of KPMG Foundation/The Ph.D. Project; and Rodney Parks, senior director, major and planned gifts, University of Arkansas Fort Smith Foundation. Foundation directors from Tyson Foods, Walmart, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., and the Rockefeller Foundation also spoke to attendees about strengthening relationships with funders.

Several of the attendees serve as both administrative staff and associate professors at their respective schools. These conference participants joined forces to create a research team, which will focus on research regarding retaining minority faculty, staff and students.

Walton College boasts the oldest diversity office at an SEC business school and one of the oldest in the nation. Walton’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion was established in 1994 by Dean Doyle Z. Williams.