Climate Committee Makes Progress

It was a year of exploration and action for the School of Business Climate Committee.  A diverse group of faculty and staff moved ahead, quickly understanding that the school is taking the first steps on a long road.

"The membership of the School of Business Climate Committee is diverse across age, gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation and religion. Working with the members has challenged me to consider issues in DE&I more deeply and differently. Committee conversations have led to two working goals that form the foundation for moving the school forward in finding solutions to address our DE&I disparities."

 - Climate Committee Chair Ingrid Fisher, who previously established the LEAD program for underrepresented accounting students with support from EY.

Time to Learn

The initial work involved self-study and education.  To this end, PricewaterhouseCoopers provided Blind Spots (unconscious bias) Training to faculty and staff.

In March, Goldman Sachs Chief Diversity Officer Erika Irish Brown '91 and other notable alums spoke to students on the opportunities and challenges faced by professional women in the business environment. Panelists included Zainub Amir '17, account manager at Bloomberg, Angela Dixon '85, '04, chief diversity officer at Berkshire Bank, Hillary Hansen '93, partner, EY, Marisa Sotomayor '03, '04, partner, Paul Hastings, LLP and Jacob Walthour '91, chief executive officer, Blueprint Capital Advisors.

The group hosted UAlbany Associate Professor of Psychology Julia Hormes, who delivered a talk on, “Research in Inequities for Women in Academia,” and consulted and reviewed surveys on diversity, inclusion and the campus climate administered by the UAlbany Office of Diversity and Inclusion.


Two goals will begin to make diversity and inclusion part of the fabric of the School, not an additional consideration.

Goal 1

Establish diversity and inclusion policies for activities related to the school, including establishing a baseline of inclusion for every School of Business undertaking, whether it is a search committee, direct admit reception or other event.

Goal 2

Promote and ensure information distribution to all students, faculty and staff that identifies the School of Business as a school that values diversity. To visibly display support, faculty and staff may display signs or symbols associated with underrepresented groups, including one's preferred pronouns in email signatures. A minimum standard for faculty is to include a DEI statement on all course syllabi beginning in Fall 2021.

"I feel that through encouraging the committee and its work, the school is making a commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity. By engaging together, we can spread more awareness of what we’re currently doing to support these efforts at the faculty, staff, student and alumni levels while also identifying and setting goals to improve."

-Climate Committee member Damira Pon.


In addition to the work performed by the committee, alumni and friends of the School of Business have established four new scholarships supporting underrepresented students:

Guy Alonge ’85 Scholarship provides support for students who demonstrate financial need and who are pursuing a degree in the School of Business, with a preference that the recipient(s) is a member of an underrepresented minority group.

Benji Cheung ’96 Scholarship provides support for students who are pursuing a degree in the School of Business and who demonstrate academic excellence, with a preference that the recipient(s) is a member of an underrepresented minority group.

G.P. Shields ’94, ’98 School of Business Scholarship provides support for students who are studying within UAlbany’s School of Business who demonstrate academic excellence, with a preference that the student recipient either self identifies as LGBTQ+ and/or is an ally of the LGBTQ+ community.

Fenimore Asset Management Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship provides support to an underrepresented student.


School of Business Climate Committee Mission Statement/Charge

Improving the School of Business by promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within the University at Albany School of Business constituency.


The University at Albany calls for each school to consider how to promote diversity, equity, and inclusivity in its environment. As we learn about the issues, concerns, and lived experiences of our diverse constituents, we see both shortcomings and opportunities to improve how we welcome and support each other. Through diversity and inclusion, we promote the best interests and success of all our students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and improve our inclusion, morale, retention, and reputation.

The Committee

Ingrid Fisher
Zina Lawrence
Will Riccardi


Aleksandra Kovacheva
Victoria Kisekka
Damira Pon




Tyrone Reid
janet marler photo
Nadia Ibrahim







Eliot Rich
Michele Flynn


From left to right, top to bottom: Ingrid Fisher (Chair), Zina Lawrence, Will Riccardi, Aleksandra Kovacheva, Victoria Kisekka, Damira Pon, Tyrone Reid, Janet Marler, Nadia Ibrahim, Eliot Rich, Michele Flynn.