Examples of Inclusiveness in Business School – Special series on (Dis)ability

CSR and Intellectual Disability event at MDI, India

Over the past week we have focused in on the topic of Disability. Very few schools report in the Sharing Information on Progress about their programmes and opportunities relating to persons with disabilities. This isn’t to say that Signatories are not actively engaged in this topic. Below are some examples of from schools around the world.

Collaboration with Business

The University of St. Gallen’s Centre for Disability and Integration (Swizerland) is an interdisciplinary research centre that contributes to the inclusion of people with disabilities through innovative research, teaching and practice projects. One project included working on a 3 year cooperation with a Swiss social insurance company looking at factors that influence the job retention of employees with psychological disorders, a strongly growing group in Switzerland including a range of recommendations for employers and managers.

Specialised programmes

Starting from January 2018, students at KEDGE Business School (France) have the opportunity to take the Kapable Management Certificate, a course dedicated to disability management. Despite being a high-stake topic for businesses, disability management is currently not widely taught. This certificate combines theoretical and practical knowledge with a 30h remote training course (in English), the development of a benchmarking study on disability in business, and the production of a report to present facts and findings. The certificate is recognised by various institutions and partner corporations (Volkswagen Group France, BPI France, Cdiscount, Société Générale).

Cornell University’s Institute on Employment and Disability (USA) advance knowledge, policies and practices to enhance equal opportunities for all people with disabilities. In 2017, 320 students were enrolled in the Disability Studies programme that looks to raise awareness and interest about disability issues among Cornell students. There is also a new curriculum on Disability and Intersectionality launched in 2017 that focuses on understanding of how identities such as disability, race, ethnicity, gender among others multiply, overlap and connect. Cornell has also been working on a Global Comparative Disability Legislative Database in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation as well as launching disabilitystatistics.org, an interactive webpage tool where users can access a wide rage of disability statistics.

Engaging with Stakeholders

Auckland University of Technology Business School (New Zealand) as been working in partnership with Global Women, a not for profit champion for diversity in business and leadership that includes 50 New Zealand CEOs and Board Chairs from across the public and private sector. Their work on the Case for Change is based on research conducted by faculty at the university and sets out the social and economic benefits to be gained from ensuring a diverse and inclusive workshop including disability policies.

Awareness Raising

The Olayan School of Business at the American University of Beirut (Lebanon) has established its first Accessible Education Officer for disability services and learning supports, OSB faculty and staff proposed guidelines for accessibility and accommodation at the School needed due to disability, mental health conditions, or other health impairments. In order to ensure the success of this initiative, faculty, staff and graduate assistants will undergo a specific training on accessibility and accommodation.

Last year the Management Development Institute (India) organized a Sign Language Workshop for students in order to sensitize the budding managers to the ways in which they can communicate with differently able people when they start working in their respective organisations. The school has also worked with the Resource Center for the Visually Challenged event where students were involved in a number of experiential learning tasts in which participants were asked to work blind folded. This helped them understand the challenges faced in day to day life by the visually challenged person.

At Bentley University (USA), the University’s policy that no qualified student be excluded from participating in any university program or activity, be denied the benefits of any university program or activity, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination with regard to any university program or activity. The school organises a range of awareness raising activities including an annual Disability Awarness Day and a (dis)Ability Awareness Workshops, which are offered jointly with the Office for Disability Services. This workshop stimulates discussion of issues relating to both “visible” and “invisible” disabilities facing members of the Bentley community.

Providing support

The University of Technology Sydney (Australia) conducted a workshop and walking tour challenging participants to look for features within the local area that contribute to inclusive access while also searching for areas of improvements. This was in part undertaken because although inclusions for people with mobility, vision and hearing disabilities are well understood by the general public, others like those with, for example, autistic spectrum disorders are less so. Tactility and shaded quieter spaces are considerations that plan an important role.

The school also conducted research looking at promoting entrepreneurship opportunities and resources for people with a disability. Researchers there found that people with a disability have a rate of entrepreneurship 50 per cent higher than the Australian average yet we know so little about their story including the barriers they face, how to overcome these barriers as well as the social and economic contributions they make. The project partners with a range of organizations focused on disability including the National Disability Services.

Grenoble Ecole de Management (France) offers French Sign Language since 2009 and supports Sensihandicap, a group of student ambassadors who organize events related to issues faced by those with disabilities. They also provide a programme for employees who incurr disabilities during their working lives with professional reoriginetation and guidance to help them adjust as well as a Management & Disabilities Certificate to train managers to integrate employees with disabilities into the workplace.

IESE offers a scholarship in collaboration with Foundation ONCE Scholarship, a foundation that focuses on providing employment opportunities for professionals with disabilities. The scholarship aims to promote the integration and ongoing development of the disabled within the business community.

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