The Promise Scholars Program

Posted on May 06, 2021 | Atlantic Business Magazine | 0 Comments

Regional university initiative promises increased supports for Black and Indigenous scholars.

Atlantic Business Magazine has proudly partnered with university business schools across Atlantic Canada to promote the Promise Scholars program. This unique initiative is designed to increase classroom and boardroom opportunities for Black and Indigenous students through financial supports, meaningful work experiences and professional/peer mentoring opportunities.

In an interview with Atlantic Business Magazine, Kim Brooks – dean, faculty of management, Dalhousie University – noted that the idea came from discussions with student leaders in the summer of 2020. “At the meeting in July, they came to us and said we really think the faculty needs to do something more in this space,” said Brooks.

Brooks said the Faculty has been gathering data about its students and the stats show that there were very few Black and Indigenous students, particularly African Nova Scotian and mi’kmaq students (less than .5 per cent). “That’s hugely important to us because that’s the local communities for Dalhousie and we have a particular obligation to those communities,” said Brooks. “Of all the diversity gaps, those two are hugely important to us.”

Rather than go it alone, Dalhousie invited other business schools around the region to take part. “This is not something that matters just to any singular university,” said Brooks. “We felt this should be a project that’s region-wide because all of these institutions need to grapple with these same issues.”

Every school will have a slightly different program, but all of the schools with business programs are involved. In addition to Dalhousie, these include Saint Mary’s University, Mount Saint Vincent University, St. Francis Xavier University, Acadia University, Cape Breton University, Memorial University of Newfoundland, the University of Prince Edward Island, Mount Allison University and the University of New Brunswick.

Asked to identify why it’s important for the business community to support increased diversity in their operations and boardrooms, Brooks explained that the inclusion of diverse mindsets leads to more creative ideas and problem-solving. “There’s a kind of constructive creativity that comes from difference that we miss out on when we don’t capture all kinds of differences in the context of decision-making groups.”

“Sending the signal that CEOs care about the pipeline of talent that’s coming… that there’s specific individuals who are coming through this pipeline who are going to make a difference and be important in our communities – to me, that sends all the right messages about belonging, about how we care for each other in the Atlantic region.”

“I’m not sure you could replicate this project in other parts of the country,” said Brooks.

Business leaders who would like to donate their time or financial resources to the Promise Scholar program are encouraged to contact the dean of their Atlantic Canada business school of choice (see list above).

For the full Promise Scholar’s Interview, see below.

For more information:

Email Lori Bauld, alumni officer with Dalhousie University

Visit Website

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