The Role Model Effect

Data-Driven DEI
Support for initiatives like The PhD Project is not just ethical, it’s evidence-based.


Emerging research by PhD Project scholars highlights faculty diversity as a catalyst for student success in business schools, offering new perspectives on the “role model effect” – how having a diverse faculty body enhances students’ educational experiences.

This work-in-progress research study, drawing on a comprehensive dataset spanning over ten years and including data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), demonstrates that The PhD Project’s initiatives are effective in increasing faculty diversity. It also delves into the positive effects of having educators whose backgrounds reflect the diverse fabric of society.

Initial findings include:

• Diversity among academic staff is linked to better graduation outcomes for historically underrepresented minority business students.

• Faculty diversity is a key predictor of success for underrepresented minorities (URM) across various educational settings—from Predominantly White Institutions to Hispanic-serving institutions.

• In the current political climate, with DEI-related legislative actions affecting millions in the educational sector, this study provides robust evidence in support of such initiatives. It indicates that diversifying faculty ranks goes beyond equitable measures; it is also effective and necessary for educational progress.

We’ll be revealing more from this research study in the coming months, so follow The PhD Project on LinkedIn for updates. And in the meantime, connect with Marie Zara to learn more about how your institution can join our community.

Empowering Change:

New research backs the positive changes DEI initiatives are making in business education today.

For more information:

Marie Zara
Director of Advancement