By Catherine Ordway

I was visiting the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) yesterday for a meeting, and I was struck by the beauty of the sculpture (pictured above). The female paralympic basketballer is reaching for the ball – and the clear blue Canberra sky. I reflected on what “diversity” now means for organisations, and how that might translate into workplace practices for the students I am about to meet in Hanoi, Vietnam later this week.

I am teaching the subject “Values, Ethics and Diversity in Organisations” as part of the Master of Management. This subject is: “designed to develop students’ critical thinking and research skills to contribute to an informed analysis of the role of values, ethics and diversity in contemporary organisations. Through the use of ethical theories, the subject aims to develop students’ abilities to re- frame organisational practices and to include ethical considerations in organisational decision-making. The concept of workplace diversity is introduced and evaluated in Australian and global contexts. Frameworks and tools for managing business ethics and diversity are introduced and critically evaluated. The subject is designed to meet principles 1-4 of the PRME principles.”

The United Nations (UN) Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) initiative of the UN Global Compact seeks to inspire and champion responsible management education, research, and thought leadership globally. As set out in La Trobe’s most recent UNPRME report, I am pleased to be one of the: “11 Professors of Practice with significant and ongoing industry experience to ensure our teaching and curriculum keep step with industry practice.

The Professor of Practice title also seeks to highlight what industry can contribute to academia and while many Australian business schools offer industry experts positions as casual or adjunct staff, La Trobe is the first university in Australia to formally employ them and integrate them into the day-to-day operations of the school. The Professors of Practice contribute practical advice and industry networks and connections to our students, while improving curriculum design by ensuring it is relevant and up-to-date with industry standards and trends. As well as contributing to research and teaching, our Professors of Practice facilitate meaningful engagement with leaders in business, government policy making and the not-for-profit sector”.

The cooperation with Hanoi University is a very exciting initiative, and am very happy to be a part of it.