Paul T. Harper, Clinical Assistant Professor of Business Administration at the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration (CBA), was among five University of Pittsburgh faculty members to receive the 2021 Provost’s Award for Diversity in the Curriculum. This honor recognizes exceptional efforts to incorporate equity and inclusion into existing courses and curricula. A special ceremony was held by Provost Cudd to recognize the awardees on January 18, 2022.
After the death of George Floyd and the protests that followed in 2020, Harper was inspired to use his position to expand understanding of racial justice—both among business students and his colleagues in the field. As one of the very few Black business school faculty members nationwide, he expressed that he felt a personal responsibility to step forward and show leadership.
Historically Informed Approach
Harper has been the driving force behind the new “Race and Business Ethics” course at Pitt Business, which was first offered in the fall of 2020. In this course, Harper uses a historically informed and culturally embedded approach to examine moral theory, management decision-making, and leadership development. Key topics include questions of structural racism, justice, and capitalism. The course allows students to learn more about their own family histories, as well as to conduct interviews with recent minority graduates from Pitt Business. Moving forward, the course will be offered each semester.
He has also been awarded a grant from Pittsburgh’s Intercultural Project Foundation to support new global and diverse student experiences within his courses and the CBA Certificate Program in Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
“Paul has been an invaluable asset in our mission to make Pitt Business a more equitable and inclusive place for all,” says Arjang A. Assad, Henry E. Haller Jr. Dean. “Not only has he championed a number of diversity-related initiatives, but Paul continues to be an excellent and innovative teacher.”
Harper’s leadership and commitment have been repeatedly recognized throughout the past year with numerous awards, including the Chancellor’s Distinguished Public Service Award—an award that recognizes outstanding public service contributions by members of the University of Pittsburgh’s faculty. He also will serve as a consulting faculty member for the prestigious Fellowship at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics, which is a place-based program composed of participants from top-tier business, medical, and law programs as well as established professionals from leading corporations. Fellowship courses are taught within historically significant sites located in Germany and Poland.
Additionally, he was awarded a seeding grant from the Pitt Momentum Funds 2020-21. His research aims to determine which expressions of corporate commitment to racial justice will most likely lead to substantive action. With this grant, Harper plans to construct a database of the commitments made by S&P 500 firms during and after the Black Lives Matter protests that occurred during the summer of 2020.