Conversations with Extraordinary Leaders

Artistic representation of hands reaching up

When Patrick Dunkley hears IDEAL—Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access in a Learning Environment—it resonates with him in a very profound way.

Dunkley’s parents grew up in the rural South at a time when discrimination was a way of life and the idea of equity, inclusion, and diversity was just a dream.

At 16, Dunkley’s father dropped out of high school and joined the army. He remembers his father talking about how he fought side-by-side with members of the army who were white, but when they went back to their barracks, they were segregated. When Dunkley’s father left the base to go into town, he was subjected to Jim Crow laws.

Today, as Stanford’s first Vice Provost for Institutional Equity, Access and Community, he strives to be an agent of change at Stanford and beyond. Dunkley serves as executive director of Stanford’s IDEAL and racial justice initiatives, and also directs the Office of Institutional Equity and Access. His overarching vision is to create an equitable, safe, caring, and just environment that supports diversity and promotes inclusion.

“When it comes to diversity, inclusion and access, it's really important that we have everyone in mind, where everyone has the same opportunity to be hired and become a part of our community...where everyone has the opportunity to develop and advance.”

Year Up and IDEAL: An Uplifting Partnership

Dunkley shared his compelling family story during the Dec. 2 Conversations with Extraordinary Leaders, a virtual event series sponsored by Stanford University IT, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) Council, and IDEAL IT affinity groups. The broader higher education community is invited and encouraged to attend.

The Dec. 2 session featured Dunkley and Gerald Chertavian, founder and CEO of Year Up, in a facilitated discussion and Q&A moderated by Steve Gallagher, Stanford’s chief information officer.

Dunkley and Chertavian discussed the benefits of sponsoring Year Up interns and how the program helps to address racial inequality in the workplace. Chertavian founded Year Up in 2000 to provide young adults job training and help close the Opportunity Divide that underserved populations face in the United States.

Year Up’s goal is to empower young adults to attain livable-wage careers with top Fortune 500 employers in the U.S. Since 2000, Year Up has worked with 35,000 young people and brings tangible impact, validated in 2021 by a federal randomized controlled trial (RCT) – the “gold standard” of evaluation – called PACE: Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education. The PACE results illustrated that Year Up’s earnings impacts were the largest reported to date for workforce programs tested in RCTs, and notably, earning impacts remained large four years after graduation and were meaningful for all young adults and locations included in the study. Annual gains of nearly $8,000 in average earnings -- a 30-40% increase over the control group -- persisted to the end of the five-year study period.

“This is good for business, good for the community, and good for the country if we can help people get an opportunity to get in the game,” said Chertavian. “We have to create an environment where they feel like they belong, where they feel like this is their home and they belong here, just as much as anyone else.”

Citing Year Up as a critical component for success, Dunkley says he wants IDEAL to be woven into the very fabric of Stanford, moving from “something we do” into “who we are.”

View the Dec. 2 Conversations with Extraordinary Leaders:

IDEAL at Stanford

The Presidential Initiative IDEAL – Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access in a Learning Environment – is working across the entire campus community, focusing on the areas of recruitment, research, education and engagement.

The goals of IDEAL are to ensure:

  • that diversity of thought, experience and approach is represented in all sectors of our education and research enterprise;
  • that all members of the campus community feel they belong and are supported regardless of their background, identity, or affiliations; and
  • that all members of the campus community have broad access to the opportunities and benefits of Stanford.

Learn more about IDEAL at Stanford and IDEAL IT, IDEAL for the IT Community at Stanford.

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