Interdisciplinary Center on the Science of Diversity (ICSD)
From left: Kellogg School Dean Dipak C. Jain, Center Co-chairs Galen Bodenhausen and Katherine Phillips, and Weinberg College Interim Dean Aldon Morris
From left: Kellogg School Dean Dipak C. Jain, Center Co-chairs Galen Bodenhausen and Katherine Phillips, and Weinberg College Interim Dean Aldon Morris  Photo © Nathan Mandell

Vision and Goals

The ICSD emerged from an interdisciplinary collaboration between Katherine W. Phillips, associate professor of management and organizations at the Kellogg School of Management and Galen Bodenhausen, professor of psychology and marketing at the Kellogg School and in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. In establishing the Center, Professors Phillips and Bodenhausen seek to mobilize an extensive pool of scholarly talent at Northwestern University to join forces in better understanding the implications of powerful societal dynamics surrounding the issue of diversity. For years awareness of the American workforce’s changing demography has been growing, but the full implications of these changes have been insufficiently explored. Moreover, issues such as equal employment opportunity, segregation in the school systems and social disparities in health and education have remained the subject of intense public discussion. Dramatic increases in international, intercultural contact and interaction in the arenas of business, education and research further underscore the necessity of developing a clear understanding of how diversity influences outcomes in important life domains. It is the foundational premise of the Center that developing this kind of understanding requires rigorous, interdisciplinary scientific inquiry. By developing evidence-based knowledge that can be applied to these important societal issues, the ICSD’s researchers seek to provide insight and direction in the effective management of diversity issues across a range of social settings.

The ICSD’s core mission is thus to promote academic, managerial and educational research and dialogue about the impact of diversity on society. Although diversity is an increasingly ubiquitous reality of modern life, there are still important social, organizational and institutional contexts in which attaining representative patterns of social diversity remains an unrealized goal. Understandably, considerable attention has addressed the discriminatory barriers that have prevented effective diversification. In addition to establishing greater diversity in relevant social settings, it is also important to understand how the rich opportunities for creativity and collaboration that diverse social environments afford can best be realized. Our mission focuses on identifying the factors that promote the robust emergence of diversity’s potential benefits as well as potential roadblocks that can undermine positive outcomes in diverse settings.

In keeping with the idea that diversity affords special opportunities for innovation, the ICSD is a truly interdisciplinary center in which a variety of scholarly perspectives are represented and where researchers can engage in lively debate, discussion and collaboration. Our goal is to foster scientific projects and inquiries that transcend disciplinary boundaries but that also fully exploit the unique strengths and diverse methodologies of the individual disciplines.

Kellogg School of Management
Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences