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Eric Abrams

Photo of Eric Abrams

Eric Abrams,
Chief Inclusion Officer

Working with people from different backgrounds

Eric Abrams, the GSE’s new chief inclusion officer, wants you to stop being polite and start being real. “We all make mistakes,” he says. “That’s inevitable when you’re learning how to work with people from different backgrounds. But learning doesn’t happen if we’re walking on eggshells.” Abrams—who has worked on diversity issues in higher education for more than 25 years—is trying to cultivate what he calls a “community of grace” at the GSE, where it’s OK for students, staff and faculty to ask questions and occasionally mess up. He tells a story of an African American grad student at another university who found herself fielding queries about her hair style, which she changed frequently. One day she organized a pizza lunch where anyone in the community could “ask a black woman about hair”—a gathering that drew a large crowd and inspired students from other cultures to lead similar forums. “I’d love to do that here,” Abrams says. “Our graduates are going to influence education all over the world for decades. They can’t be afraid to have a conversation with someone from a different background.”

June 19, 2018
Photo by Ilana M. Horwitz, PhD '19

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