Diversity and Inclusion Statement

Chungil Chae

My dedication to diversity and inclusion in academia is profoundly influenced by my personal journey. As an Assistant Professor in Business Analytics at Wenzhou-Kean University, my experiences across diverse cultural landscapes—from South Korea to the United States, and now China—have deeply shaped my appreciation for the richness that diversity brings to the academic and professional worlds.

My academic journey began with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in South Korea, advancing to degrees in Human Resource Development and Workforce Education in the United States. These varied experiences across different educational systems have endowed me with an in-depth understanding of the challenges faced by students from diverse backgrounds. My time at Pennsylvania State University, set in a multicultural atmosphere, allowed me to meet students from various cultures and nations, enhancing my understanding of the multicultural perspective. One diversity-related challenge I encountered was understanding sexual orientation and LGBTQ+ issues. Coming from a predominantly male and conservative background in South Korea, I initially had limited awareness of these matters. However, during my Master’s and Ph.D. studies, I was exposed to diverse sexual orientations and identities. Through friendships, classroom discussions, and debates, I gradually understood the experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals in society and their challenges in the education system and workplace. This realization led me to pursue a dual-title Ph.D. in Comparative International Education, framing my doctoral research at Pennsylvania State University. This research, focusing on knowledge-sharing in multinational corporations, emphasized the critical role of cultural understanding in organizational and academic success.

In my role at Wenzhou-Kean University, where I teach a diverse group of Chinese students with a U.S.-based curriculum in English, I am dedicated to fostering a culturally inclusive curriculum. My approach, shaped by my experiences as an international student and educator, involves incorporating international case studies into Business Analytics courses, ensuring that my teaching connects with students from diverse backgrounds. This method enriches their learning experience and prepares them to effectively navigate the global business landscape. Nonetheless, there have been challenges. At Wenzhou-Kean University, adhering to a U.S.-based curriculum and conducting classes in English, as per school policy, encourages English usage on campus. A memorable piece of teaching evaluation feedback I received was, “Can you ask the teachers to speak more Chinese? Can you include some Chinese knowledge?” This feedback led me to deeply reflect on the potential difficulties students and instructors may face due to language barriers in a complex cross-cultural educational environment.

My research aligns with my commitment to exploring and addressing diversity issues. In my study “Looking into the Labyrinth of Gender Inequality: Women Physicians in Academic Medicine,” I explore gender imbalances in academic medicine in South Korea. This research, alongside my study on the mental health of international students, highlights the critical need for cultural awareness and mental health support in academic settings. Additionally, my research provides a closer look at the persistent challenges of gender inequality in academic medicine. This study illuminates the societal and cultural forces that perpetuate gender imbalances, focusing on the experiences of female physicians in South Korea. It examines how cultural norms and subconscious biases influence career paths in this field, aiming to deepen the understanding of gender inequality and its widespread impact across various professions. Furthermore, my investigation into the psychological resilience of international students showcases my interest in the nexus between psychology and cultural adaptation in educational settings. This work emphasizes the importance of positive mental health traits and their effect on student participation and behavior in organizations, highlighting the need for cultural sensitivity in both academic and social settings. My goal with these studies is to expand the scope of research by integrating diverse perspectives and insights from multiple disciplines.

Beyond teaching and research, I have played a significant role in developing inclusive academic programs, such as the Supply Chain and Business Analytics Master’s Program at Wenzhou-Kean University. This program is designed with a global perspective to cater to a diverse student body. Moving forward, I am committed to continuing the development of strategies and initiatives that promote diversity and inclusivity across all dimensions, including socioeconomic, cultural, and ability-based diversity. My diverse educational and professional background has been foundational in shaping my commitment to creating an inclusive academic environment. I firmly believe in providing equitable opportunities for all students to learn and succeed. As I continue on this journey, my aim is to learn, teach, and research in ways that celebrate and leverage the diverse tapestry of human experiences, ensuring that everyone, regardless of their background, finds a place and voice in the academic community.