RAND president and chief executive officer Michael D. Rich reflects on year one of the RAND Center to Advance Racial Equity Policy and the next steps for equity research at RAND.
President's Message on Diversity
Advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion is an important priority at RAND. It's the right thing to do for our staff, and it strengthens our research and analysis.
RAND's stature and success at tackling the most complex policy problems can be traced to the institution's core values of quality and objectivity. As we have said in many settings, those values are reinforced when our work can draw on a diversity of talents, experiences, and perspectives.
This is true for several reasons:
- RAND is a creative organization that thrives on new ideas and spirited debate. Homogeneity along any dimension works against these objectives.
- To carry out our mission of improving policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis, we have to address the practicalities of alternative policy recommendations. Our research teams must be able to understand the effects of policies and decisions on all parts of society. Homogeneity works against such understanding, too.
- It is essential that we avoid any actual or apparent connection to any particular ideological or partisan position. Diversity helps guard against that.
In our view, there are two ingredients—both essential—to the kind of diversity that reinforces quality and objectivity:
- The first is a diverse staff and an inclusive environment in which effective teamwork is a defining advantage. Thus, we need a staff that is diverse in terms of academic training, work experience, political and ideological outlook, as well as race, gender, ethnicity, and the many other attributes that make us all unique.
- But, since we can never hope to have all skills, experiences, and viewpoints represented among our staff, the second is a commitment to involving others from outside the institution to supplement and strengthen the diversity of the RAND staff.
Because diversity is so vital to the core values at the root of RAND's success, we must have unsurpassed commitments to both ingredients, as well as a commitment to continuous improvement.