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Overcoming Rankism

9/22/2008 --

Ross Professor Lynn Wooten helps organize two lectures by diversity expert Robert Fuller this week.

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---Has a co-worker ever claimed credit for your work? Have you noticed that certain groups are regularly on the short end of policy-making decisions? Do the "rules of the game" in your field ever seem to favor a particular "in" group?

If so, then you have an understanding of "rankism," a concept developed by Robert Fuller, a national expert on diversity organizational issues.

Ross Professor Lynn Wooten and U-M colleague Valerie Myers have organized a pair of special lectures by Fuller Sept. 25-26 to discuss overcoming rankism. The lectures will launch "Leveraging the Power of Diversity: Global and Domestic Perspectives," a campuswide series that examines the convergence of global and domestic diversity challenges across organizations and communities.

The first lecture, "Rankism in Health Care," will be held 5-7 p.m. Sept. 25 at the School of Public Health II Auditorium, 109 S. Observatory. Fuller will focus on specific incidents of rankism among doctors and nurses, practitioners and patients, and with regard to racial and ethnic disparities in health care---and strategies to overcome it.

The second lecture, "Rankism in Organizations," will be held 10 a.m.-noon Sept. 26 at the Alumni Center's Founders Room, 200 Fletcher St. Fuller will explain the concept of rankism and provide examples of how it undermines diversity in organizations, communities and global relations. He'll also offer specific insights into how to overcome rankism through management practices, policies and personal behavior.

Fuller is a physicist and former president of Oberlin College and author of "Somebodies & Nobodies," "All Rise," and "Dignity for All."

Leveraging the Power of Diversity: Global and Domestic Perspectives is sponsored by the Ross School of Business, along with University Human Resources, School of Public Health, Department of Health Management and Policy, Medical School, Rackham Graduate School, LS&A, College of Engineering, Law School, School of Nursing, School of Social Work, School of Dentistry, Ford School of Public Policy, Division of Student Affairs, U-M Health System, Program for Multicultural Health and Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives.

For more information, see

For more information, contact:
Bernie DeGroat, (734) 936-1015 or 647-1847,