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EXPLORING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE INSTITUTIONALIZATION OF DIVERSITY AND CHIEF DIVERSITY OFFICERS: A MIXED METHODS MULTIPLE-CASE STUDY
This research study will explore the relationship between the institutionalization of diversity and chief diversity officers in American institutions of higher education. The demographic profile of the United States is swiftly transforming. Between 2000 and 2010, the country experienced tremendous growth in non-White populations. High school graduation rates increased for all minority groups, yet the vast majority of college degree holders are White. As various stakeholders petition for more diverse and globally
competitive college graduates, colleges and universities are striving to make their campuses more inclusive and equitable for diverse populations. Among the strategies being considered to lead institutional diversity efforts is the chief diversity officer, which
is an emerging position within the organizational landscape of higher education.
Using a mixed methods multiple-case study framework, this study will begin with a survey of chief diversity officers who are members of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education. From the survey results, three exemplar
institutions will be selected to form the case studies. The institutions that will form the three case studies are considered by their peers, those who completed the survey, to have institutionalized diversity or are close to reaching that goal. A document analysis of each case study’s institutional websites and strategic plans will occur followed by in-depth qualitative interviews at the selected institutions. The case studies will explore the strategies that have made the institutions successful at institutionalizing diversity and the role of the chief diversity officer in these efforts.
This study aims to contribute new data on the nascent discourse of chief diversity officers, their efforts, and their impact at institutionalizing diversity. In addition, this research study intends to add to the existing bodies of literature on organizational change in higher education and diversity. From a best-practices approach, this study seeks to provide university leaders valuable and timely information on the decision to add a chief diversity officer to a campus’ senior leadership team in order to institutionalize diversity at a campus-wide level.