Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Pursuit to Advance Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity in Higher Education: A Multiple Case Study Analysis of Chief Diversity Officers' Perceptions and Practice of Inclusive Excellence
by Hunt, Cerise, Ph.D., University of Colorado at Denver, 2018, 218; 13419198
Abstract (Summary)

In response to the challenge of promoting campus diversity, inclusion, and equity, colleges and universities throughout the United States have appointed chief diversity officers (CDOs) (Williams & Wade-Golden, 2007). The CDO position is vital for the advancement of diversity and inclusion in higher education (Leon, 2014; Williams & Clowney, 2007; Williams & Wade-Golden, 2013). Institutions need a designated leadership position that works collaboratively with administration to implement a strategic diversity, inclusion, and equity platform (Leon, 2014; Williams, 2013; Williams & Clowney, 2007; Williams & Wade-Golden, 2013). Several institutions and their respective CDOs use inclusive excellence (IE) as a conceptual model for advancing a campus-wide diversity and inclusion strategic plan (Williams & Clowney, 2007). The purpose of this study is to understand how CDOs perceive and operationalize their efforts to advance the principles of inclusive excellence.

Due to the nature and purpose of the study, I selected a multiple case study design to examine three post-secondary institutions in the Western Region. The use of multiple cases was essential as I explored CDOs’ efforts to move IE from an initial value or goal to an institutional practice, and to unveil the commonalities and differences of application of IE principles. The IE model and the ecological perspective on human development helped me understand and explain how CDOs interact with the systems—the network of offices and personalities—on a university campus.

The findings from this cross-case analysis reveal that the three CDOs perceive their role is to be that of working with senior leadership (administration) to embed principles of IE throughout the institution and to create mechanisms for education, accountability, and sustainability of IE commitments. In order to advance the IE agenda, the CDO position must be a senior/executive level position that reports directly to the President. Furthermore, it appears that the success of the CDOs is directly linked to the relationship they have not only with the President, but with the Provost as well. The findings further suggest that a CDO’s status as a tenured member of the faculty eases their efforts to engage the Provost, Deans, and faculty in IE efforts.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Espinoza, Manuel L., Davis, Alan
Commitee: Leech, Nancy L., Nocon, Honorine D.
School: University of Colorado at Denver
Department: Educational Studies and Research
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-A 80/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher Education Administration, Multicultural Education, Higher education
Keywords: Chief, Diversity, Education, Excellence, Higher, Inclusive
Publication Number: 13419198
ISBN: 978-0-438-75450-8
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