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The Chief Diversity Officer by Dr. Damon A. Williams and Dr. Katrina Wade-Golden

The Chief Diversity Officer by Dr. Damon A. Williams and Dr. Katrina Wade-Golden

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This article defines the core organizational role and major vertical structure archetypes of the chief diversity officer role in higher education. It is based upon a national study, which included more than 200 hours of audio recorded interviews, a national survey of over 2500 institutions, and a review of nearly 1500 documents. It presents concepts published in the Chief Diversity Officer: Strategy, Structure, and Change Management by Dr. Damon A. Williams, VP & Chief Diversity Officer (damonawilliams1@mac.com) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Dr. Katrina Wade-Golden, Senior Research Scientist, Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives, University of Michigan. This book is expected in Fall 2009.
This article defines the core organizational role and major vertical structure archetypes of the chief diversity officer role in higher education. It is based upon a national study, which included more than 200 hours of audio recorded interviews, a national survey of over 2500 institutions, and a review of nearly 1500 documents. It presents concepts published in the Chief Diversity Officer: Strategy, Structure, and Change Management by Dr. Damon A. Williams, VP & Chief Diversity Officer (damonawilliams1@mac.com) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Dr. Katrina Wade-Golden, Senior Research Scientist, Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives, University of Michigan. This book is expected in Fall 2009.

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05/11/2014

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College and University Proessional Association or Human Resources
Discussions in Diversity
IN THIS ISSUE:
Building and Sustaining an Institution-Wide DiversityStrategy
BY ALVIN EVANS AND EDNA BREINIG CHUN
Coping With Behavioral and Organizational Barriers toDiversity in the Workplace
BY ALVIN EVANS AND EDNA BREINIG CHUN
Human Resources Promotes Diversity and Inclusiveness atthe University o Arkansas
BY BARBARA TAYLOR
Managing the Multigenerational Workplace: Answers orManagers and Trainers
BY SHARON J. BARTLEY, PATRICK G. LADD AND M. LANE MORRIS
The Bias Response Program at Cornell University: AMetric or Diversity Initiatives
BY LYNETTE CHAPPELL-WILLIAMS
The Chie Diversity Ofcer
BY DR. DAMON A. WILLIAMS AND DR. KATRINA C. WADE-GOLDEN
 
Spring/Summer 2007 - Page 38
The Chie Diversity Ofcer
BY DR. DAMON A. WILLIAMS AND DR. KARINA C. WADE-GOLDEN
Numerous institutions are moving toward the chie diversity ofcer model o leading and managing diversity in higher education. Tese ofcers carry ormal administrative titles and ranks that range rom vice president or institutional diversity to associate vice chancellor or diversity and climate and dean o diversity and academic engagement. Yet, i one asked these ofcers what they do, most would respond that they are the institution’s “chie diversity ofcer,” using the descriptor more commonly ound in the corporate world. Tis article summarizes key ndings rom a national study o these ofcers and presents several concepts to assist human resource proessionals and others in their eorts to design new roles, support search committees, locate the best talent and help new ofcers launch to a ast start.
Introduction
In a national study o the structure, background and key strategies o diversity capabilities, we interviewed morethan 70 individuals, conducted numerous site visits, collected more than 100 hours o audio-recorded data andgathered 1,000+ documents to develop a comprehensive understanding o the roles o chie diversity ocers (CDOs)in higher education and other areas o organizational lie. Tis article summarizes key ndings rom our study and presents several concepts to assist human resource proessionals and others in their eorts to design new roles,support search committees, locate the best talent and help new CDOs launch to a ast start.
Te CDO rend in Organizational Lie
In many respects, the development o chie diversity ocer roles in higher education ollows the same meteoric paththat recently took place in the corporate environment and is beginning to emerge in other nonprot sectors (Dexter2005). During the 1990s and into the 21st century, chie diversity ocers emerged at numerous Fortune 500companies like IBM, MV and Krat to help them understand and capitalize upon the “business case or diversity. Where diversity issues were dened previously in terms o moral and humanitarian purposes, the new millenniumcorporate diversity rationale centers on retaining diverse talent, competing in a globally interconnected economy andcapitalizing on the nearly $2 trillion domestic spending power o ethnic and racially diverse groups (Tomas 2004).
DR. DAMON A. WILLIAMS
is assistant vice provost or Multicultural and International Aairs at the University o Connecticut. He has lectured at more than 100 meetings and has been consultant to numerous organizations inthe higher education, corporate and nonprot sector. His research agenda centers on issues o organizational change,diversity, leadership development and strategic planning. Williams can be reached at
Damon.williams@uconn.edu.DR. KARINA C. WADE-GOLDEN
is a senior research associate at the University o Michigan, Oce o Academicand Multicultural Initiatives. She has led numerous research initiatives in the corporate, higher education and nonprotsectors and has particular expertise in the areas o measurement, questionnaire design, social psychology, organizationaldiversity and complex data analyses. Wade-Golden can be reached at
wlms@umich.edu.
 
Spring/Summer 2007 - Page 39
Tese orces and others drove the emergence o the corporate CDO, just as changing demographics,the emergence o a knowledge-based economy, a ocus on the educational benets o diversity fowing rom theUniversity o Michigan Supreme Court admissions decisions (Gurin, Dey, Hurtado & Gurin 2002), persistentsocietal inequities, and the corporate community calling or graduates prepared to lead and ollow in a global andinterconnected world provided strategic impetus or the emergence o the CDO in higher education (Williams,Berger & McClendon 2005; Williams & Clowney 2007). Tis point is echoed by a higher education recruiter whohas conducted several prominent CDO searches in recent years: “Presidents and provosts are really trying to get outin ront o diversity issues and be more strategic. Tey are tired o being reactionary. Tey want to move rst and not wait or a campus incident or scenario to happen that orces them to conront diversity as a challenge. Tey want toconront diversity as an opportunity.”Te quickening pace o change has resulted in the University o Caliornia, Berkley; Wesleyan University;University o Nevada, Las Vegas; Xavier University; Berklee College o Music; Rochester Institute o echnology;University o Virginia; Harvard University and other institutions developing inaugural chie diversity ocer roles.
Defning the Role o the CDO
 Where others work on issues o diversity as a matter o second or third priority, CDOs concentrate their eorts ondiversity as the primary ocus o their administrative practice. While the combination o titles and structures isnearly endless, coupled with the act that many have adopted the CDO nomenclature without a clear understandingo its denition, there is little consensus regarding optimally designed CDO positions. However, our researchidentied the ollowing dening characteristics across the majority o ocers in our study:
Change agents on campus.
Chie diversity ocers are “change management specialists.” Among other activities, theCDO leads campus-wide diversity planning and implementation eorts, seeds new diversity initiatives and developsdiversity educational strategies or executives, aculty, sta and students.
Point leaders on issues o diversity.
Although duties may include armative action/equal employment opportunity or the constituent needs o minorities, women and other bounded social identity groups, CDOs provide point andcoordinating leadership or diversity issues broadly dened to include the entire institutional community.
Relational leaders.
Given the complexities o campus diversity initiatives, CDOs serve aspowerul integratingorces or diversity issues, collaborating and working through the lateral networks and relationships o the institutionregardless o sta size.
Rely upon status and inuence to encourage and drive change.
CDOs generally have little authority outside o their ormal span o control and leadership. As a result, their source o “power” is grounded in status, persuasion andsymbols (Williams & Wade-Golden 2006).
Organizational Design
Organizational design is time-consuming and usually involves a number o discussions involving dicultorganizational politics and questions o strategy, structure, processes and requisite skills required to perorm in therole (Gailbraith 2002). Inevitably, institutional leaders begin with questions like: At what level should we rank theposition? Whom will the person in the position supervise? How large should the budget be? Should we restructureany current diversity oces like womens studies, multicultural aairs or disability services? Should the CDO havetenure and serve on the aculty? Should he or she have a legal or academic terminal degree? What duties should ormthe core o the CDO’s job responsibilities? Tese issues and others can consume senior leadership, planning teams,human resource proessionals and search committees developing CDO roles at their institutions.

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