Organizing Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives at Private Institutions

Topics: Organizational Structures, Diversity and Multiculturalism, Student Experience, Student Affairs

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Research Questions

  • What units have explicit missions for diversity issues and services?
  • What considerations should administrators prioritize when creating or optimizing formal coordinating mechanisms (e.g., a chief diversity officer or a diversity committee) that facilitate institution-wide inclusion and equity initiatives?
  • How can universities assess progress on diversity initiatives and overall campus climate?


Diversity initiatives are often executed across the university’s student affairs, academic affairs, and human resources divisions, resulting in a range of activities but minimal coordination or accountability. This report profiles how six medium-sized private universities organize services for various underrepresented populations and establish a broader context for initiatives through strategic plans, central diversity positions, and special committees. It also examines the various methods through which universities assess their progress toward creating a campus climate where all students feel they have equal opportunities to succeed.