Diversity chiefs find pipeline to the presidency
- Inside Higher Ed profiles the growing number of campus chief diversity officers who are being appointed to college presidencies. Eureka College President Jamel Santa Cruze Wright, Ithaca College's Shirley M. Collado and Savannah State University's Cheryl Davenport Dozier all served in executive diversity posts before their installations as campus CEOs.
- College administrators say that the complex issues of the day, including immigration policy, access and affordability, presidents' role in enrollment management, and student demand more representative faculty and leadership, make the diversity officer skill set desirable for campus leadership.
- But some have questioned if this pipeline, which has broadened opportunities for minority presidential candidates, invites racial animus by its own nature. Greg Vincent resigned as president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges after allegations of plagiarized content in his dissertation were made public by anonymous reports.
A college presidential appointment often reflects the urgent needs of a campus environment, and diversity issues are urgent needs on hundreds of college campuses across the country. But while these leaders may have tremendous communication skills, and the ability to understand stakeholders perspectives and advocating for out group concerns, campus administration may be a point emphasis for some candidates.
Many diversity offices at small and large institutions across the country are blocked from realizing their full potential, often suffering from small budgets and staffs, and limited access to develop programs within academic or student affairs. While their leaders may be dynamic and ready to engage a campus, there is a reason to question if some have had the experience with budgets, legislative lobbying and institutional analysis to transition from oversight of a segment of the student population to a campus community at large.
- Inside Higher Ed From diversity chief to college president
- Education Dive Diversity efforts take center stage throughout higher education