The key questions addressed by this sub-committee are fairly
simple and straight forward:
- What are the existing Structures and Resources on
supporting diversity at KSU?
- What are the best Structures and Resources on promoting
diversity in higher education at other institutions?
- Are existing Structures and Resources on diversity at KSU
adequate? If not, what will it take to move diversity at KSU
In order to find out where Kennesaw State University stood
in terms of structures and resources on diversity and
equity, as well as learn about best structures and resources
on diversity and equity at universities around the country,
we developed a set of four instruments to gather qualitative
and quantitative data addressing these issues. We:
- Conducted an inventory of existing structures (e.g.,
organizational systems), resources (e.g., financial),
personnel, and diversity initiatives at KSU by sending a
questionnaire to academic deans and other top university
- Surveyed a group of KSU students to assess their
understanding of existing structures and resources and how
to access them.
- Interviewed chief diversity officers at universities
identified as “best practices” institutions in the country
as well as the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and
Global Initiatives at AAC&U.
- Reviewed strategic plans, diversity organizational charts,
and national reports from other universities identified as
“best practices” institutions.
We found a lack of adequate Structures and Resources on
diversity at KSU. More precisely, the combination of legal
affairs and diversity into a single office does not permit
sustained focus on proactive diversity initiatives,
integration and coordination between units, and
communication of these activities to the public. Despite a
significant number of initiatives aiming at promoting
diversity and intercultural communication on campus, the
results on the student survey clearly indicated an
overwhelming lack of knowledge of existing structures and
procedures regarding diversity and equity. Compared to other
institutions that have become leaders in diversity and
equity initiatives, KSU’s existing personnel, space, and
funds allocated to diversity are insufficient. We also
learned that the national trend at leading institutions is
to create a Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) position with the
sole responsibility of overseeing all diversity initiatives
(campus climate, curriculum, research, recruitment and
retention, and assessment.) The CDO must be a high-ranking
administrator with adequate staff and financial support to
have a meaningful impact across campus. That person must
lead the development of a comprehensive strategic plan on
diversity that is supported by the base and top
administrators alike as well as oversee its implementation.
- Create the position of Chief Diversity Officer
(responsible for strategic planning, implementation, and
- The CDO should report directly to the President.
- Create the Office of Diversity (centrally located with
adequate space, and support staff).
- Establish a budget for the Office of Diversity [CDO,
staff, faculty fellows, faculty scholarships, operational, &
other (assessment, travel, training, speakers, etc.)].
- Establish a Diversity Forum (with a broad base
participation across units and constituencies) that will be
responsible for developing a Diversity Strategic Plan.
- Establish faculty and staff diversity fellows that will
support the work of the CDO in the areas of Campus Climate,
Research and Education, and Recruitment and Retention.
- Establish a Diversity listserv including all personnel
whose positions relate to diversity/equity.
- Create a Diversity web portal providing access to campus
diversity-related offices, activities, and resources.