Home > Research Summaries > Structures & Resources Team Research Summary    

Inquiry Goals/Questions:

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 forward?

Research Methods:

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 administrators.
  • 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.

Results:

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.

Recommendations Made:

  • Create the position of Chief Diversity Officer (responsible for strategic planning, implementation, and assessment).
  • 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.