Strategic Diversity Leadership

Activating Change and Transformation in Higher Education

March 2013
More details
  • Publisher
    Stylus Publishing
  • Published
    1st March 2013
  • ISBN 9781579228194
  • Language English
  • Pages 464 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9"
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October 2013
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  • Publisher
    Stylus Publishing
  • Published
    1st October 2013
  • ISBN 9781579228217
  • Language English
  • Pages 464 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9"

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October 2013
More details
  • Publisher
    Stylus Publishing
  • Published
    1st October 2013
  • ISBN 9781579228224
  • Language English
  • Pages 464 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9"

In today’s world – whether viewed through a lens of educational attainment, economic development, global competitiveness, leadership capacity, or social justice and equity – diversity is not just the right thing to do, it is the only thing to do!

Following the era of civil rights in the 1960s and ‘70s, the 1990s and early 21st century have seen both retrenchment and backlash years, but also a growing recognition, particularly in business and the military, that we have to educate and develop the capacities of our citizens from all levels of society and all demographic and social groups to live fulfilling lives in an inter-connected globe.

For higher education that means not only increasing the numbers of diverse students, faculty, and staff, but simultaneously pursuing excellence in student learning and development, as well as through research and scholarship – in other words pursuing what this book defines as strategic diversity leadership. The aim is to create systems that enable every student, faculty, and staff member to thrive and achieve to maximum potential within a diversity framework.

This book is written from the perspective that diversity work is best approached as an intellectual endeavor with a pragmatic focus on achieving results that takes an evidence-based approach to operationalizing diversity.

It offers an overarching conceptual framework for pursuing diversity in a national and international context; delineates and describes the competencies, knowledge and skills needed to take effective leadership in matters of diversity; offers new data about related practices in higher education; and presents and evaluates a range of strategies, organizational structures and models drawn from institutions of all types and sizes. It covers such issues as the reorganization of the existing diversity infrastructure, building accountability systems, assessing the diversity process, and addressing legal threats to implementation. Its purpose is to help strategic diversity leaders combine big-picture thinking with an on-the-ground understanding of organizational reality and work strategically with key stakeholders and allies.

This book is intended for presidents, provosts, chief diversity officers or diversity professionals, and anyone who wants to champion diversity and embed its objectives on his or her campus, whether at the level of senior administration, as members of campus organizations or committees, or as faculty, student affairs professionals or students taking a leadership role in making and studying the process of change.

This title is also available in a set with its companion volume, The Chief Diversity Officer.

Strategic Diversity Leadership makes the assumption that diversity is central to a successful country, but for diversity to succeed necessitates 'strategy'—it does not just organically happen. The book is a moral compass for how we are to proceed in the 21st century, necessitating that we take risks into uncharted territory. The text helps us prepare for the trip, offers a rationale for why the trip must be taken, provides a sense of what we are to accomplish on the trip, explains the benefits of undertaking the trip, and finally suggests initial paths that we might take. With Williams as our guide, the odds are pretty good we will get where he wants us to go. But first we need to read the book.”

William G. Tierney, University Professor & Wilbur-Kieffer Professor of Higher Education, & Director of the Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis, at the University of Southern California

"Strategic Diversity Leadership is a president’s ‘how to’ guide for making excellence inclusive in the academy in the 21st century. This book provides the fundamental building blocks for defining your campus diversity and inclusion agenda, while creating meaningful strategies and establishing a foundation of accountability. It is one of the most significant books ever published on diversity in the academy, and one that will remain pivotal reading for years to come."

Ronald A. Crutcher, President, Wheaton College (MA)

"This book will be helpful not only to chief diversity officers but, perhaps even more important, to educational leaders in general who are interested in building academic excellence and institutional competitiveness in a global marketplace. It provides a solid theoretical framework for understanding the issues, and serves as a helpful resource to leaders as they develop and execute strategic initiatives."

Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, President, UMBC: An Honors University in Maryland

"In this book, Williams melds a deep understanding of diversity with a sophisticated understanding of the nuances of leadership and organizational change. He delivers a blueprint of approaches to activating diversity plans, creating meaningful chief diversity officer roles, fostering accountability, and avoiding the pitfalls of leading change efforts on college and university campuses. This is an important book, which harnesses research and theory to lead real world change."

Molly Corbett Broad, President, American Council of Education

"Williams brings a strikingly fresh and creative vision to the discussion of how to define and implement the role of diversity as a major priority throughout the university. The book provides an invaluable historical context and conceptual framework that gives coherence to the wide range of activities that characterize current university diversity endeavors, and point to the future directions that these efforts should take."

Gerald Gurin, Professor of Higher Education Emeritus & Research Scientist Emeritus, University of Michigan

"Williams has done a masterful job of integrating organizational planning savvy with both practitioner wisdom and scholarly research from over four decades of campus diversity initiatives. He keeps his eye firmly on the human side of diversity change and provides a wealth of practical guidance for leaders who see the need to move beyond episodic diversity interventions toward comprehensive institutional engagement and change.
I warmly recommend this exceptionally useful book for any educational institution that already sees diversity as an educational value and now wants to reach toward the next and more challenging level of making excellence inclusive."

Carol Schneider, President, Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)


William G. Tierney

Strategic Diversity Leadership: Inspiring Change and Transformation in Higher Education


1. Diversity in the New Economy: Navigating the Perfect Storm


2. Toward a Twenty-First Century Definition of Diversity

3. Higher Education Organizational Diversity Models


4. Why Diversity Efforts Fail: The Cheetah and the Wolf

5. The Artful Science of Strategic Diversity Leadership

6. Being Accountable: Building a Strategic Diversity Leadership Scorecard

7. Developing and Implementing Successful Diversity Plans

8. Activating the Diversity Change Journey: A National Portrait of Diversity Capabilities in Higher Education

9. Diversity Committees, Commissions, and Task Forces



Damon A. Williams

Damon A. Williams is the Associate Vice Chancellor, Vice Provost and Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a clinical member of the faculty in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. He leads a dedicated CDO division and has worked with over 200 organizations interested in developing cutting-edge strategic diversity capabilities. His professional focus is in the areas of strategic planning, leadership development, chief diversity officer design, establishing dedicated diversity infrastructures, change management, youth development, program evaluation, and assessing diversity outcomes.

Visit the author's YouTube Channel for videos, keynotes, and author presentations.

social justice; diversity in higher education; diversity and inclusion in higher education