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National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) Publishes Highly Anticipated Standards of Professional Practice for Chief Diversity Officers

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL The National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) released its much anticipated Standards of Professional Practice for chief diversity officers (CDOs) on November 24; a document that will advance the professionalization of the CDO role across institutions of higher education. The standards are useful guideposts meant to clarify and specify the scope, scale and flexibility of work CDOs perform.

“Given the growth of the CDO role across the nation, we thought it important to provide suggested guidelines, that we anticipate will be adjusted to individual institutional environments and the needs of each college or university,” says Benjamin Reese Jr., vice president and chief diversity officer at Duke University and President of NADOHE.

Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, president, University of Maryland Baltimore Maryland, remarks, “The role of chief diversity officer (CDO) on many campuses is more important than ever to our national economic competitiveness. The demographics of our nation are changing rapidly. These new standards, developed by NADOHE, will facilitate the work of CDOs in changing campus culture and strengthening inclusiveness.”
“Like diversity itself, chief diversity officers have proliferated across the academic landscape with often at best a vague understanding of their potential, or desired, role and impact. This important effort is the first to articulate a comprehensive set of standards that will both define and professionalize the role. A must-read for university presidents, provosts and their Boards of Governance,” comments Ana Mari Cauce, provost, University of Washington.

Damon A. Williams, author of the books Strategic Diversity Leadership and The Chief Diversity Officer: Strategy, Structure, and Change Management says, “This contribution by NADOHE is sure to strengthen the work of diversity leaders nationally. It is thoughtful, well researched, and timely, as it contributes to a growing body of literature focused on strengthening the capacity of officers to provide collaborative leadership towards inclusive excellence at their institutions.”

Though the standards speak to professional practice and qualifications typical of a CDO, they are not meant to serve as a hiring guide. Instead, the standards are a tool to facilitate the advancement of significant and effective change on college and university campuses by emphasizing the CDO role as an organizational change agent for equity, diversity and inclusion.

Mildred García, president of California State University Fullerton, says, “The students in our higher education institutions nationwide are the most diverse they have been in the history of our country. As this nation becomes majority/minority, the NADOHE Standards of Professional Practice for Chief Diversity Officers provides the guidelines for all institutions of higher education to ensure that we are serving our new majority and the faculty, staff and administrators that serve them. These standards uphold the very best and point to how higher education institutions should examine, create and institute a chief diversity officer that fits their institutions' mission statement and ensures that we are building the very best communities of difference that upholds academic excellence for all who enter our institutions.”

“While no ‘Standards' can reflect the wide range of institutions, organizational structures and varied professional backgrounds of all CDOs, the ‘Standards' provide well thought-out and comprehensive guidelines that can assist current (and aspiring) CDOs in providing effective institutional leadership,” notes Benjamin D. Reese, Jr., president, NADOHE.

“I applaud NADOHE for their tireless efforts in creating a comprehensive set of standards that will serve to professionalize both role and function of chief diversity officers for many years to come. In creating these uniform standards, NADOHE is providing an outstanding roadmap from which colleges and universities can begin or accelerate their journeys towards inclusive excellence,” remarked Glen Jones, president, Henderson State University.

“NADOHE's standards of professional practice for chief diversity officers help us more clearly envision and understand how the leaders we choose for these positions can have a meaningful and impactful role in creating and shaping campus culture,” says Andy Brantley, president and CEO of the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR).

A link to the standards is available on the NADOHE website, found here: The Journal of Diversity in Higher Education has published an article containing the Standards, which can be found at the following URL:

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