To understand the impact of diversity in higher education, it is important to consider the critical role that diversity plays in the educational process. This requires a broader understanding of the influence diversity can have on the curricular, co-curricular, and interpersonal experience of a developing college student (Denson & Chang, 2009). Strategies for anchoring diversity as a core value or relating it to the inner workings of an institution are in demand (Chun & Evans, 2008). The purpose of this study was to identify highly actualized diversity initiatives and practices that can be replicated at other institutions meeting the sample criterion demographic. The methodology for this study involved a critical case study approach to highlight an institution of higher education that demonstrates exceptional diversity practices. Identifying a model institution with regard to diversity work and then studying it as a singular example provides practical strategies of how to best institutionalize diversity in higher education. An institution held in high esteem for best practices in diversity work was identified and interviews were conducted with various community members representing broad campus constituent groups. Interviews were transcribed, analyzed, and coded for the following themes: a commitment to diversity incorporated into the institutional mission of the institution; diversity is considered by major areas of the institution as central to the work of that area; diversity is integrated into the generalized curriculum of the institution; co-curricular program and activities include diversity as a regular part of the experiences offered to the University community; White students are clearly involved in diversity and eager to engage in opportunities related to the diversity learning process; the University community celebrates success related to diversity education and initiatives; and the University community is encouraged and rewarded for engaging in diversity work. The findings of this study attempt to merge the concept of embedded diversity practices with strategic, practical identified initiatives to help institutional leaders begin the process of transforming Academia. By understanding successful practices and the leadership strategies employed to make change at other institutions, we can better comprehend how to apply those concepts to other institutions of higher education. Insight gained from this study of an exemplar institution will provide perspective about the following: 1. How the institution as a whole was involved in diversity work. How White students were impacted by diversity initiatives. 3. How diversity work was encouraged and rewarded at the institution.


Ginger L. Zierdt

Committee Member

Javier-Jose Lopez-Jimenez

Committee Member

Jerry Robicheau

Date of Degree




Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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