The Changing Roles and Contributions of Campus Diversity Offices and Their Influence on Campus Culture


  • Carmen Suarez Portland State University
  • Myron Anderson Metropolitan State University of Denver
  • Kathryn Young Metropolitan State University of Denver



Campus Climate, Cultural Responsiveness, Equity, Microaggressions, Chief Diversity Officer


Higher education has struggled to include and support students, faculty, and staff from underrepresented and marginalized groups. In recent years, universities have decided to address these struggles explicitly using a variety of different approaches to better support these groups from mandatory trainings to optional events, from external audits to internal campus climate surveys. One promising approach to providing support to marginalized groups has been to employ campus diversity officers and offices. These offices operate at the executive level and take on campus-wide leadership responsibilities, incorporating inclusive excellence and an equity perspective throughout campus policies, functions and culture. In this article programmatic and policy efforts at two public universities are detailed, spotlighting systemic-proactive and individual-reactive policies and programs needed to advance access, diversity, equity, and inclusion across institutions of higher education. Although the approaches each university takes are site and context specific, they both use the role of chief diversity officer to marshal policy and programmatic change to improve the educational experiences for all who work at and learn at these institutions.

Author Biographies

Carmen Suarez, Portland State University

Vice President

Global Diversity & Inclusion

Myron Anderson, Metropolitan State University of Denver

Associate to the President for Diversity

Professor of Education Technology

Kathryn Young, Metropolitan State University of Denver

Associate Professor

School of Education