Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice

Document Type



Higher education was founded over three hundred years ago for a specific group, affluent, White men in mind. In the past five decades, however, the demographics of Higher Education Institutions have changed drastically from those early homogenous origins. The increased access of underrepresented populations attending Predominately White Institutions necessitated the need for offices that serve these groups. Offices of Multicultural Affairs or Multicultural Centers were created to address issues of diversity but they did not fully address issues of equity on college campuses. The purpose of this qualitative research study was to understand the ways in which mid-level diversity management professionals who oversee Offices of Multicultural Affairs or Multicultural Centers navigate their roles. In addition, the research study sought to examine how they navigated a diversity crisis moment, which is defined as a moment where diversity was the mitigating factor for a campus incident or crisis. Data revealed the career pathways of these professionals were non-linear with none having formal training. Thus, role navigation was complicated by their career pathway. Moreover, the findings suggest diversity crisis moments did not occur as discrete incidents, but were part of a larger systemic crisis impacting how mid-level diversity management professionals conceptualized their roles and how they engaged issues of difference on their campuses. Strategic Diversity Leadership and Critical Race Theory served as theoretical frameworks. Specifically, the Critical Race Theory tenets of counterstory, racial realism, Whiteness as property, interest convergence, expansive view of equality vs. restrictive view of equality, and social change were considered for this study. This dissertation locates itself in the emerging fields of diversity management and diversity crisis management. Data from interviews with mid-level diversity management professionals, tours of office spaces and other campus spaces relative to diversity, relevant websites, and campuses diversity plans served as the basis for developing the findings. Understanding how mid-level diversity management professionals view diversity on their campus, their role in challenging situations, and their understanding of diversity crisis moments has specific implications for colleges and universities. This study assists university administrators in better defining and understanding their roles, particularly chief diversity officers in hiring qualified professionals, and operationalizing the roles of mid-level diversity management professionals who engage in diversity work.



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Secure the entire work for patent and/or proprietary purposes for a period of one year. Student has submitted appropriate documentation which states: During this period the copyright owner also agrees not to exercise her/his ownership rights, including public use in works, without prior authorization from LSU. At the end of the one year period, either we or LSU may request an automatic extension for one additional year. At the end of the one year secure period (or its extension, if such is requested), the work will be released for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Fasching-Varner, Kenneth J.



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Education Commons