While chief diversity officers in higher education are succeeding in their careers and often moving up and out of their roles quickly, little attention has been paid to building a robust talent pipeline for the next generation of diversity professionals, according to a recent Witt/Kieffer survey of CDOs and other diversity officers. Only 12 percent of the diversity executives surveyed said that their institution has a formal succession planning process for the position.
This is at a time when CDOs are more visible than ever. “Today’s universities have expanded the CDO role to support the strategic importance of a broadly inclusive campus community, and consequently CDOs have become facilitators of that strategy while becoming members of the senior management team,” the report based on the survey says. “In short, the role has gone from being a primarily tactical position to a strategic one, requiring a much more multifaceted skill set than in the past.
Authored by Lucy Leske, managing partner of our Education practice, and senior partner Oliver Tomlin, the report provides a thorough summary of the survey results and suggests that CDOs can and must do more to pave the way for future leaders and ensure the sustainability of their profession. In the words of one CDO survey respondent, “The diversity field is only going to grow. Institutions that have been around for hundreds of years are realizing how important diversity is tohigher education.” Those who recognize the importance of this role now and open succession pathways will bring success to their institutions and the future of the field.
Download the full report here. (Brief registration required.)