Study on Chief Diversity Officers and Faculty Hiring

Is having a chief diversity officer linked to significant gains in faculty diversity? Not really, says a new working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The study, "The Impact of Chief Diversity Officers on Diverse Faculty Hiring," combined data on hiring of chief diversity officers with federal faculty and administrator hiring data by race and ethnicity from 2001-2016 at research and master’s degree-granting institutions with 4,000 students or more. 

“Using a wide variety of robust specifications, we are unable to find significant evidence that the presence of an executive-level CDO alters preexisting trends of increasing faculty and administrator diversity in the institutions we study,” reads the paper. “Although important progress has been made in increasing faculty and administrator diversity from 2001 to 2016, we believe more work must be done to better understand barriers to increased diversity, and how they might be best addressed.”

Steven Bradley, lead author and professor of entrepreneurship at Baylor University, said via email that higher education “has a rapidly growing trend of establishing chief diversity officers as a signal of commitment to increased faculty diversity. Given it is a key job function of the position, and there is a high [salary] price tag associated with the effort, it seemed worthwhile to examine whether there was a significant difference in diversity hiring trends before and after a CDO (or similar position) hire.” At the same time, he said, “The data only allowed us to examine hiring practices in detail. There are many other duties of a CDO -- stemming attrition, promoting a positive climate, etc. What we are able to say from our findings is we were unable to find significant deviations in long-term increasing faculty diversity when a university hired an executive level diversity officer.”


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Ohio State University has launched a new centralized office designed to handle complaints of sexual harassment and violence after the old iteration of the unit shut down in June.

The university closed down the Sexual Civility and Empowerment unit after first suspending it in February, following reports of mismanagement and allegations that staffers there were mistreating victims and not properly reporting assaults.

Ohio State is reworking how it handles complaints under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the federal law that bans gender-based discrimination, including opening the new office. The workers there -- called intake coordinators -- will respond to reports of sexual harassment and misconduct and help those who report incidents to understand their options, coordinate interim measures, make referrals to other agencies and file reports to police or others if necessary.

These coordinators will report to the Title IX coordinator, Kellie Brennan.

A new website provides details of the office and the university’s Title IX procedures. In the fall, a new online course will begin, designed to give students, professors and staff members "tools to challenge and report inappropriate and harmful behavior when witnessed."

“The university will continue to focus on advancing our efforts in this vital area,” President Michael V. Drake said in a statement. “The members of our Buckeye community deserve nothing less.”

The announcement comes as the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights investigates sexual abuse allegations against a former Ohio State team doctor, Richard Strauss, who ended his life in 2005. The university announced its own investigation in April after reports of Strauss abusing students surfaced. Officials have since said they have received reports from male alumni who played 14 different sports.

The case has also made headlines because of the accusations that prominent GOP congressman Jim Jordan, formerly an assistant coach at Ohio State during Strauss’s tenure, knew about the abuse and did nothing to stop it. Jordan has denied these allegations.

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