Academic Diversity Officer Fellows Program

Academic Diversity Officer Fellows Program

The NADOHE is piloting an Academic Diversity Officer Fellows Program (ADOFP) that is modeled after the highly successful NADOHE Chief Diversity Officers Fellows Program.

Cohort 2 (2024-2025)

Update, August 11, 2022: NADOHE has announced its inaugural cohort of ADO Fellows. Learn more about them here.

The ADOFP is a professional leadership program of mentorship for new and early career Academic Diversity Officers. The purpose of this one academic year ADOFP is to provide each Fellow with mentoring from an ADO, or where appropriate a CDO with at least five years of experience for guided professional development opportunities and experiences. The ADOFP is highly selective and collaborative with NADOHE member colleges and universities. NADOHE is investing in the current and future careers of new and early-career ADOs working in higher education and requires an academic year-long commitment on the part of the Fellow and Mentor. 

Fellows will be selected from a pool of applicants from NADOHE member colleges and universities, based upon recommendations of the NADOHE ADOFP Selection and Advisory Committee. The ADO Mentor will be an academic diversity leader within the academic division of the college or university, or a CDO who has previously served in a capacity similar in scope and nature of an academic diversity leader. The NADOHE President will notify the Provost of the Fellow's home institution of the ADOFP fellowship award. ADO Fellows will be announced to the membership in the NADOHE newsletter, acknowledged on the NADOHE website, and recognized at the NADOHE Annual Conference. Each Fellow will be required to present during NADOHE’s 2025 annual conference.

The ADO Mentor will visit the Fellow's campus in-person or virtually in the role of NADOHE Consultant to better understand the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) issues and challenges facing the Fellow. Subsequently, each Fellow will in-person or virtually visit the ADO Mentor's campus, shadowing the Mentor, and learning about DEI issues, policies, procedures, politics, and academic climate of the Mentor’s institution. The Fellow also will observe and learn the Mentor's leadership style, strategies, successes, and challenges. Throughout the Fellowship Year, the ADO Mentor and Fellow are expected to meet twice monthly via teleconference, and the Mentor should be available for consultation and advice throughout the Fellowship Year as requested by the Fellow. Near the end of the Fellowship Year, each ADO Fellow and Mentor will complete a program assessment. The Fellow will submit a final report to the ADOFP Director on the learning and leadership experience, including formative and summative evaluation of the structure and substance of the ADOFP and recommendations that might contribute to program development and benefit future ADOFP participants. Note that due to the current pandemic all meetings may take place in virtual formats. We will leave this decision to the Fellow and Mentor.

The ADOFP award will be disbursed as a reimbursement of expenses during the Fellowship Year. The Fellow will be awarded a complimentary registration to NADOHE’s Annual Conference. It is expected, but not required, that the stipend be augmented or perhaps matched by the Fellow's home institution in future years to insure annual participation of the ADOFP alumnus in the NADOHE Annual Conference. The Mentor may be reimbursed for associated travel expenses

Program Structure 

The NADOHE ADO Fellows Program provides a unique opportunity for each Fellow to: 

  • Observe how an experienced Academic Diversity Officer and his/her institution addresses diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) issues and challenges, solves short-term and long-term problems, and fosters positive and sustainable institutional change. 
  • Participate with a knowledgeable, skilled, and experienced leader in a structured campus visit at the Mentor’s institution.
  • Immerse briefly in the daily activities of their Mentor and host institution. Fellows are encouraged to engage with other administrators, faculty/faculty governance, staff, and students, learning their experiences and reality regarding the academic division and individual dynamics of diversity, equity, and inclusion impacting the campus.
  • Learn about national, regional, state, local, and international DEI issues and how they impact individual public and private campuses.
  • Receive guided leadership experience and consultation in diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education that will enhance the Fellow’s professional knowledge and experience in reframing organizations, be applicable to the Fellow’s home institution, and help stimulate strategic thinking and advance outcomes.
  • Become a member of a national network of DEI leaders and future ADOFP alumni who may serve as professional resources throughout the Fellow's career in DEI management, leadership, and beyond. 

Every Fellow is expected to:

  • Engage in and sustain a Mentor/Fellow relationship with a senior level Academic Diversity Officer based on mutual trust and professional respect.
  • Respect the confidentiality of all information learned at the host institution, which may derive from participating in high-level privileged and decision-making in-person or virtual meetings at the host institution.
  • Design with the Mentor an individualized ADO Leadership Enrichment and Achievement Plan (LEAP) for the Fellowship Year. This should include the plans, goals, objectives, activities, campus in-person or virtual visits, a special project with at least one major deliverable, and a budget plan for use of the award.
  • Visit the Mentor’s campus, in-person or virtually, for learning and enrichment experiences.
  • Observe the leadership styles of individuals at the host institution, including their strategies, outcomes, effectiveness, and how they interact with and impact one another from these four frames of managing organizational change: structural, human resources, political, and symbolic. * *
  • Develop and implement a special project with tangible outcomes to benefit the Fellow as ADO and/or the institution.
  • Present during the NADOHE Annual Conference about the ADOFP year, incorporating the special project, and its outcomes.
  • Participate in ADOFP assessment. * *
  • Become a part of a ADOFP Alumni network and participate in Alumni activities, and serve for at least one year following program completion, as a resource to new Fellows via telephone and electronic communication.

Every Mentor is expected to:

  • Provide a structured DEI leadership experience for the ADO Fellow that achieves the goals and objectives of the ADOFP and best meets the needs of the Fellow. 
  • Develop a strong Mentor/Mentee relationship with the Fellow. 
  • Assess the goals and specific needs of the Fellow.  
  • Recommend relevant research, including from the NADOHE Journal and an emerging ADOFP bibliography, NADOHE Anti-Racist Framework, and other print and electronic journals and resources for guided reading and discussion with the Fellow throughout the Fellowship Year. 
  • Ensure that the Fellow is grounded in theoretical bases of the field of diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education and understands the NADOHE Standards of professional practice.
  • Maximize learning, leadership, and networking experiences and opportunities for the Fellow throughout the Fellowship Year. 
  • Develop in consultation with the ADOFP Director and Fellow a calendar for the Fellowship Year, inclusive of regularly scheduled communication, team meetings, benchmarks, checkpoints, and in-person or virtual activities. 
  • Conduct one, in-person or virtual, visit of the Fellow’s campus.
  • Attend the NADOHE Annual Conference and meet with ADOFP Fellows, Mentors, and Alumni. 
  • Participate in ADOFP assessment. 
  • Serve as an informal resource to your Fellow for one year following the ADOFP via telephone or electronically for occasional communication.  

Program Components 

Academic Diversity Officer Leadership Plan

In conjunction with their Mentors, Fellows will help design a Leadership Enrichment and Achievement Plan (LEAP) for the Fellowship Year. This proposal will include goals, objectives, activities, a special project and site visits to the host and home campuses. The LEAP should outline at least three key objectives that address the goals of the ADOFP and specify what activities will be conducted to achieve the objectives and the overarching goals of the ADOFP. The Fellow/Mentor professional consultation should focus on challenging issues and strategies, working on a specific issue identified in the LEAP Statement of Purpose, Such activities might include immersing oneself in the in-person or virtual visit, establishing diversity partnership and support across the faculty and staff, developing and implementing an academic strategic unit level DEI plan, initiative, or diversity council, studying the professional literature on the DEI issue in higher education of timely relevance to the Fellow’s campus, and attending a NADOHE chapter meeting or conference. The LEAP shall include a statement of support from the Fellow's institution and a budget outlining projected expenses for utilization of the ADOFP Award. The LEAP must be approved by the Mentor and submitted to the Fellows Program Director by the end of the second month of the Fellowship Year.

Campus, In-Person or Virtual Visit

Two campus, in-person or virtual, visits will be conducted. The Mentor will make an in-person or virtual visit to the Fellow’s campus in the fall, in the role of NADOHE consultant to the Fellow. The Mentor’s campus visit will foster better understanding of DEI issues and the ADO’s role on the Fellow’s campus and provide the opportunity to engage with university leadership. The Fellow will visit, in-person or virtually, the Mentor’s campus, enabling the Fellow to directly observe and learn how diversity, equity, and inclusion are embraced and achieved at another similar institution, and how the ADO is leading the academic unit of the university to achieving its diversity and inclusion mission, goals, and best practices. Confidentiality is an important compact for the campus visit; information gained at the host and and home institutions may derive from participating in privileged discussions and decision-making meetings.

ADOFP Fellow eJournal  

Fellows are expected to keep a ADOFP eJournal as the Fellow’s weekly personal thought piece and documentation of the ADOFP Fellowship Year. It should capture elements of the year. The eJournal should include, but not be limited to, the Fellow’s experiences, administrative philosophy, change management, challenges, lessons learned, strategic planning, budget, successes, case studies, benefits, thoughts, questions, perspective, and opinions. It should provide a foundation upon which the NADOHE conference presentation is made, and the Final Report is written. In addition, it may provide the basis for an article in the NADOHE Newsletter or on the NADOHE website. The Fellow also will be asked to provide recommendations regarding strengths and improvements of elements of the pilot program that might benefit future programs and Fellows.


The Fellow should be informed of professional activities and resources, including suggested readings about research deemed essential to theoretical grounding in the profession for a CDO working in higher education.  Secondary electronic resources may be useful. These readings will assist in emergence of an evolving ADOFP bibliography.

Final Report  

The Fellow will write a Final Report on the ADOFP and submit it to the ADOFP Director and NADOHE by the end of the Fellowship Year. The Final Report shall encompass all aspects of the ADOFP, as may be reflected in the Fellow’s ADOFP eJournal. The Final Report should include: 

  • A description of the Fellow's experience.
  • A discussion of the LEAP activities that helped achieve key ADOFP goals and objectives.
  • How the ADOFP has impacted the Fellow’s thinking about diversity, equity, inclusion, and leadership.
  • How the Fellow will use the ADOFP leadership experience and resource network in his/her/their DEI work and future career.
  • A copy of any products developed during the Fellowship Year. 

NADOHE Annual Conference  

During the Fellowship Year, NADOHE Fellows are expected to: attend and formally present at the national NADOHE Annual Conference; receive beneficial continuing professional education; and meet and engage with other ADOFP Fellows, Mentors, Alumni and colleagues.  For the future, annual attendance at the NADOHE Annual Conference, associated participation in ADOFP activities, and service on a NADOHE committee is strongly encouraged. 

Pilot Program Assessment  

The ADOFP Fellow will participate in program assessment through summative and formative evaluation in consideration of program components and value received. This evaluation will augment program assessment by the Mentor and Director.  Assessment data will help inform the Board of Directors and Director in consideration of program development and value of the ADOFP as an annual professional development program and service opportunity for NADOHE members.  


The ADOFP award of $2,000 will be disbursed as a reimbursement of appropriate expenses during the Fellowship Year. In addition, the Fellow will be granted a complimentary registration to the NADOHE Annual Conference during the Fellowship Year. All funds not expended by the end of the Fellowship Year will revert to the NADOHE ADOFP. Funds shall not be used to augment the ADO or home institution budget, supplement travel to non-NADOHE meetings or conferences, or underwrite professional development that is appropriately the purview of the employer institution.

Host Institution

The ADO Mentor will be reimbursed for ADOFP expenses up to $1000. The Host Institution is encouraged to provide or underwrite the Fellow’s meal expenses while on campus and to provide university guest housing where available.


*The Applicant must be an Academic Diversity Officer reporting directly to the Dean or Provost with five years or less employment in this role at a NADOHE member institution.

Application Process (Deadline: October 16, 2023)  

Interested applicants should submit their Curriculum Vita, Statement of Purpose, and a list of three references with contact information to the ADO Fellows Program Application opening on August 15th.. The three references should have knowledge of the applicant in his/her/their position as Academic Diversity Officer. The Statement of Purpose should include the following: 

  • Profile of applicant's institution. 
  • Description of applicant's position, reporting line, role within the institution, and responsibilities and their scope. 
  • Knowledge, skills, and experience the applicant seeks to gain from the ADOFP. 
  • How the ADOFP would benefit the applicant and his/her/their home institution. 

The candidate may include mentor/institution suggestions, but Mentor/Fellow matching will be determined upon recommendation of the ADOFP Selection and Advisory Committee and the ADOFP Director. By applying to the ADOFP, the Applicant commits to attending the 2024 and 2025 NADOHE Annual Conference. Fellows are expected to continue in their role as ADO for at least two years after the ADO Fellows Program.

Fellows will be selected based on the following: 

  • Working full-time as ADO at a NADOHE member institution.
  • Active NADOHE membership status at time of application. 
  • Professional strength(s). 
  • Need and perceived benefit of advanced ADO leadership experience.
  • Promise and potential for professional and academic ADO leadership. 
  • Quality of statement and application materials.
  • Commitment to attend and participate throughout the Fellowship Year, including attending the 2024 and 2025 NADOHE Annual Conference.
  • Commitment to remain in an ADO role for at least two years after completion of the ADO Fellows Program.

Timeline for ADOFP-Cohort 2 (2024 – 2025)

August 15, 2023: Application opens

October 16, 2023: Application Deadline

January 2024: Fellows selected and notified

March 2024: ADOFP Fellows Introduced at NADOHE Annual Conference; ADOFP Alumni Lunch

May 2024: Fellows Orientation Group Meeting

June 2024: LEAP Completed and Submitted

August 2024: ADO Fellows Group Meeting – Open Discussion

Fall: Campus Site Visit by Mentor

December 2024: All Fellows Group Meeting

Winter: Campus Site Visit by Fellow

February 2025: Conference Presentations Completed

March 2025: NADOHE Conference: observe and present at Annual Conference

April 2025: Final Group Meeting: Conversation with the Director

May 2025: Final Report, Program Evaluations and Written Recommendations

June 2025: Final Report to NADOHE Board

For questions or additional information, go to or contact NADOHE at or Debra Nolan,