Who We Are

Who We Are

Our Values


To lead higher education toward inclusive excellence and influence the transformation of organizations worldwide


The National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education is the leading voice for current and aspiring diversity leaders. It sets the industry standard for relevant scholarship, exemplary standards of practice, meaningful professional development, and passionate community support.


Leading Higher Education Toward Inclusive Excellence

Core Values


We embody the spirit of excellence in diversity, equity, inclusivity, and scholarship. We cultivate best policies, practices, and programs that model inclusive excellence and ultimately transform institutions of higher education and organizations worldwide.


We embrace and appreciate differences in age, gender, ethnicity, race, education, ability, native language, orientation, and religion among individuals. We know students, faculty, and staff build a stronger sense of identity and belonging, which lead to better outcomes, when their diverse strengths, abilities, interests and perspectives are understood and supported.


We engage directly to remove the barriers that prevent students, faculty, and staff from becoming successful. To do this, we equip our members with the necessary tools to dismantle systems, structures and policies that impede advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion.


We ensure our members have necessary access to the tools and resources needed to thrive, thereby equipping the students, faculty, and staff at their respective institutions to do the same. We know that every student, staff, and faculty member has something unique to offer, and we push institutions to allow space for those offerings to manifest, bringing their entire, authentic selves to campus.


We express and foster a community of intellectual interest, influence, and innovation in the field of diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education. Through the culturally relevant thought leadership published in our journal and the daily practice of our individual and institutional members, we lead the conversation on diversity in postsecondary education.

Our History

In May 2003, Dr. William Harvey, then vice president of the Center for Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Equity (CAREE) at the American Council on Education, invited a number of chief diversity officers in higher education and business sectors to a meeting at the Ohio State University. At the conclusion of the meeting, participants indicated their interest to continue conversations regarding the many issues covered and, more specifically, the need for a national association for chief diversity officers.

Realizing the need for a national forum to continue the discussion of professional standards to guide the nascent diversity profession, both Dr. Harvey and Dr. Steve O. Michael, then vice provost for diversity and academic initiatives at Kent State University, developed a plan to bring the chief diversity officers together. Dr. Michael took up the task of developing a database and a listserv for chief diversity officers. The first database contained 30 names representing 30 institutions. In less than six months, the database grew to 120 names and institutions. Given the level of interest, Dr. Harvey requested that Dr. Michael organize a meeting of the chief diversity officers at ACE's Educating All of One Nation's Conference in Phoenix. The meeting took place on October 10, 2005. Thirty-five chief diversity officers were invited, but over 80 chief and senior diversity officers showed up at the meeting. Parallel to this effort, a few diversity officers on the East Coast had been meeting to discuss a similar agenda. Upon hearing of the national effort to establish an association, Dr. Cookie Newsom of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill submitted the names of the diversity officers on her list to become part of the national initiative.

The listserv and database expanded rapidly from that point. Subcommittees were established to take care of activities to form the Association. Using the listserv, the name of the Association was determined. While the need and vision of chief diversity officers are the primary concerns of the Association, all diversity officers, especially senior diversity officers, are eligible for membership.

In spring 2006, the Caretaker Committee met at the ACE Conference in Los Angeles to further solidify plans to form the Association. Under the leadership of Diana Cordova, the director of CAREE, ACE hosted the Caretaker Committee's meeting in Washington, D.C. on June 29-30, 2006, where the bylaws were ratified, temporary Executive Officers were appointed, and the first Annual Conference Planning Committee was established. The National Association for Diversity Officers in Higher Education held its first Annual National Conference on February 12-13, 2007, in Washington, D.C.

Bylaws (PDF)