January 31, 2015

How to overcome Systemic Resistance to Diversity is greatest need of respondents in a national survey


 The survey was sent to nearly 300 people across the U.S. The intent was to gather input from a national sample about the key diversity issues that campuses were most interested in addressing. Respondents were asked to reply to three questions listed below. Although demographic information of respondents is provided, there was only one answer that produced any significant variance between respondents. That answer is: “How can I overcome my personal challenges” in response to the first question. This was overwhelmingly submitted by white respondents.

All answers were grouped and organized under broad headings. If an answer was repeated multiple times it became a heading so you can assume that all headings were created based on many respondents answering in similar ways. Examples of submitted individual answers that led to these headings is included. The answers are numbered in order of importance based on the number of responses; meaning answer #1 received the most responses, #2 the next highest and so on.


Male             48%     Female                   52%

Black            45%     White                     42%

Asian            7%       Multiple Races    6%

If you had 20 minutes of a top-notch diversity consultant’s time to help you with anything you want, what would you ask this consultant?


  • How to overcome systemic resistance on topics of diversity and equity?
  • How do I generate belief and trust in the system?
  • How do you get administrators to invest real money into diversity programs and initiatives?
  • Why isn’t there a curriculum requirement to teach African American Studies in all schools and universities in the U.S? [Read More...]

Novel helps campuses discuss racism and other issues faced by African American college students. Check out 3-Chapter Excerpts and decide for yourself

Educators know that one of the biggest challenges we face is getting our students to open up about uncomfortable issues like racism and discrimination on campus. I’m pleased to share information about my mystery-thriller novel- Lakeside University Cover Up that will make addressing that challenge a little less difficult.

The novel is being praised as a tool for discussing diversity and inclusion in a way that genuinely engages students. I invite you to include this book as part of your 2015 class readings or as a common read for your school. If there was ever a time that we needed a national dialogue on race, that time is now! It can start with your campus.

As Gloria, the main character shows, by finding the courage to be vulnerable and authentic, we can discover a common language to connect with each other on a deep emotional level as fellow human beings. I’ve included three chapters from the novel to allow you to decide for yourself. Thank you for your consideration and best wishes for 2015!



Enough was enough. Dean of Students, Todd Severson stormed into President David Horning’s office and slammed the door. “Sir, we need to do something!” Severson said,
lowering himself into the chair across from Horning’s antique desk. “Your divide and conquer strategy is backfiring—we have to do something and do it fast, or this university will explode!”
President Horning glanced up from his coffee. “That’s a bit dramatic, Todd, don’t you think?”
Severson leaned forward in his chair and pressed his palms against the desktop. “A black student has just been attacked!” he said. “Classes are being disrupted. The police are running themselves ragged, trying to keep everything under control. Now we have threats of a major civil rights demonstration being held on our campus!”
Horning looked at Severson and frowned. “Why don’t you just calm down,” he said. “We’ve weathered crises before. This isn’t any different.”
Severson stared back, his jaw askew. “Sir, I beg to disagree! We may have been able to smooth things over in the past, but this is very different. This could turn violent—even more violent than it already has become. And it’s just a matter of time before the media plasters this mess all over the front page.”
Before Horning could respond, his phone rang. As he reached to answer it, Severson stood up to leave. “Hold on Todd. Let me get this. This might be the call that will get us out of this damn mess,” Horning said, as Severson paced the floor.
*** [Read More...]

Closing the Academic Achievement Gap

Doctoral students in my Inclusion and Diversity in Higher Education Leadership class are asked to complete assignments that have real-world practical applications. Their latest assignment required them to write a 2-page paper on the achievement gap that is plaguing our public schools and colleges and offer recommendations that school districts or colleges might find useful in addressing this challenge. Here are papers from my students.

Closing the Achievement Gap by Robert Cramer

Cramer Headshot April 2013 2MB

Robert Cramer

An achievement gap continues to exist for underrepresented minority students in institutions of higher education.  A number of studies have been published regarding this gap and ways institutions have worked to address it.  My recommendations for this are:

1)       Document the Achievement Gap – Each institution of higher education can compare the performance of underrepresented minority students and majority students.  A first step in addressing the achievement gap is collecting data to share with students, professors (faculty and adjuncts), senior leaders and others to establish a common understanding of the problem and place it in context within the institution and across institutions.

2)      Set Expectations for Success – (Leithwood, 2010, Sanders, 2010) – The President, Provost, and Governing Board need to set clear expectations for student performance and the elimination of the achievement gap.  Senior leadership is needed to set the tone that student success is expected for all students and that responsibility is with students and the institution.  A goal of equity of outcomes for students should be established.  This can move the institution from a deficit model to an achievement model and establish accountability.

3)      Use Data for Accountability – (Leithwood, 2010) – The institution should utilize data to monitor progress and communicate results.  This starts with ensuring that information systems provide relevant data to those who need it.  An office within the institution should be assigned responsibility for communicating results regularly.  The information should be disaggregated so that student achievement is understood at the institution level, at the college level, at the department level, and for key courses that are identified as predictors of student success. [Read More...]