With the growing participation of under-represented groups in American higher education, it is more important than ever that college presidents position diversity issues as a high priority on their leadership agenda. Given the continuing dominance of white males in college presidencies, it is especially important that white male leaders develop a greater awareness and understanding of diversity issues and the varying life experiences of different populations while also acknowledging and assessing the impact of their own personal identity and life experience on their leadership actions, practices and behavior. This study examines twenty white male presidents and chancellors who have established a reputation as effective advocates for diversity, equity and social justice. Findings from interviews with each president are compared with existing research to explore three key aspects: life experiences that inspired them to become involved in diversity issues; strategies and activities to develop greater awareness and understanding of diversity; and actions and strategies to develop successful diversity initiatives in their institution and community. In the end, this study documents ways that a white male leader can use his personal status as an asset in diversity work while at the same time actively working to acknowledge and address potential challenges of personal identity that may hinder efforts to ensure his institution provides access, equity and inclusion for all.
University of Minnesota D.Ed. dissertation.May 2017. Major: Educational Policy and Administration. Advisor: Rebecca Ropers-Huilman. 1 computer file (PDF); ii, 253 pages.
Leading with Privilege: Personal Journeys of White Male Leaders in Higher Education to Become Advocates for Diversity, Equity and Social Justice.
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