Heritage Foundation Report Claims a Bloat of Diversity Officers in Higher Education

The hiring of diversity officers at colleges and universities across the United States has accelerated in recent years. There have been such a large number of these hirings that JBHE routinely publishes listings of these appointments in separate posts. See the most recent examples here.

Appointments of administrators who focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion tend to show that colleges and universities are taking note of the importance of these efforts to their students. Undoubtedly, at least some of these appointments are mere window dressing to appease students and other campus constituencies when in fact there is not a genuine commitment to diversity at the highest levels of leadership at some colleges and universities.

These diversity appointments are not without controversy. Just as conservatives have mounted attacks on ethnic studies programs, critical race theory, and other subject areas not to their liking, the hiring of diversity officers has also been highly criticized. The Heritage Foundation recently published a report entitled Diversity University: DEI Bloat in the Academy. The report claims that “the promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) on college campuses has become a central concern of higher education. However, high DEI staffing levels suggest that these programs are bloated relative to academic pursuits and do not contribute to reported student well-being on campus.”

The authors of the study examined diversity staffing at 65 large educational institutions. They found that there was an average of 45 people having formal responsibility for promoting DEI goals at these institutions. Of course, these large universities have tens of thousands of students, huge numbers of faculty and staff, and at times dozens of colleges and schools.

The report found that DEI staff levels were 1.4 times larger than the number of professors in these universities’ corresponding history departments. Moreover, the average university had 3.4 people working to promote DEI for every 100 tenured or tenure-track faculty members.

The University of Michigan was singled out as having the most bloated administration, with 163 individuals who have responsibilities dealing with diversity, equity, and inclusion. The next highest number – 94 – was at the University of Virginia. At Georgia Tech, there were 3.2 times as many DEI staff people as history professors. Syracuse University had 7.4 DEI staff for every 100 professors, according to the report.

The authors come to the conclusion that “continuing to hire more people with sophisticated, corporate-sounding titles seems unlikely to help students feel welcome and learn from each other — nor will creating new units with more administrators advancing political agendas that may be at odds with the preferences of those who pay and subsidize tuition. Such approaches have more to do with the increasingly imbalanced ideological nature of universities than with actual promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Reader comments on this report are welcome.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Students at Three HBCUs in New Orleans to Participate in Power of Prosperity Initiative

The Power of Prosperity program will help remove barriers to students’ academic success by providing students and their families with free access to financial support and resources.

Yale University Scholar Wins Early Career Physics Award

Charles D. Brown II, an assistant professor of physics at Yale University, has been selected as the winner the Joseph A. Johnson Award for Excellence from the American Institute of Physics and the National Society of Black Physicists.

Three African Americans Appointed to New Administrative Posts at Universities

Arthur Lumzy Jr. is the new director of student career preparedness at Texas A&M University–Commerce. Sandra L. Barnes was named associate provost for undergraduate education and student success at Alcorn State University in Mississippi and Roberto Campos-Marquetti has been appointed assistant vice president for staff and labor relations at Duke University.

North Carolina A&T State University to Debut New Graduate Programs in Criminal Justice

The university's criminal justice master’s and doctoral programs are designed to provide high-quality graduate education and training in criminal justice with the four areas of specialization: investigative science, digital forensics, research methodology, and social justice.

Featured Jobs