The Corner

Politics & Policy

What, If Anything, Do ‘Chief Diversity Officers’ Accomplish?

(File photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

A big part of the diversity mania that has swept over American higher education for the last four decades is the “Chief Diversity Officer” (CDO) phenomenon. Most large colleges and universities have them and they’re now showing up even in community colleges.

Do these administrators accomplish anything of educational value? Or are they costly distractions from real educational work, mere virtue-signaling by college officials?

I take a look at this matter in today’s Martin Center piece, concluding that, in my view, the latter is much closer to the truth. The obsession with diversity and identity we find on so many of our campuses is divisive and diverts many students away from useful study. Having a CDO makes that obsession worse.

But don’t CDOs at least succeed in getting their schools to hire more faculty from “underrepresented minority groups”–assuming that would necessarily be good? Apparently not. That was the conclusion of the researchers in a new paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which I link to and quote from.

If America ever regains its common sense, the diversity mania and its expensive retinue of officials will be among the first things to go.

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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