Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education


Monica Reid Kerrigan, Ed.D.

Committee Member 1

Sarah Ferguson, Ph.D.

Committee Member 2

Bette M. Simmons, Ed.D.


accountability, Critical Race Theory, diversity, equity, IPEDS, Strategic Plan


Diversity in the workplace; Universities and colleges--Evaluation


Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Higher Education


This study utilized transformative sequential explanatory mixed methods to analyze diversity characteristics and capabilities in higher education institutions. Faced with environmental pressure, colleges and universities that aspire to become diversity-competent institutions have the potential to understand diversity accountability (evidence building for all) with a critical race theoretical framework. A critical comparative analysis of diversity-competent and peer institutions provided the opportunity challenged past and current ways of understanding diversity by acknowledging the centrality of racism in higher education institutions. This study analyzed data drawn from the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award recipients to illustrate a way of assessing diversity characteristics among institutions of higher education that receive recognition for their equity and inclusion efforts. Moreover, to draw inferences about the characteristics effect of diversity-competent institutions, propensity score matching was used to assign the HEED award group and their IPEDS peer institutions. The study examined 180 institutions using logistic regression analysis of comparative diversity variables. The qualitative findings reinforced how institutions abandoned language that fostered racial equitable policies and practices by broadening the definition of diversity and the illusion of inclusion.