Higher education campuses all over the country are focused on diversity initiatives. UC Santa Cruz recently announced the hiring of a new Campus Diversity Officer for Staff and Students. And it’s not the only one. UConn also hired its first Chief Diversity Officer.

Additionally, students are also raising awareness for diversity. Earlier this month, students at Penn State organized a walk to promote inclusion on campus. And UW-Madison announced plans to start a pilot program with the goal of addressing cultural competency and community building.

So to help your campus make its diversity program a success, we’ve put together a list of 20 different strategies you can implement right now.

And you can also check out the podcast we recorded with Dr. Lisa McBride where she shares her five-part diversity model for implementing and managing diversity and inclusion in higher education.

Strategies for A Successful Diversity Program

  1. Write a diversity action plan and commit to evaluating results and making changes each year.
  2. Deliver diversity and inclusion training to all staff, faculty and student employees that teaches them how to engage with others in a way that promotes respect and opportunity.
  3. Revise job descriptions to ensure there is no limiting or discriminatory language such as “young, new-grads” to attract a wide range of qualified candidates.
  4. Make sure the institution’s website is ADA-compliant and accessible to people with disabilities.
  5. Hold town-hall meetings to encourage dialog and foster continuing learning about diversity, respect and inclusion.
  6. Conduct focus groups with minority populations to identify opportunities to improve diversity on campus.
  7. Reach out to colleagues who frequently interact with graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and inform them about open positions.
  8. Have each new faculty member participate in an orientation program that covers the school’s diversity initiatives and plans.
  9. Create a mentoring program for new/ junior faculty members to encourage retention of diverse groups.
  10. Plan recruitment events for first generation college students that explain the process of admissions, financial aid and college terminology.
  11. Monitor turnover rates and include questions about diversity in exit interviews.
  12. Hold networking events for faculty and historically underrepresented communities to encourage interaction and discussion on diversity issues.
  13. Develop relationships with diverse, local populations and communities to provide work and volunteer experiences that connect to coursework.
  14. Supply coaching services to applicants that need assistance during the application and interview process.
  15. Make financial support and resources available and promote them to diverse populations of students.
  16. Provide child care options or expand existing offerings to support students, faculty and staff with families.
  17. Create marketing materials that better and authentically represent diversity at your campus.
  18. Offer services and resources to ensure a good work/life balance and communicate them to faculty, staff and students.
  19. Recruit students from high schools that are in English as a Second Language classes or who are studying abroad.
  20. Sponsor social and holiday events that promote diversity among students, faculty, and staff.


This is by no means an all inclusive list. It’s simply a jumping off point to get you thinking about the different strategies you can use at your campus to improve diversity and inclusion.

Let us know in the comments which strategies you’ve used or if you have any to add to the list. And check out our diversity and inclusion training designed specifically for higher education campuses.