Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Shannon Cleverley-Thompson

Second Supervisor

Ruth Harris


The purpose of this study was to examine how executive-level chief diversity officers (CDOs) developed relationships to influence campus-wide diversity. This qualitative transcendental phenomenological study used multiple sources of data collection to establish credibility. The primary source of data collection were semi-structured interviews to capture the textural descriptions from executive-level CDOs about their experiences in developing relationships to influence campus-wide diversity. A demographic survey and field notes were used to triangulate the data. Three themes and one unexpected outcome emerged from the results of this study: (a) positionality matters; (b) developing relationships is a process; (c) sowing, sowing, and reaping. Female weariness emerged as an unexpected finding. The results from this study provide executive-level CDOs with a process for developing relationships to influence campus-wide diversity. Exploring the experiences of executive-level CDOs in higher education provides valuable insight into the ways in which relationships are developed with members of the campus community to influence campus-wide diversity as an institutional priority.

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