New Report Explores How Different Types of Leaders Practice Shared Equity Leadership
November 28, 2022

​The Shared Equity Leadership (SEL) model aims to include a variety of people on college and university campuses in the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)—but as more people become engaged in this work a new report concludes that institutional leaders need to pay more attention to the ways that people with different roles are uniquely positioned to contribute in impactful ways.

In “Leading for Equity from Where You Are: How Leaders in Different Roles Engage in Shared Equity Leadership,” the fourth report in the “On Shared Equity Leadership” series, researchers examine roles from both a functional perspective (e.g., faculty, student affairs, and DEI-specific roles) and from a positional view (e.g., senior-level, mid-level, and ground-level leaders), highlighting the ways in which different values and practices are especially important for leaders in particular roles. The paper was published in partnership with the Pullias Center for Higher Education, University of Southern California.

“Thinking about the values and practices an individual leader is well positioned to enact based on their multiple intersecting and overlapping roles can help campuses advance equity leadership from anywhere within the organization,” write the authors.

For example, faculty members drew on their strengths as teachers, learners, and scholars to lean into developmental practices and practices that challenge the status quo as a way to represent SEL. Their regular interactions with students and their professional and personal experiences helped them learn from one another, and this learning was more widespread across the institution through interactions with colleagues and administrators, and ultimately, changes to policy and practice.

The authors also say that academic affairs leaders are leaning into building relationships and trust with faculty and peers, promoting development and opportunities to help others learn, and using their influence and position to enact structural practices and processes on campus to promote equity.

Other staff leaders, like those in student affairs, were focused on centering SEL on students’ needs, building strong relationships, listening, and in some cases operating in a more empathetic role. And, in DEI-specific roles, such as chief diversity officers and other administrators focused on DEI work, leaders were more openly subversive and challenging of the status quo and also worked within the system to support equity goals.

The authors also reflected on expanding equity work to more areas on campus that are not traditionally associated with DEI work, such as facilities, finance, and fundraising.

Click here to read the full report.