The Institutionalization of Diversity at an HBCU and Its Implications for Racialized School Mission
thesisposted on 2017-10-22, 00:00 authored by Courtney M. Carter
In this dissertation I explore the process of institutionalizing diversity within a public Historically Black College/University (HBCU). Drawing from qualitative interviews, field observations, and archived materials I focus on the introduction of diversity policies, practices and discourses within a space structured by racial meanings, a black institutional space. As a black institutional space, the school developed its own racial logic that informed organizational values and norms. I found that university decision-makers used the organizational logic to craft a diversity agenda meant to reinforce their commitment to their traditional constituents. However, while not resulting in significant demographic changes, the university’s diversity project involved messages about race and citizenship that were at odds with the school’s traditional racial discourse. I concluded that institutionalizing diversity was an effort to gain legitimacy by demonstrating that the school was disseminating those ideas about racial difference that are normative in the field of higher education. This research contributes to the scholarship on race in organizations, demonstrating the ways in which organizations are ordered by race, an insight that has significant implications for our understanding of the reproduction of racial inequality in organizational life.