This qualitative research paper investigated the intersection of the COVID-19 pandemic and the year 2020 in sparking a phenomenon of hiring chief diversity officers (CDOs) in higher education. By exploring the interplay between the pandemic, racial justice movements, evolving higher education landscape, and institutional accountability, this study aimed to understand the motivations behind the increased hiring of CDOs during this transformative period. Additionally, this research examined the specific effects of this phenomenon on Black women diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice (DEI&J) professionals in higher education. The findings contribute to a deeper understanding of the opportunities and challenges faced by Black women Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social justice professionals in navigating their roles amidst institutional efforts to promote diversity, equity, inclusion and justice.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Minority women in higher education; Diversity in the workplace; Education, Higher—Social aspects; Black women—Education, Higher

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Gabriella Miramontes