Leading for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education


This course is open to professionals interested in learning more about leadership in higher education for a changing demographic or interested in developing their own leadership skills. The very idea that individuals can be taught to lead is not without its skeptics. Reasonable people, even some scholars in the field, point to the important traits, skills, and attributes that are observed in many visible leaders and contend that certain qualities necessary for effective leadership are not easily transmitted. To accept this premise and conclude that some people are born as natural leaders and others cannot be expected to lead at all is to make a mistake at the other end of the logical spectrum. We believe that leadership can be taught as long as it is concurrently nurtured, that most people possess a constellation of strengths around which they can construct their own leadership philosophy and approach, and that leadership development programming—if done well—can be transformative for organizers and participants.

Course Level Objectives:
Understand the historical narrative of institutions as well as institutional structures that have created instances of inclusion and exclusion in colleges and universities.
Describe how transformational leadership is enacted for diversity, equity, and inclusion in a complex and contested environment.
Compare legislative, governance, and public accountability and expectations in relation to contemporary issues in higher education.
Analyze the strategic diversity planning process and documents of a selected institution.
Recommend innovations and opportunities for transformational change at various levels of the ecological model using the strategic diversity planning process as a tool.


  • John Burkhardt

    John Burkhardt

    Professor of Clinical Practice, Special Assistant to the Provost for University Engagement


5 out of 5 stars

October 31, 2019

I loved this course! I learned so much more about leading for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion than I realized I would. The instructor is fantastic. I hope to have the chance to hear him speak publically about these issues and how to make more positive and impactful advancements in higher education. I highly recommend this course!

4 out of 5 stars

September 16, 2019

Well organized and presents valuable information and thoughtful exercises on the subject of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Some of the lecture videos by Jon Burkhardt were very patronizing and included instances of biased language that seemed to have slipped under the radar. I would recommend this course but I would also urge the University to review the lecture videos and bring in an instructor of color who would not make such slips.

5 out of 5 stars

August 18, 2019

Fantastic course. Eye opening and succinct. Can’t ask for a better length of class lectures and work for a certification. I can’t wait to add this to my profile! Thanks!

5 out of 5 stars

December 18, 2018

Compelling readings and videos. Very eye-opening. Main complaint: Not using gender-neutral pronouns.