University of Kentucky Partners with INSIGHT to Launch Doctorate in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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INSIGHT Into Diversity is proud to announce a partnership with the University of Kentucky (UK) creating a new, innovative doctoral specialization that will prepare scholars for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) senior leadership roles in higher education settings and related fields. Enrolled students will have the opportunity to apply for scholarship funding from INSIGHT Into Diversity.

The new PhD in Studies in Higher Education with a Specialization in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will be housed in the UK College of Education’s Department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation and is pending faculty senate approval. The UK Office for Institutional Diversity and faculty collaborated with INSIGHT Into Diversity to develop the framework and curriculum for this advanced degree, the only one of its kind in the nation.

“Colleges and universities across the country are looking for senior leaders such as chief diversity officers to serve as change agents, bringing innovation, creativity, and high-level strategic thinking to DEI roles on their campuses. This PhD strand will focus on the latest strategies for working within complex institutions, applying innovative approaches to ensure everyone has an opportunity to succeed,” says Kelly Bradley, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation. “We will be preparing some of the most sought-after leaders in higher education. INSIGHT’s commitment to providing scholarship funding to these students will have a ripple effect and make a difference for years to come.”

“Increasingly, higher education institutions are seeking chief diversity officers and other leaders to serve as visionary change agents. By working with the nation’s thought leaders such as INSIGHT Into Diversity, our scholars will be supported and have access to pursuing innovative best practices in their PhD work and future careers,” says Gregory Vincent, JD, EdD, a professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation and executive director of the department’s Education and Civil Rights Initiative in collaboration with the NAACP.

Vincent, a former civil rights attorney, will serve as director for the Senior Diversity Officer Leadership Graduate Certificate, included with the doctoral degree. He is a national expert on civil rights, social justice, and campus culture. His leadership experience includes serving as a college president, a professor, and as vice president for diversity and community engagement at The University of Texas at Austin.

The PhD coursework will emphasize innovative approaches to DEI work and will offer experiential learning opportunities where scholars’ creative and forward-thinking ideas can be applied to real world situations. It will also include mentorship by experienced senior diversity officers from across the nation. There will also be guest lecturers from administrative departments across the UK campus including public relations and marketing, advancement, grant writing, alumni relations, human resources, and more.

This program is flexible and designed for busy professionals and dedicated scholars, explains Jane McEldowney Jensen, PhD, associate professor and director of graduate studies for the Department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation. “Most classes will take place in the late afternoon and evening hours. Many courses will also be available online synchronously and asynchronously, so it is possible to organize completion of this degree mostly online,” Jensen says. “The senior diversity officer graduate certificate built into the doctorate degree will further help scholars demonstrate their expertise in the field and provide a competitive edge in the job market.”

“I see the demand for experienced diversity administrators continuing to grow exponentially across higher education. This degree will serve as a groundbreaking opportunity for anyone who wants the leadership knowledge and skills increasingly needed to fill the executive level positions in DEI,” says Lenore Pearlstein, president of Potomac Publishing, Inc. and co-publisher of INSIGHT. “When considering who I wanted to partner with to create this degree program, UK was my top choice, being an INSIGHT Into Diversity multi-year HEED Award winner and Diversity Champion. I knew that leadership support and resources were in place to make my vision a reality and I am thrilled and honored to partner with the College of Education in this exciting and impactful endeavor.”

The Studies in Higher Education PhD – Specialization in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will enroll an initial class of scholars to begin studies in Fall 2021. More information about this program will be featured in the upcoming April 2021 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, available online March 16 and in print on March 22.

For additional information about the new PhD and other programs in the UK Department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation, visit