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The chief diversity officer (CDO) is an organization's executive level diversity and inclusion strategist, whose job may include, but is not limited to, addressing discrimination in the workplace, launching initiative to change organizational culture, and increasing the range of backgrounds and the representation of various groups in staff, volunteers, and/or management. Roughly 52% of Fortune 500 companies employ diversity officers.[1]

Historical background

The chief diversity officer serves in an executive level leadership role. According to Billy E. Vaughn, a history of cultural diversity pioneer work conducted by university professors, cultural diversity consultants, and human resource officers precedes the chief diversity officer.[2] Less than 20 percent of Fortune 500 companies employed diversity officers in 2005, but that number has grown considerably since then.[3] Only recently has there been a discussion about the appropriate background education and credentials the diversity officer needs. In the business sector, the role remains tied to human resource management functions. Higher education chief diversity officers tend to have doctoral degrees.


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Diversity Certification refers to credential training that is intended to provide professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to maintain non-discriminatory and inclusive business practices.[4][5] In addition to cultural sensitivity education, training programs may also include coursework in general leadership skills as well as the methodology by which candidates may train others upon completion.[6]

Diversity Training University International (DTUI) offered the first cultural diversity professional (CDP) and cultural diversity trainer (CDT) credentialing program in 1998.[4] Cornell University launched a diversity certificate specialization that same year. The National Training Laboratory (NTL) also offered a certificate program. Cornell University has since offered both certificate programs and the CCDP credentials.[6]

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See also



  1. ^ Tina Shah Paikeday (June 1, 2021). "Positioning Your Chief Diversity Officer For Top Performance". Russell Reynold. Retrieved December 29, 2022.
  2. ^ The History of Diversity Training & Its Pioneers
  3. ^ Are Diversity Officers Changing the Face of Corporate America? Archived November 29, 2009, at the Wayback Machine News Analysis, Bill Picture, Asian Week, Nov 26, 2005]
  4. ^ a b "Blog Archives". Diversity Job Board. Retrieved 2024-03-26.
  5. ^ "What is Cultural Diversity Certification? – CDP CDT CDE -". 2017-10-03. Retrieved 2024-03-26.
  6. ^ a b "THE HISTORY OF DIVERSITY TRAINING & ITS PIONEERS". Diversity Officer Magazine. 2013-04-30. Retrieved 2024-03-26.