Op-ed from UW-Madison’s Jackson discusses challenges faced by chief diversity officers

An op-ed from UW-Madison’s Jerlando Jackson, published by Cuma Management, discusses the recent influx of chief diversity officer (CDO) positions, and the challenges they face.


Jackson is the Vilas Distinguished Professor of Higher Education and the chair of the School of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. He is also the director and chief research scientist of Wisconsin’s Equity and Inclusion Laboratory within the Wisconsin Center for Education Research.

While CDO positions are becoming more common at big companies, few are given the resources and support necessary to be successful, writes Jackson who highlights four challenges that need to be addressed as companies reconsider infrastructure to support diversity and inclusion.

These challenges include the newness of the position, the low business priority of diversity, unrealistic responsibilities, and insufficient data collection. Jackson explains that this suggests “more effort is needed to position CDOs for success.”

He recommends that businesses make diversity and inclusion a key business priority, as well as empower CDOs with the authority and resources to implement comprehensive and successful strategies.

Read Jackson’s op-ed here.