Frequently Asked Questions


What is shared equity leadership? 

The shared equity leadership model is a collaborative approach to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion, with an emphasis on shared decision-making, representation and continuous learning. Adrianna Kezar, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Southern California researched and created the shared equity leadership approach. Learn more about the model by visiting the diversity, equity and inclusion resource hub for CU Boulder students, staff and faculty. Please note that the hub requires a campus identikey login.

How does shared equity leadership apply to CU Boulder? 

The model guides CU Boulder’s efforts to advance diversity, equity and inclusion, ensuring that responsibility for positive change is shared, transparent and reflective of the campus’s strategic priorities, including fostering an inclusive campus that supports the academic and career goals of all students, faculty and staff.

Who is responsible for implementing shared equity leadership at CU Boulder?

Neither one office nor one individual can create sustainable and structural change on our campus. Practicing leadership requires everyone to contribute positively to realizing the university’s commitments with intentional, accountable strategies. The CU system of four campuses has a strategic plan, and CU Boulder administrative and academic units have created diversity, equity and inclusion action plans with assessments.

Who is involved in shared equity leadership at CU Boulder? 

Academic and administrative unit leaders provide core leadership for advancing diversity, equity and inclusion at CU Boulder, and the Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion supports them and the entire campus with unique, unit-based coaching, consultation, expertise, materials, resources and other capacity-building services to meet the needs of each unit’s students, faculty and staff. 

How can I get involved with shared equity leadership at CU Boulder? 

Students, staff, faculty and administrators can get involved by committing to learning and building their skills, embedding and demonstrating skills in their work, and contributing to positive change for an inclusive campus climate. There are all sorts of ways to be involved, including participating in diversity committees, attending training sessions and providing input during office or organization meetings. 

Are other institutions using the shared equity leadership model? 

Yes. The University of Southern California developed the model and included research on its implementation at Foothill College, Montana State University, Penn State-Abington, Rutgers University-Newark, Texas A&M University-San Antonio, the University of Michigan, the University of Richmond and Westchester Community College.

Defining Success

How would success be defined or measured at CU Boulder? 

Success needs to be defined within individual units through developing and establishing desired outcomes for specific areas. In addition to consistent assessments, implementation of the model will depend on unit-level objectives and goals. 

How does shared equity leadership shape campus decision-making? 

Advancing diversity, equity and inclusion is everyone’s responsibility at CU Boulder under the shared equity leadership model. Decision-making is collaborative and inclusive, involving input from diverse constituents to ensure that a variety of perspectives are considered. This approach values the contributions of students, staff, faculty and administrators and fosters a sense of shared responsibility for the success of the campus’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.  

What roles do accountability and transparency play in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion through this model? 

Self-accountability is required of all leaders and campus community members, and transparency is a cornerstone of the shared equity leadership model. Leaders at all levels are accountable for evidencing progress on CU Boulder’s five diversity, equity and inclusion goals. To meet their unique goals, academic and administrative units have created their own action plans and assessments, which are publicly available on the action planning dashboard

How does shared equity leadership affect the work of deans, chairs, directors and other academic leaders? 

All campus leaders are expected to advance CU Boulder’s strategic priorities. The shared equity leadership model underscores the expectations we have of leaders to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in their own areas. This requires leaders to work on their personal journeys, to demonstrate certain values and to enact specific practices centering systemically disadvantaged group experiences. 

Can or should academic and administrative units develop their own shared values or use those within the shared equity leadership framework?  

The shared equity leadership model provides foundational guidance about values but should not be interpreted as an all-encompassing tool. While integrating the model, units may uncover additional values that are not specifically included in the framework.