Date of Award

January 2021

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Charles S. Hausman

Department Affiliation

Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership

Second Advisor

Andrew W. Place

Department Affiliation

Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership

Third Advisor

Charles E. Myers

Department Affiliation

Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership


Strategies to recruit and hire faculty and staff of color to the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s population levels have continued for 57 years. From Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to the Kentucky Plan in 1982 to the Strategic Plan for Kentucky Higher Education from 1982 to 1995, to the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education’s 2010-2015 Policy and Framework for Institution Diversity Plan to its current 2016-2021 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policy. Despite five policy implementations, a problem still exists in recruiting and hiring faculty of color at associate-level colleges in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.The need for public community colleges in Kentucky to intensify their effort to recruit and hire this demographic is evident. However, current data and trends do not reflect the current CPE policy mandates. According to Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Systems (IPEDS), from 2016-2021, there were 1,596 total faculty and staff working in the 16 Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) colleges yearly. Six percent of the total comprise Black/African American, Latinx, American Indian/Native Alaskan, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and two or more races. Five years after CPE DEI Policy implementation, it remains at 6%. The research was essential to address deficiencies in CPE and KCTCS initiatives that mandate each institution to recruit and hire more faculty of color over five years. The formal and informal experiences of HR directors at associate-level colleges to increase recruiting and hiring percentages of color to the CPE mandates created the study’s foundation and analysis. Five human resource directors from KCTCS colleges participated in the phenomenological research study in December 2020 to examine why the phenomena faculty of color percentages were not increasing as the policy intended. The interviews targeted the policy and its impact on recruiting and hiring faculty of color to meet statewide mandates. Data were collected and analyzed from structured interview questions. The study revealed that HR directors are working hard to achieve DEI goals. Still, there is a systemwide failure to implement consistent policy and procedures to expand faculty of color at associate-level colleges in Kentucky. Four major themes emerged from the interview data. The themes were 1) CPE's DEI percentage mandates are unrealistic given the population totals in which these colleges serve, 2) there is a lack of funding from KCTCS to recruit and hire faculty of color to the same level of students, 3) KCTCS office needs to hire a person to help recruit and hire and hire faculty of color at both urban and rural colleges, and 4) KCTCS office personnel needs to change their traditional ways of thinking when it comes to DEI issues. The findings add validity and significance to why this demographic is vital to associate-level colleges' overall success in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Both entities need a concrete policy to address these inadequacies in the system’s policy. A Pathway to Professoriate Action Plan (Appendix A) was created by the researcher to address these institutional shortcomings. Faculty of color make a significant impact on every level of higher education, and this impactful study provided relevant evidence to support this decades-long conclusion.