Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Thesis Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs

Committee Chairperson

Orkideh Mohajeri, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dana Morrison, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jacqueline Hodes, Ed.D.


The goal of diversity work is to institutionalize diversity while deconstructing systems abusing power and privilege. With the ever-growing racial divide amongst groups of different identities, which is growing at an alarming rate within our current U.S. political climate, gaining allies is crucial to the institutionalization of diversity. In this paper, I propose a growth mindset as a method of changing diversity-adverse individuals into proponents of diversity. I will describe the historical and current context of institutions of higher education in the United States perpetuating and dismantling systems of oppression. The key concepts guiding my thematic concern are theories about institutionalization, institutional racism, institutional whiteness, and institutionalizing diversity. My programmatic intervention utilizes my personal experience, challenge by choice, contact theory, Outdoor Adventure Education (OAE), and experiential learning. Using these theories and guiding concepts I will construct a link between discomfort and growth as a way to reframe the mindsets of diversity-adverse individuals.