Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Business Administration

First Advisor

Graham D. Bodie

Second Advisor

Marquita Smith

Third Advisor

Norris Edney


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



Conversations relating to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) have taken higher education communities by storm as several right-leaning states have recently banned Critical Race Theory and other DEI related topics from the educational curriculum. Nevertheless, several universities, including the University of Mississippi, have embraced DEI programming and initiatives in recent years in hopes of creating “equitable opportunities” for all community members. And while much of this work has been praised, it has also been met with criticism from external community partners.

The University of Mississippi must ensure that its DEI practices create meaningful, non-divisive spaces where all stakeholders remain engaged. With that in mind, this project explores DEI at the University of Mississippi, primarily through the investigation of the University’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DCE) signature programming to answer the following question: How do University efforts toward diversity, equity, and inclusion education and outreach help "create equitable opportunities for all" that also enable a campus climate that fosters healthy debate and dialogue rather than a climate marked by toxic polarization? This project conducts a critical thematic analysis of DCE external communications from 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 academic years to unlock trends in current practices and provide recommendations to foster more inclusive, non-divisive spaces for the University of Mississippi community, at large.

Available for download on Saturday, September 13, 2025