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College of Doctoral Studies

Center for Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Research

Innovative research supporting human capital and driving organizational growth

Research Chair: Dr. Kimberly M. Underwood

Senior Research Fellow: Dr. Sandra Sessoms-Penny

Senior Research Fellow: Dr. Joy Taylor

About the Center

The Center for Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Research (CWDIR) serves as the research home for faculty, students and alumni who have an expressed interest or have an existing research agenda related to the topics of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) in workplaces and communities of practice.

As diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) research encompasses a broad range of possible research topics, the Center brings together scholars across various disciplines to support existing research agendas and generate new and innovative ideas for future research and scholarship.

The Center seeks to create a progressive community of scholarship by providing collegiality, support and resources to faculty, students and alumni. Opportunities for research are cultivated and supported in a variety of ways within the Center, including establishing direct affiliation with the Center and its articulated research and scholarship agenda, serving as an advisor or contributor or serving as a Fellow-in-Residence for the Center.

For more information on research and scholarship opportunities or Center membership, please email us directly at

You can also complete the CWDIR Membership Request form for membership consideration.

Dr. Kimberly Underwood

Research Chair

Dr. Kimberly Underwood

Dr. Kimberly Underwood has over two decades of experience in the areas of diversity and inclusion leadership, strategic planning and project management, professional development and training, teaching, consulting, research, university accreditation leadership, and higher education administration. 

Dr. Sandra Sessoms-Penny

Senior Research Fellow

Dr. Sandra Sessoms-Penny

Dr. Joy Taylor

Senior Research Fellow

Dr. Joy Taylor

The Center for Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Research (CWDIR) has a dual mission to:

  • Support the growth of existing and developing research and scholarship agendas aimed at addressing vital topics, issues and challenges within diverse organizational cultures and inclusion strategies
  • Close the gap between academia and industry through intersections of problem finding and problem solving, academic scholarship and practitioner engagement plus theoretic analytics and practical implementation

The vision of the Center for Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Research (CWDIR) is to be the leading generator of impactful research-based publications and presentations that lead to practical and innovative solutions for healthy, all-inclusive organizational cultures.

The Center for Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Research (CWDIR) serves as a conduit for the dissemination of groundbreaking and innovative research findings from UOPX faculty and student scholars to stakeholders interested in gaining theoretical and applied knowledge for the purpose of supporting diverse organizational cultures and creating all-inclusive working environments.

Goals for the Center for Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Research (CWDIR) include:

  • Creating a center of choice for a community of scholars interested in diversity and inclusion research and scholarship
  • Supporting members in the dissemination of their research and scholarship through academic presentations and publications
  • Providing resources to enhance the skills of faculty and students to conduct research and generate scholarship related to the latest essential topics in the field of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB)
  • Building a broad and shared collection of scholarship through close partnerships with business leaders and other stakeholders

CWDIR Fellows in Residence

The Fellows in Residence role has been designed to usher in the potentials of like-minded researchers who desire to become part of the research enterprise. The Research Centers implemented the voluntary role in 2020, and has since grown the cadre of fellows who work within each center. We continue to invite those who are interested in becoming fellows to reach out to each center for more information.

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