Dr. D-L Stewart headshot

D-L Stewart

Professor; Dept. Chair - HED

What I do

I research issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) in U.S. postsecondary education in three areas: 1) how DEIJ has shaped the history and philosophy of U.S. higher education; 2) how higher education serves as a crucible for the learning, development, and becoming of minoritized college students and their experiences; and 3) how institutions of higher education (dis)engage with issues of DEIJ in organizational policy, practice, and processes. My focus is largely on Black and African American, transgender, and non-binary students and those who live at the intersection of those identities and other identities and social locations such as dis/Ability, social class, and religion/faith/spirituality.

At the University of Denver, my teaching often engages these same issues in addition to teaching focused on the foundations of research methods in the social sciences and qualitative methodologies. My research and teaching are informed by critical and post-structural frameworks such as Critical Race Theory, intersectionality, queer theory, Queer of Color Critique, and ableism. In doing so, in company with bell hooks (z''l), I seek to amplify the voices, experiences, and knowledges of those on the margins, bringing them to the center of learning, scholarship, and praxis.

I devote myself extensively to university and professional service, often aligned with my areas of expertise. I also work collaboratively with units, institutions, and other organizations who are striving to realize greater manifestations of equity and justice in their communities, systems, and processes. I am also an active member of my local communities.


higher/postsecondary education, diversity, equity

Professional Biography

I am originally from New York City, NY where I grew up in the Village of Harlem. I moved to the Midwest for college and received my Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, from Kalamazoo College (Michigan) in Sociology & Anthropology with a concentration in Economics. Thereafter I moved south to Ohio where I first worked professionally in multicultural student services before returning to earn my Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy from The Ohio State University in Higher Education and Student Affairs and Educational Administration and Higher Education, respectively. I joined the academy as a faculty member upon completing my doctorate, beginning as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs at my graduate alma mater (2001-2002) before joining the tenure-track at Ohio University (Athens) where I was Assistant Professor of Higher Education in the Counseling and Higher Education Department from 2002-2005. I then joined the faculty at Bowling Green University, serving there from 2005-2017. I would then move to Colorado State University (2017-2021) as Professor in the School of Education and Program Co-Coordinator of the Student Affairs in Higher Education Program and core faculty in Higher Education Leadership. I joined the Higher Education Department in the Morgridge College of Education at DU in Fall 2021 as Professor and Department Chair.


  • Ph.D., Educational Administration and Higher Education, The Ohio State University, 2001
  • MA, Higher Education and Student Affairs, The Ohio State University, 1998
  • BA, Sociology/Anthropology, Kalamazoo College , 1995

Professional Affiliations

  • Association for the Study of Higher Education
  • ACPA-College Student Educators International
  • American Educational Research Association
  • NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education


I endeavor to be a critical and poststructural scholar and educator focused on empowering and imagining futures that sustain and cultivate the learning, growth, and success of minoritized groups in U.S. higher education institutions. My work is informed by an intersectional framework that recognizes both the lived experiences of individuals with multiple marginalities, as well as the material effects of interlocking systems of oppression. I am most interested in the philosophy and history of higher education, institutional transformation toward realizing equity and justice, and how higher education environments function within society and as a crucible for the learning and development of minoritized student, staff, and faculty populations.

My research projects have focused on identity development and faith for Black college students; minoritized students' self-reported non-cognitive gains in college; and, narratives of Black college students between 1945 and 1965 in Midwestern historically white small private colleges. I am also part of a research team examining gender in college admissions. I have two forthcoming research projects. In the first, I am leading a research team to apply a conceptual typology I developed for understanding diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice in higher education as operationalized in university strategic plans. The second project will explore how youth exiting secondary education learn, grow, and become across contexts, including postsecondary education, the workforce, and other settings.

My scholarship broadly has included conceptual writing about trans students in cisgender-centered postsecondary environments; religion, faith, spirituality, and secularity; the philosophical foundations of U.S. higher education; qualitative research methods; and, issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in U.S. higher education. These research and scholarly foci have produced four books, 55 articles and 37 chapters, as well as 158 invited and refereed presentations receiving funding from 10 internal and external grants.

Areas of Research

history and philosophy of higher education
qualitative research methodology


Stewart, D. M. (2021). A college's responsibility to its community in the face of a litany of Black death. Professional Issues Conference. Virtual: Henry Ford College.
Stewart, D. M. (2020). Addressing anti-Blackness, racism, and white supremacy. Unapologetic Educational Research: QualLab Webinar Series. Virtual: College of Education and Human Ecology/The Ohio State University.
Stewart, D. M. (2020). Advancing equity and justice. Bastian Lecture. Virtual: Westminster College (UT).
Stewart, D. M. (2020). Lessons from the past for transforming higher education today. Cynthia S. Johnson Institute Plenary. Virtual: California State University, Long Beach.
Stewart, D. M. (2020). Moving from here. Solutions Network Summer Convening. Virtual: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Stewart, D. M. (2021). Hauntings: The afterlife of segregation on campus. Black Lives Matter Engaged Art Installation. Virtual: Colorado State University.
Stewart, D. M. (2020). Episode 8. Critical Policy Conversations Sei. Virtual: Dr. Erik Felix.


  • Contribution to Knowledge Award, ACPA-College Student Educators, International
  • Senior Scholar, ACPA-College Student Educators International