Diane Carpenter Emling Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Diane Carpenter Emling

Professor Emeritus
Northwestern Michigan College

I am retired from a 30-year career teaching sociology and serving as Department Chair and Academic Dean at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City Michigan. I grew up in Detroit, Michigan and earned my Bachelor's, Master's and PhD at Michigan State University. I am a facilitator for anti-racism, implicit bias and institutional racism training. I also frequently present on economic inequality and the changing patterns of income and asset distributions over time.


After growing up on the East Side of Detroit, I became a first- generation- college student at Michigan State University (MSU). As an undergraduate I enrolled in James Madison College (residential college, multidisciplinary study of public policy) and in the Honors College. My major within James Madison was race (and ethnic group) relations, and I graduated in June,1972.

While working on my B.A, I met a few sociology professors. Their analytic approaches and ways of thinking intrigued me. I wanted to learn more.I was accepted in the Sociology Department 's masters degree program, which I completed in 1974.

While working on my Ph.D., I took a full time job in Michigan state government's Department of Social Services. I began with an easy transition from academia, doing applied research, policy analysis, and later, into the fascinating political and technical details of budget development, negotiation and operation. Ultimately, I spent the last five years as the state-wide Director of the Office of Children and Youth Services.

Often the demands of work and family life drew me away from progress on my Ph.D. dissertation. I owe much to my major advisor, Dr. Barrie Thorne, who would not let me slip away. If she hadn’t heard from me or received new chapters in awhile, she would call and get the dissertation back on my plate. I finished that degree in 1981, while teaching occasionally at MSU's James Madison College.

In early 1987, a friend called to urge me to apply for an open position as the only sociology professor at Northwestern Michigan College, in Traverse City, Michigan.  I was offered that position to begin Fall 1987.  In retrospect, it is amazing that everything fell into place. My husband was transferred to an open position in Traverse City, we sold a house and bought another, and most importantly found a preschool placement that met our expectations, for our then-four year old.

Thus began a 30-year career teaching sociology at Northwestern Michigan College, with time out for a five year appointment as Dean of Liberal Studies. In those years as Dean I was responsible for converting our curriculum from a quarter to a semester system, led a college-wide intensive study of our curriculum and graduation requirements, and negotiated changes to the Core Curriculum.  We also negotiated partnership agreements with several universities to bring bachelor’s completion and master’s degree programs to Traverse City

While teaching I had the opportunity to be involved with several human service and educational programs doing applied research, training, and serving on some Boards of Directors.   Over the years there have also been a variety of local and state-wide social justice initiatives to contribute to.

After 30 years of teaching, I concluded I was ready to retire and bring some new blood into the Sociology Department. I still teach one sociology class/year and remain involved in many community agencies and initiatives. We have taken the time to take some international trips, and after retirement is when I finally wrote the book that had been in my head for years!

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    History of institutionalized racial inequality in the United States
    Social stratification, inequality and poverty in the United States
    Political Economy and privatization of the public sector
    Public policy: Human services; child welfare; public sector budgeting
    Outcomes-based applied research

Personal Interests

    Music (vocal and instrumental)
    Reading (always!)
    Red Wings hockey
    Spartan (MSU) sports


Featured Title
 Featured Title - Institutional Racism and Restorative Justice, Emling - 1st Edition book cover


Diane Emling conducts anti bias training

By: Diane Carpenter Emling

Implicit Bias, Anti-Racism and Institutional Racism training and presentations have included Leelanau County Board of Commissioners, Leelanau County Road Commission, Child & Family Services Board of Directors, and Traverse City St. Francis Catholic Church Peace and Justice Program and Central Methodist Church (Traverse City) class on "White Fragility", by Rrobin DiAngelo.

Journal of Blacks in Higher Education features "Institutional Racism & Restorative Justice"

By: Diane Carpenter Emling

The December 18, 2019 issue of "Journal of Blacks in Higher Education" notes Emling's book Institutional Racism and Restorative Justice - Oppression and Privilege in America as among the recent books of interest to African American Scholars.

Listen to Dr. Emling's interview by Dr. Frank Fear, for his blog "Under the Radar"

By: Diane Carpenter Emling

On April 27, I had the privilege to be interviewed by Michigan State University Professor Emeritus Frank Fear, for his blog: Under the Radar. He asked some fascinating and important questions about my book "Institutional Racism and Restorative Justice: Oppression and Privilege in Ameerica".

You can listen to the interview with this link: