Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

July 27, 2000

Whitworth Receives Grant to Promote Diversity, Community

The rationale to diversify has moved beyond simply eliminating clear race and gender discrimination: It now embraces a complex understanding of how diversity is integral to educational experience, according to a 1999 report from the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

"Increasingly, campuses understand that they must graduate students prepared to thrive in a multicultural and interdependent world. A robust and strong democracy depends on it," the report states.

Whitworth has received a two-year, $75,000 grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to assist the college's longstanding effort to support diversity on campus and better prepare its students for effective citizenship. Whitworth has provided $25,000 in matching funds.

Since 1994 the foundation, through its Pluralism and Unity Program, has provided grants to colleges and universities that are willing to thoughtfully address issues of diversity and social cohesion within the frame of their own institutional histories, circumstances and goals.

The goal of Whitworth's grant-funded Culture and Community Project is to promote the college's understanding of cultural differences and to increase its ability to participate in a culturally diverse society through institutional planning, curricular infusion, faculty development and community collaboration.

Some of the project activities include redefining multiculturalism and diversity in terms of general education curricula; conducting symposia on diversity and community; establishing an interactive website to link Whitworth with diversity efforts at other Hewlett-funded institutions; establishing a Diversity and Community Advisory Board comprising local community leaders; and developing multicultural learning and mentoring opportunities.

"This grant comes at a perfect time - just as the college is revisiting its general education goals and curriculum in its continuing attempt to refine how best to equip its graduates for life in the world," says James Waller, professor of psychology and co-director of the project with Doug Sugano, associate professor of English.

"The resources provided by the Hewlett Foundation will help us focus our attention on the twin values of diversity and community, while also enabling us to establish links between the local, diverse communities and Whitworth College," Waller says. "Though the grant period is limited to two years, it will have much longer-term consequences for Whitworth and our surrounding community."

Contacts:

James Waller, professor of psychology, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4424.

Doug Sugano, associate professor of English, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4212.

Julie Riddle, public information specialist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729.

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