Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Whitworth's Commitment to Diversity
As a leading Christian institution of higher learning, Whitworth University seeks to educate and prepare students to "honor God, follow Christ, and serve humanity." In accord with this core mission, we seek to model Christ's love across racial, ethnic, gender, socio-economic, religious and other expressions of human difference.
Whitworth recognizes that a diverse community is central to our mission as a liberal arts university committed to educating critical thinkers, discerning moral agents, and responsible democratic citizens. Engaging people with differing experiences and perspectives serves to sharpen the mind, deepen the heart, and quicken the soul.
Therefore, given the critical role diversity plays in the life of the university, Whitworth is committed to delivering a mission-driven educational program that cultivates in students, faculty, staff, and trustees the capacity to work effectively across the myriad dimensions of the global family. Our goal is to achieve and sustain a level of inclusive excellence throughout the life of the university that emphasizes the deep truth, love and grace of the Gospel.
Whitworth University is focused in its resolve to create and nurture environments for learning, working, and living throughout the campus community where people of diverse backgrounds can effectively and constructively engage each other as we educate the next generation of leaders.
Programs, Initiatives and Events Planned for Academic Year 2020-21
Whitworth University's Diversity Action Plan developed in 2018 includes three major goals:
- Develop, implement and assess strategies to provide professional development and training in intercultural competency and inclusive excellence for faculty and staff to promote a safe, affirming and welcoming campus climate.
- Develop, implement and assess strategies for effective recruitment and retention of students, faculty and staff from underrepresented racial/ethnic populations (UREP) and historically marginalized and/or underserved groups.
- Develop, implement and assess curricular and co-curricular strategies to advance student learning outcomes in the area of intercultural competency development.
In our continuing effort to achieve the Diversity Action Plan goals and in support of a national call to address racism and racial justice in our nation, the university is implementing the programs, initiatives and events listed below this academic year. Although this is not a comprehensive list, it does highlight the range of efforts being conducted to fulfill our institutional commitment to being an inclusive community.
Professional Development of Faculty and Staff
- The Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion will implement a DEI professional development series for faculty and staff focused on race and anti-racism. The series will consist of eight workshops emphasizing action steps and practical strategies to address racism and develop an anti-racist community.
- The DEI office will offer mini grants to staff and faculty for DEI projects focused on developing intercultural competency.
- Residence life will conduct trainings on DEI and cultural competency for resident assistants and area coordinators.
- Several departments such as athletics, admissions and student financial services, institutional advancement, and campus safety will hold DEI trainings for their employees.
- The Office of Church Engagement is offering several programs to engage members of the Whitworth and Spokane communities in addressing racism and becoming anti-racists. These include the Reconciliation Calling Community, a gathering of people committed to the biblical work of justice and reconciliation who primarily read books together and listen to the stories of others who are different from them, and an Anti-Racism Alliance, a gathering of white people working to identify racial blind spots for the purpose of becoming better allies to BIPOC.
Recruitment and Retention of UREP Students, Faculty and Staff
- The offices of DEI and Student DEI will strengthen the structure and processes of the Multicultural Students Advisory Council by tightening their connections to it.
- The admissions office is establishing long-term relationships with community-based organizations in each of its recruiting areas so it can continue to strengthen the recruitment and support of UREP students.
- The DEI office continues to strengthen the training on implicit biases and best practices for search committees. This year we will develop a pool of trained equity advocates to serve on search committees, in addition to the trainings we offer to members of search committees.
- We will conduct trainings for supervisors on implicit biases during performance evaluations.
- The Student Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Office continues to offer the BUCS Bridge program, which supports UREP and first-generation students through an intensive pre-orientation program and monthly programming with peer guides. The office also continues to offer the Act Six scholarship program and support services for international students.
Curricular and Co-Curricular Strategies to Advance Students' Intercultural Competency
- The new shared curriculum has specific DEI student learning outcomes addressing power and privilege. It also increases the possibility of students taking not just two but three courses that address DEI.
- In addition to ongoing efforts by different departments to develop more inclusive curricula, four faculty members of different departments will be supported through a new program to review their departmental offerings and develop a plan to diversify and make more inclusive their respective curriculums.
- There will be several co-curricular opportunities to develop intercultural competency, such as a DEI speaker series focused on race and anti-racism; a six-session series on "Democracy in America: Our Common Purpose at Whitworth and Beyond," which will engage the community in conversations about our common purpose as a democratic nation; and an eight-week series for interested students to engage in an Equity & Justice Dialogue Forum.
- The Dornsife Center provides opportunities for students to develop intercultural competency through several of its programs, including Teach the Movement and Community Engagement Advocates.
- Campus ministry staff will be preaching on the gospel of Luke at Chapel Community Worship this year and directly addressing topics like, "Jubilee and God's Restoration of the Outcasts," "The Lynching of Jesus," and "Zacchaeus: Love for Oppressors and Transforming Systemic Inequality." Campus ministry also offers several opportunities to engage in different DEI programs such as Black Girl Magic, a gathering of women of color, and the Women Ever Rising Bible study group.
- The Revs. Lauren Taylor and Stephy Nobles-Beans will develop a regular podcast on race and faith, and the Rev. Forrest Buckner, dean of spiritual life, will hold regular student discussion groups on challenging topics (e.g., race, faith and politics). These groups are designed for students who identify as white and are looking for an entry into asking questions about race, racism and Christian faith.
- The Student Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Office will hold a series of student trainings on anti-racism strategies, inclusive excellence and community building. The office will also continue to hold Diversity Monologues and Top Chef.