The Multicultural College Recruitment Summit was described by attendees as “a watershed moment that can be translated into exponential gains if we understand its implications for diversity and inclusion.” Representatives from the seminary and 10 U.S. Nazarene colleges and universities met “to reflect and help ourselves and our denomination recruit, retain, and nurture a greater number of minority people groups in our colleges and universities.” The Task Force met in February 2004 and again in January 2005 to dialogue and communicate specific recommendations to provide quality education for all our people, regardless of race, class, or economic status.
Presidents of the seminary and several universities, along with multicultural program directors, minority recruiters, and enrollment officers from each campus, worked to connect new initiatives with minority inclusion actions already in place on our campuses. They agreed to meet again each year to report strategies and plans and to hold each other accountable to carry through their commitments.
The group presented a report with diversity and inclusion agenda items to the International Board of Education for its February 2005 meeting. A new statement was suggested for the IBOE missional review of each campus, urging that campus self-studies include evaluation of minority recruitment and retention issues.
The report was well received, calling for inclusion and diversity discussions with international participation to be a part of the International Higher Education Council (IHEC) of presidents meeting at the General Assembly in 2005 in Indianapolis. Multicultural educator Dr. Herma Williams, vice-provost of Gordon College, Wenham, MA, was the keynote speaker for the IHEC Conference. A panel of the College Recruitment Summit participants was influential in affecting the nearly 100 global leaders in attendance.
Nazarene educators believe our move “toward an inclusive community” is a work in progress. Each Recruitment Summit member reports what is happening on their campus, sharing inspiration, encouragement, and fresh ideas which others can adopt.
All 10 institutions have responded positively to recommendations which move toward an inclusive community, beginning with the suggestion to form a working campus task force. Point Loma Nazarene University has re-invented a more broadly based task force and added a student group called Mosaic.
Institutions were encouraged to collaborate with Nazarene institutions internationally in addressing diversity issues. Northwest Nazarene University has connected with degree programs and computer sciences at Africa Nazarene University, Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary, Korea Nazarene University, along with other programs in Costa Rica, South America, and Eurasia.
Institutions were requested to articulate a theology of inclusion. Northwest Nazarene University stated: “We believe that all people are a part of God’s mosaic. As Christians we recognize God’s desire that people grow to understand, appreciate, and celebrate the ethnic and cultural variety that makes up the Kingdom; therefore, at NNU we will act intentionally to build and strengthen relationships with people of color at the university and in our community.”
Institutions were encouraged to set measurable goals for increasing diversity. Point Loma Nazarene University has targeted a diversity enrollment program for 25% of undergraduates and 35% of graduates. In addition, they set a goal of moving diversity employment of staff to 22% and faculty to 14%.
Institutions were asked to include a dialogue on diversity management. All 10 schools agreed with the statement: “We need to view diversity management as a three-legged stool: culture, finances, and academic support.”
by Jerry D. Lambert