Walla Walla University follows the biblical instruction, holding in our philosophy that every person is created in the image of God as a being of inestimable value and worth. This belief leads us to oppose barriers that separate people from opportunities. We strive to provide every student and employee a safe environment and an atmosphere of inclusion in harmony with the mission of Walla Walla University.
Therefore the university maintains an Office of Diversity, led by an individual who reports directly to the president and sits on the president's cabinet. Our diversity efforts focus on preparing students and employees to challenge inequality by teaching and modeling cultural competency throughout our university community.
Our commitment in action
Walla Walla University is on an important journey, one that brings focus to our mission statement, which affirms that “every person is created in the image of God as a being of inestimable value and worth.”
Last April, WWU president John McVay announced eight areas of diversity focus that the university would immediately pursue in keeping with its mission. Since then, students, faculty, and staff have developed implementation steps and measurement opportunities for each of these areas:
- Modifications to curriculum, both inside and outside our classrooms, to support diversity education.
- Expanded diversity education for university faculty and staff.
- Policy and procedure revisions to remove barriers to progress in diversity.
- Improved feedback mechanisms for our campus family.
- Recruiting enhancements that will attract diverse students, faculty, and staff.
- Regular diversity conversations and engagement with stakeholders.
- Assessment and annual reporting through a diversity scorecard.
- Increased resources and staffing committed to diversity-linked events and roles.
This plan, called Our Commitment to Diversity, is being shepherded into action, and progress will be reported annually. “The specifics of the plan aren’t just talk; they are an important foundation from which the campus family can take positive, deliberate, measurable steps toward fostering a more diverse campus community—the kind of community that inspires creativity and compassion and that develops young professionals equipped for a diverse world and future,” says McVay.
Pedrito Maynard-Reid, WWU assistant to the president for diversity since 2008, says, “Our university family has committed to fostering a respectful and durable pattern of diversity that will enrich each individual, strengthen Walla Walla University, and bless the world we serve. This plan is our roadmap and holds us accountable as we work to provide every student and employee with a safe environment and to model an atmosphere of inclusion and harmony.”
The mission of the Office of Diversity is to promote learning and working environments free of discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, ability, or veteran's status. The Office of Diversity WWU exists to:
- Meet the particular needs of a diverse student population.
- Educate the college community on matters of diversity.
- Foster understanding and constructive relations among members of this diverse community.
- Support and encourage recruitment of faculty, staff, and students from diverse backgrounds.
- Encourage understanding and respect for differences in culture, ability, and thinking patterns.
- Direct/coordinate programs and activities that provide an inclusive and Christ like spirit among groups, clubs, and organizations of WWU.
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Hispanic Heritage Month (October)
In October we gather for a special campus-wide assembly celebrating Hispanic heritage. This program is a joint effort between Hispanic Ministries, LatinX Club, the Hispanic fellowship of faculty and staff, and the Office of Diversity.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January)
This annual, day-long celebration is the largest event in the region honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Special speakers are invited to this event who advocate for social equity. In the evening we join with Whitman College for an MLK Jr. Day march through downtown Walla Walla and a candlelight vigil.
Peacemaking Week (January)
This week is dedicated to promoting peace through presentations, panel discussions, and a vigil. This is done in cooperation with Adventist Peace Fellowship.
Black History Month (February)
Black History Sabbath: One weekend in February is dedicated to the celebration of Black History. This includes a special vespers and church services that celebrate black culture through music and message. This event draws visitors from throughout the region who come to join us in celebration and sing in a mass gospel choir. Watch the 2018 Black History Sabbath service >
Black History CommUnity: As a campus we gather for a special assembly to celebrate Black History.
Women’s History Month (March)
Women’s History Month is celebrated through film screenings, book readings, and open mic opportunities.
There are numerous organizations on campus that celebrate diverse cultures and promote issues related to diversity:
Asian and Pacific Islander Club (APIC)
Asian and Pacific Islander Club provides fun-filled events for students, faculty and staff related to Asian and Pacific Islander culture and heritage.
Every Sabbath during the school year a group of student leaders and faculty/staff sponsors organize and produce a church service in the Berean style with a worship team and guest speakers.
Black Student Christian Forum (BSCF)
BSCF is a social club open to all students that focuses on fellowship, entertainment, and getting involved. Lead by a dedicated and hardworking team, the club puts on many events such as BBQ's, Christmas parties, picnics, and more.
Center for Educational Equity and Diversity (CEED)
The Center for Educational Equity and Diversity was established to increase research and improve practice on issues of diversity and equity in the School of Education and Psychology. It is a center founded to interact with the public, both on the WWU campus and the greater Walla Walla Valley community. Learn more about CEED >
Led by the university's chief diversity officer, Diversity Council meets monthly and is comprised of key university leaders, elected faculty and staff; student leaders; and community members. The council regularly receives training, holds an open forum yearly, provides guidance for annual organizations and annual events, and develops a strategic plan, updated and reviewed at least yearly by the president’s cabinet and Board of Trustees. Learn more about Diversity Council >
Donald Blake Center
The Donald Blake Center promotes academic research through annual conferences featuring keynote speakers who are leading academics on subject matter related to the study of race, ethnicity, and culture. Learn more about the Donald Blake Center history and upcoming events >
A student-led ministry out of the Chaplain's Office, Hispanic Ministries plans a weekly worship.
The Associated Students of Walla Walla University (ASWWU) employs a student diversity and wellness officer who reports directly to their president. This officer facilitates the Inclusive Committee, comprised of students, which discusses issues related to inclusion and diversity within ASWWU. Learn more about ASWWU's diversity and wellness initiatives >
LatinX Club is a campus club that promotes interests related to Hispanic cultures in Latin America; provides opportunities to experience these cultures through music, food, and fellowship; and promotes goodwill within our local communities.