WWU Affirms Commitment to Diversity

August 05, 2020 | Education | Kim Strobel

As Walla Walla University begins the 2020–21 school year, the university affirms its commitment to diversity. This commitment informs life on campus from policies and procedures to activities inside and outside the classroom and is in keeping with the WWU mission statement, which states that “every person is created in the image of God as a being of inestimable value and worth."

More than a decade ago the university established the role of chief diversity officer called the assistant to the president for diversity. This position is held by Pedrito Maynard-Reid, who leads the WWU Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the important work of the university to support equality. This work is outlined in the WWU Our Commitment to Diversity plan, which notes eight areas of diversity focus that include support for diversity education and training for students, faculty and staff; enhancements to recruiting to attract diverse students, faculty and staff; regular diversity conversations and engagement with stakeholders; and assessment and annual reporting through a diversity scorecard.

At the beginning of the 2020–21 school year, Maynard-Reid outlined several areas of focus on diversity that will lead the university into fall quarter. These include:

  • Working with local civic groups, government officials and law enforcement agencies to discuss safety concerns related to race;
  • Working closely with the other two colleges in the Walla Walla Valley to address diversity concerns on campuses;
  • Conducting research about race in the Walla Walla Valley that can inform future conversations;
  • Working closely with organizers of Black Lives Matter Walla Walla on projects and events in the community that address the relationship of the community to indigenous groups and people of color.
  • Providing resources in the region on issues related to diversity through the WWU Donald Blake Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Culture and the WWU Center for Educational Equity and Diversity;
  • Facilitating positive relationships on campus through affinity groups, such as the WWU Black Faculty and Staff Fellowship, the WWU Latinx Faculty and Staff Association and the WWU First Nations Club;
  • Facilitating opportunities for diverse groups to worship together on the WWU campus through ministries such as the Berean Fellowship, Spanglish Church and the Black Student Christian Forum;
  • Providing cultural intelligence training for all WWU employees and requiring routine training for employees that covers topics such as collaboration skills for diversity, building a supportive workplace community, accommodating employees with disabilities, and recognizing and addressing workplace bullying;
  • Enhancing the curriculum to address issues of race, diversity and inclusion;
  • Working with other Seventh-day Adventist colleges and universities on joint efforts to combat racism.

“Walla Walla University seeks to provide a home away from home for our students that allows them to feel safe and supported in every pursuit during their time here,” says Maynard-Reid. “We are proud of what we have accomplished in recent years and continue to expand our efforts to ensure that diversity remains a top priority at Walla Walla University. We will continue to listen; we will act; we will change and be change-agents.”

To learn more about the WWU commitment to diversity, visit wallawalla.edu/diversity.