Announced in June 2020, Ohio Wesleyan’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Action Plan is intended to create meaningful and immediate change on campus. These actions, focused on four key areas, involve making positive changes to:
- The structure and policies we use to strengthen equitable and inclusive practices.
- The ways we deliver our core mission of teaching and learning.
- The ways we recruit and retain students and employees.
- The measures we use to ensure that our campus climate affirms clearly and boldly the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
To share suggestions for additional Action Plan updates, please use the DEI Improvement Form.
Last updated March 30, 2021
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan
Structure and Policies
- Students, faculty, and staff who have been the subject of, or a witness to, concerning incidents are encouraged to use the Campus Climate Report form to report their concerns. The Campus Climate Support Team receives the report and strategizes how to provide support along with a University response.
- The Office of Multicultural Student Affairs maintains the University’s Campus Climate reporting options and encourages all students, faculty, and staff to share any concerns about the campus climate that impact the living and learning environment.
- Please note: The Campus Climate Report form is not a substitute for immediately calling the OWU Public Safety Department (740-368-2222) or Delaware Police Department (911) as quickly as possible after an incident of intimidation or harassment to help law enforcement intercept any suspects.
- In addition to the antiracism commitment of each member of Ohio Wesleyan’s senior leadership team, Dawn Chisebe serves as the University’s interim chief diversity officer and Jason Timpson as director of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs. Dawn and Jason are providing important leadership in all of this DEI and antiracism work, including increasing diversity-focused student programming in OMSA and other departments, and increasing support of student advocacy.
Department of Public Safety
- Public Safety is putting together initiatives to help address concerns stemming from recent harassment incidents suspected of being perpetrated by individuals outside the campus community. Those initiatives include a new SafeGuard program utilizing students to provide evening campus safety patrols and escorts, as well as additional outdoor cameras in targeted areas of campus to help in investigation efforts. We anticipate starting the SafeGuard program within the next couple of weeks and having cameras installed within the next 1-2 months.
- Public Safety is developing and implementing a comprehensive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Plan for the department, which includes an external review of its operations. The plan includes four main components: training and development requirements for Public Safety staff on DEI competencies, a policy and operations review using external qualified consultants, stronger data analysis efforts and reporting transparency, and a focus on relationship development efforts between Public Safety and the campus community.
- Dr. Simone Drake, the Hazel C. Youngberg Trustees Distinguished Professor and Department Chair of African American and African Studies at The Ohio State University, has worked with Public Safety to listen to student concerns, review Public Safety policies and protocols, assess Public Safety training efforts, and develop recommendations to further DEI efforts within the department.
- We have instituted a number of policy revisions regarding when law enforcement assistance should be requested by Public Safety staff. Per our new policies, those circumstances include:
- Criminal matters outside the scope and authority of OWU’s non-sworn Public Safety officers, such as responding to illegal usage of controlled substances, when someone is observed committing a crime, or when a criminal act appears imminent (such as a car break-in).
- Mental health or wellbeing concerns when a Public Safety officer believes the person may pose a threat to themselves or others and is refusing medical assistance.
- A threat to the campus community that requires immediate intervention and that cannot be safely de-escalated or resolved at a later time (such as someone possessing a lethal weapon).
- Hazardous environmental conditions posing a threat to the campus community.
- When requested by campus officials in response to a known or perceived threat (that is, conduct beyond the control of the University, such as a riot).
- For matters not requiring an emergency response, Public Safety officers must contact the Director of Public Safety, the Associate Dean for Student Success, or the Dean of Students before calling for law enforcement assistance.
- Law enforcement should not be requested under these circumstances:
- To address alleged University policy violations that do not meet the circumstances above.
- To de-escalate nonviolent situations involving OWU community members.
- To address incidents based solely on identities such as race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, or ability.
- The Public Safety staff has completed the Racial Equity Institute’s (REI) Groundwater course. Additionally, Public Safety staff will be attending the REI Phase One two-day course over the summer. The training is designed to develop the capacity of participants to better understand racism in its institutional and structural forms.
- A Student and Public Safety Advisory Committee is being established. Advised by the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, this committee will be student-led and will advise the department on important Public Safety issues and policy revisions.
- The new hire process for Public Safety Officers has been updated to include representation from students and faculty during interviews. The officer job posting also was rewritten to encourage a more diverse candidate pool.
- We have established a process for students to petition for a free parking pass if they are unable to afford a B or C pass and for whom a free D pass is insufficient. We also have established a process for students who have a temporary or permanent mobility issue to be provided with designated parking locations closer to the buildings they need to enter.
- We are working within the Five Colleges of Ohio to strengthen our ability to identify and source from diverse and minority suppliers. We will be discussing this engagement at every monthly meeting of the Chief Financial Officers of the Five Colleges. We are hopeful that we can learn from each other’s experiences and share best practices for procurement policies and for opening up sourcing to minority suppliers across the colleges. At Ohio Wesleyan, we are well underway in our process of reaching out to our vendors to obtain baseline information regarding whether they are minority-owned businesses, and we are capturing our levels of expenditures broken down by those classifications. In addition, recent construction bid documents specified that at least 10% of project costs must be obtained through minority participation.
- We also have joined the Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council and begun using the database of State of Ohio-certified minority-owned businesses in our search for contracted services.
Office of Human Resources
- The University is in the final steps of hiring our next Director of Human Resources. This leadership position will be critical to our success in fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion at OWU, and we are excited that our selected candidate has significant skills and experience in creating welcoming climates for all persons.
Office Multicultural Student Affairs
- Efforts are progressing to open our new Multicultural Center on the second floor of Hamilton-Williams Campus Center. Furniture is being ordered soon, and offices will be relocated in the weeks ahead. The center will be housed in the office suite now occupied by Residential Life, which will move to offices on the opposite side of Crider Lounge.
Teaching and Learning
- We have instituted DEI training for OWU employees, which includes training to understand implicit bias, develop language tools for clearer campus communication, and understand how dominant culture norms can manifest in the workplace. The online training modules will be taken by all OWU employees, search committees, and students this spring. Many departments already have completed the training and follow-up discussions to address any questions. All new students and employees will complete the module series as part of their orientations to OWU.
- In addition, 50 employees completed the three in-depth workshops in March, also followed by smaller group discussions led by members of the DEI Council. These workshops will be completed by additional cohorts in the future, with the ultimate goal of including all employees.
Faculty Equity Fellows
- Ohio Wesleyan has created a faculty development teaching initiative that supports a cohort of 25 faculty, known as Equity Fellows, through a seven-month reading series and a set of curriculum workshops to retool a course to make it equitable and inclusive.
- The Board of Trustees, which oversees OWU at the highest level, has formed the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee, a standing committee of the Board, which is being chaired by Myron McCoy ’77. The Code of Regulations states: “The Committee shall review and evaluate purposes, policies and programs of the University, including strategies for creating a climate that is welcoming and supportive, through the lens of diversity, equity & inclusion and the work of Anti-Racism. The Committee shall meet periodically with representatives of diverse and potentially marginalized communities at OWU, including students, faculty, and staff, to engage in dialogue about their experiences at OWU.”
Recruitment and Retention
Faculty Hiring (Focused Cohort)
- We are continuing with the hiring of our 10 new tenure-track faculty. They are being hired as a cohort with a particular focus on flexibility and interdisciplinarity as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion. These hires get us close to the faculty count of 100 approved by the Board of Trustees. The required emphasis on DEI offers the possibility to significantly enhance diversity within our faculty.
- DEI Emphasis in Positions: Many positions have a DEI focus or speciality including African American literature position in English; Social justice and inclusive/applied Theatre positions in Theatre; Elementary Education position that includes Teaching for Equity and Social Justice in Education; Art History position that includes specialties in African and/or African Diasporic, Latinx and/or Latin American, and/or Native American history of art, and/or interest in socially engaged and community-based practices in Art; and an Africana, Gender, and Identity Studies position. All other positions include language in job advertisements encouraging DEI experience, courses, interest, etc.
- DEI Emphasis in Hiring Process: All job advertisements contain inclusive language to build the largest funnel for a diverse pool. This new advertisement language highlights OWU’s anti-racist and equity commitments, describes our location (including Columbus) and benefits, and features an expanded EEOC statement. For the first time, all applications will contain not only a statement about teaching but also a statement about the applicant’s DEI philosophy, teaching, practice, and work with students. New web pages have been built highlighting DEI community-based resources in our region and a landing page describing our Ohio 5 and GLCA consortia signaling our wider BIPOC faculty communities for incoming faculty. Newly created OWU affinity groups for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ faculty also are listed on the website. All job advertisements will be posted in at least one if not more DEI-focused academic professional organizations and/or sites. New processes have been constructed to post the “multiple position job advertisement” in as many DEI-focused academic professional organizations as possible.
- DEI Training in Hiring Process: Department chairs, departments, and DEI search inclusion advocates will receive anti- and implicit bias training. Search committees will receive support and workshops throughout the entire job process on equitable hiring practices including creating inclusive job advertisements, selecting candidates for interviewing, best practices in interviewing, inclusive virtual “on-campus” interviews, and then post-hire inclusive onboarding.
- Members of the Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are serving as representatives in the peer groups for all open faculty searches.
- In the recruitment of staff, our search and hiring procedures now have mandatory pre-search meetings with hiring managers and search committees to aid in the development of plans for the active recruitment of diverse populations. As appropriate to the position being searched, applicant materials and interviews include questions relating to applicants’ engagement with diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
- Before reviewing and selecting candidates for new positions, staff search committees are taking specialized DEI module training series.
- We have joined the Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC), a national organization committed to inclusive excellence in hiring, retention, and advancement of faculty and staff from historically excluded populations.
Supporting Diverse Faculty and Staff
- We recognize that retention of faculty and staff representing diverse populations is very important and needs attention. To this end, the Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has organized two groups that will meet regularly to provide opportunities for rest, relaxation, collegial support, and fun. Bishops of Color will include faculty and staff of color, and the Mosaic OWU Faculty & Staff Group for OWU’s faculty and staff who are part of LGBTQIA+ community/ies.
- A new Accessibility Committee, led by Doug Koyle (Associate Dean for Student Success), is forming and will assist the University in identifying opportunities to increase access for individuals across campus. This committee will work as a subset of the larger Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council.
- OWU has launched our JED Campus Partnership, a national initiative focused on improving college students’ mental health. The Healthy Minds survey was distributed to students this semester, and the results will help form the basis of a four-year strategic plan to improve the University’s support for students with mental health needs.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Grants
- We have begun awarding our new DEI Grants, which allow students, faculty, and staff to apply for funds for projects that support OWU as an antiracist space. The first-ever grant, awarded to Reese Little ’22, supports a program to help underserved high school students learn more about investing in the stock market and provides them with funds to use. Additional awards are forthcoming.
- Grants are overseen and awarded by the Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, with preference given to proposals that involve multiple individuals from multiple organizations and/or departments on campus.
- Grant proposals may include potential policy/program analysis, curricular changes/course development, small-scale survey work, creative works, or community conversations leading to evidence-based, actionable recommendations for specific change, clear benefits, or small-scale pilot implementation.
Enrollment and Communications
- The Office of Admission is working to secure and apply scholarship funds to help meet the financial need of accepted students of color. In mid-March, we awarded the Charles Thomas Scholarship to a select group of incoming students who applied with support from the college access group or community-based organization with which they are affiliated. The Thomas Scholarship honors the pioneering Black student-athlete who overcame intense racism to compete and star on the OWU baseball and football teams from 1903-05. Thomas inspired Branch Rickey, who later helped integrate Major League Baseball.
- We are holding focus groups at least two times a year with current students of color to ensure appropriate messaging and representation of our community in marketing and recruitment materials. We are planning to meet with another group in April.
- We are continuing to strengthen relationships with community-based organizations that serve and support marginalized students in their pathway to college. This work is ongoing and includes inviting leaders of community-based organizations to the Ohio 5 virtual program to be held in June.
- We are incorporating a Leadership Summit for marginalized students into our on-campus recruitment events, promoting honest discussion of relevant, timely topics and providing opportunities for students to develop leadership skills. The program will be held virtually April 11 and is titled “A Discussion on Diversity and Inclusion: A Workshop for Future Leaders.” We have invited accepted high school seniors of color to join us, and we are reaching out to counselors for nominations of high school juniors who would be interested in engaging in this dialogue with faculty, students, and an alumni presenter.
- We are expanding our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion by being test-optional for all students in consideration for both admission and scholarships. (This change was implemented in fall 2021.)
- We have begun a dialogue with City of Delaware officials, the Delaware Police Department, and local business owners to improve the neighborhood climate for students of color. We are embedded within the City of Delaware, and city streets run throughout our campus. Delaware Police have a responsibility to keep these streets and our neighborhood safe, and we have the responsibility to work with them to understand our campus community and protect our students and help them feel safe.
- The Delaware MLK Committee and OWU pre-recorded a panel discussion featuring local leaders and activists discussing “The Way Forward” in today’s national climate. This annual event also is responsible for raising funds for the MLK Scholarship fund for Delaware students.
- OMSA continues to offer many programs throughout the spring semester that provide opportunities for education, support, and recognition of our diverse campus community. Those events will be advertised through the OWU Daily, and are available on the OMSA website.
- The Council for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has created a DEI Book Discussion Group for faculty and staff. The group will meet twice a month to read and discuss a DEI-related book. This semester’s book is Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson. The plan is to continue the book readings in the summer, too.
- The Five College of Ohio is offering a Weathering Challenges Together Conversation Series for all faculty and staff to discuss COVID-related challenges. The series includes specific conversations for BIPOC faculty and staff, those living with disabilities or extended illnesses, those living alone during the pandemic, and others who have multiple caretaking responsibilities.
Fraternity and Sorority Life
- Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) members have been involved this spring in a number of sessions pertaining to important DEI topics. On March 6, as part of the Summit Series Kick-Off, Melanie Bullock Harris (Director of the Center for Leadership at Elon University) led a session on “Inclusive Leadership,” with a leader from every FSL organization participating. Additionally, on February 27, 85% of the FSL community participated in “Catalyst for Change,” led by Jason Timpson (Director of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs). At this event, Jason provided a 30-day challenge to attendees to demonstrate three things their organization has done to show a commitment to belonging, justice, and equity, and to demonstrate two things each individual in their chapter has done to show a personal commitment to the same. Jason will be checking back with each chapter for updates.
- The Leaders in Letters Series has launched, which involves five leaders from each chapter in the following programming:
- February 23: Activism: Mobilization towards Transformational Leadership
- This session explores the following questions: What does it mean to be a leader in social justice as a student? How can students understand their desire for social change as a way not only to shift societal norms but the understanding of what it means to be a leader on campus? How has race played into who has become campus activists and the responses to their activism? How can you identify resources to mobilize others and create an agenda for transformational campus and social change?
- March 29: IFC Leaders in Letters: Mr. Incredible, the Mandalorian, and Explorations of Media Masculinity
- Contemporary popular culture models demonstrate the expansion of possible masculinities while creating compelling stories that begin to dismantle stereotypes. By establishing representations of men that center rationality, these mediated masculinities can offer critiques of the dominant, limiting, and toxic pattern of masculinity. This conversation will explore the constructions of masculinities and the impact of those images on individual gendered experiences, offering participants the opportunity to evaluate masculine gendered norms.
- Two-part series: March 16 and March 23 Panhellenic Leaders in Letters: Dismantling White Supremacy: In Ourselves, In Our Families, In Our Communities
- The United States of America is built on white supremacy. This system was developed to benefit a few while exploiting many. Over time, this system has evolved but remains true to its roots. This series will define white supremacy, explore its roots, encourage self-reflection, and demand action.
- The Sexual Assault Prevention Climate Survey was recently distributed to all students, faculty, and staff members. This survey is part of a national assessment effort to better understand additional educational programming needs, improvements needed to our response and support efforts, and experiences individuals have on campus regarding sexual misconduct. Please be sure to complete the survey by clicking on the link provided via email to you.
- The department has completed its full student-athlete inclusion training with Dr. Tomika Ferguson. Approximately 400 student-athletes participated in the training. The post-survey results showed positive feedback from students, with around 90% giving a "strongly agree" or "agree" answer to questions including:
- As a result of attending the training, I have learned specific terminology related to equity, inclusion, and antiracism.
- As a result of attending this workshop, I understand actions I can take to build an inclusive athletics team and athletics community.
- I understand what implicit bias means.
- I understand what a microaggression is.
- I understand what it means to be an ally.
The DEI committee is now working with a post-training discussion document provided by Dr. Ferguson to adequately prepare coaches to have further dialogue and discussion with their teams. We also received valuable feedback from the post-survey to help guide us in what training opportunities our student-athletes are looking for in future sessions.