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.

September 25, 2023

Academic Affairs Division

Faculty Cohort

  • For the third consecutive year, Ohio Wesleyan pursued a cohort/cluster hire to enhance the diversity of its faculty and curriculum and to foster innovative approaches to interdisciplinarity and pedagogical flexibility.
  • Academic Affairs completed the hire of nine tenure-track faculty for 2023-2024 in the following areas:
    • Biological Sciences (Microbiology)
    • Chemistry (Biochemistry)
    • Economics and Business (Entrepreneurship)
    • Environment and Sustainability (Earth Sciences)
    • Fine Arts (Art History)
    • Journalism and Communication (Mass Communication)
    • Performing Arts (Theatre)
    • Sociology and Anthropology (Criminology/Criminal Justice)
    • World Languages and Cultures (Classics)

Faculty Handbook

  • Academic Affairs is implementing new requirements of the Faculty Handbook, including equity-related policies such as the importance of transparency and fairness in all faculty status matters, relevance of DEI in teaching, anti-harassment policies, and equity in parental leave. The handbook was revised with the guiding principles of  being “strategic, current, equitable, and clear.”

General Education Curriculum

  • A total of 442 of OWU’s 448 first-year students are taking at least one Core Competency course, part of the new General Education requirements. A total of 236 first-year students are enrolled in 12 sections of the First-Year Seminar, approximately 52% of the incoming class. The remainder will take it in spring. Part of the new General Education Curriculum includes “Competency” requirements and areas related to difference, equity, and belonging that are deeply integrated into the courses and curriculum. The First-Year Seminar, which is problem-based, also incorporates DEI as integral to critical thinking and analysis both as framework and content.

Athletics Department

  • The NCAA Diversity and Inclusion Week is coming up in the third week of October, and the department is working with the Ohio Wesleyan Athletic Committee (OWAC) to create a plan for the week to be led by our student-athletes/teams.

Council on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

  • The DEI Campus Book Club read a number of books over the summer and is currently reading Making the MexiRican City: Migration, Placemaking and Activism in Grand Rapids, Michigan written by Dr. Delia Fernández-Jones.
  • The Fall DEI Viewing Series is the Netflix and UNESCO series African Folktales Reimagined.
  • The Council also continued training workshops in collaboration with Destiny Coleman and The Woltemade Center for the center’s scholar programs.
  • Continued to coordinate Bishops of Color and Mosaic – faculty and staff affinity groups – which meet over the semester. Bishops of Color will meet with President vandenBerg at the end of the semester.
  • Supported the second annual Black Wall Street event in coordination with the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA), The Woltemade Center, and the OWU Connection Conference.
  • Planned DEI Author Talk with Dr. Delia Fernández-Jones in coordination with the Palmer Global Scholars Institute, OMSA, Viva, and LA CASA.
  • Created the first annual Calabash celebration in coordination with Palmer Global Scholars Institute, OMSA, Black Student Union (BSU), and Sisters United. The upcoming event will celebrate the cultures that make up the African Diaspora, centering those in the African continent and the Caribbean.
  • DEI Grants
    • Anya Robinson and Yewoinhareg Kebede earned grants in September to support their travel to the Women Evolve Conference in September 2023 to learn about the intersections of Blackness, feminism, and Christianity.

Enrollment and Communications Division

Affirmative Action

  • The division has taken steps to ensure Ohio Wesleyan is compliant and following proper procedures given the recent ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • The race/ethnicity field has been suppressed from all applications.
  • Counselors will continue to review applications holistically, evaluating merit and extracurricular activities to ensure we enroll a well-rounded incoming class.

Recruiting Historically Underrepresented Populations

  • Ohio Wesleyan continues to make strong inroads with community-based organizations (CBOs) to boost visibility in Greater Columbus, specifically in Delaware and Franklin counties. 
  • Ongoing partnerships with the I Know I Can and Chicago Scholars community-based organizations have yielded numerous students, many of whom are first-generation. 
  • The Admission team continues to promote the Dr. Charles Thomas Scholarship, which has made college a reality for many students from underrepresented backgrounds.
  • The team is embracing the “no stone left unturned” mantra to be as visible as possible while participating in more college fairs and high school visits year after year.
  • OWU’s enhanced recruitment strategy will allow counselors to travel to more than 20 U.S. states while continuing to own the University’s growing “backyard” market.

Finance and Administration Division/Human Resources Office

  • Staff are serving on the OWU DEI Council and supporting DEI initiatives.
  • They also are participating as a planning team member for OWU Gospel Lyres Alumni Homecoming reunion and concert.
    • Collaborating with Advancement, Admission, OMSA, and Chief Diversity Officer to forge alumni/student connections at and beyond the reunion.
    • Collaborating with OWU BSU President Yewoinhareg “Yoyo” Kebede to build student and alumni engagement at and beyond the reunion to strengthen student efforts to revive Gospel Lyres and Sisters United.
  • Serving on the OWU Staff Council.
    • Planning staff recognition program for spring semester.
  • Pursuing compensation consultation proposal for staff compensation project initiative. Project to include market analysis to assess current staff pay to market data, establish a multiphase plan to address any market gaps identified, and create staff pay ranges/job families to strengthen OWU’s recruitment efforts and improve staff retention.
  • As a part of a larger benefit strategy, Human Resources (HR) is planning extensive benefits education programs for the remainder of the academic year in preparation for the next plan year.
  • HR also is facilitating employee and supervisor training on the importance of performance feedback as a tool for employee performance.
  • As 504 Coordinator, partnering with the Accessibility Office and Public Safety on student access issues.
  • Continuing to host new hire Meet-and-Greet events.
  • Continuing to partner with OWU Strengths Finder Strategic Team.

Student Engagement and Success Division

Chaplain’s Office

  • The office oversaw the annual Interfaith Baccalaureate Service in May for the graduating class that celebrates the spiritual journeys of students at OWU.
  • It also participated in the Interfaith Leadership Summit in August.
    • Hosted by Interfaith America.
    • Seven students and two chaplains attended.
  • Started the OWU Meditation Circle for students, faculty, and staff.
  • Supported a student in the national Building Interfaith Leaders Initiative (BILI) Fellowship hosted through Hebrew College.
  • Planning for the Leaders Across Borders Workshop in October in conjunction with Office of International and Off-Campus Programs (IOCP), which will bring together 21 students from 17 GLCA and GLAA schools at the Corrymeela Center in Northern Ireland for training in leadership, conflict management, and cross-cultural dialogue. (The program is being planned and executed by Lisa Ho, Chad Johns, and Michele Nobel.)

Residential Life

  • The office provided Resident Assistant/Moderator Training for 43 students.
    • DEI training with Jason Timpson (OMSA).
    • Title IX and sexual harassment response training with Emily Paetz (Student Integrity and Community Standards).
    • Bias incident response training.
  • It also provided professional staff Title IX training for three staff.

Office of Multicultural Students Affairs

  • The office provided OWjL DEI Training.
  • Attended the National Conference on Race & Ethnicity.
  • Held the Summer Bridge Program.
    • Alumni connections
    • Drum circle
    • Hip Hop dance
    • Grad school conversations with University of Louisville faculty
  • Held the Welcome Week Drag Show.
  • Helped with the Global Majority Block Party.
  • Created atrium decorations for Hispanic Heritage Month.
  • Arranged a Mariachi Band performance.
  • Provided support for students interested in the Divine Nine (collaboration with SIO).
  • Planned National Coming Out Day.
  • Helped with the Delaware MLK Breakfast Committee.
  • Continued to provide trainings and DEI-focused events.
    • DEI training with Advancement
    • NFO: DEI-focused teaching and programming
    • DEI training for Camp Leaders and Residential Life
  • Advised student organizations.
    • Black Men of the Future (primary advisor)
    • Sisters United (primary advisor)
    • Black Student Union (secondary advisor)
    • Battling Elite Stars (secondary advisor)
    • VIVA (secondary advisor)
  • Participated in professional development.
    • Webinar: Basic Counseling Skills for Higher Education Professionals
    • DEI Council
    • President’s Council
    • Rest for Resistance: Burnt Out Activist Club
  • Provided Wrap-Around Care.
    • Purchased winter clothing (hats, gloves, scarfs)
    • Achievement Mentor Program
    • Pride flags around campus

Department of Public Safety

  • Public Safety Officers attended a Mental Health First Aid course to improve overall response to mental wellness calls for service.
  • Assistant Director Christopher Mickens serves on the DEI Council and the President’s DEI Advisory Committee.
  • The department also launched a paratransit vehicle and program in August. The vehicle is the first of its kind in recent OWU history to be dedicated to increasing access for wheelchair users and students with mobility challenges. The paratransit program received $25,000 in funding for student drivers.
  • It also is sending new Public Safety officers through the Racial Equity Institute (REI) Groundwater and Phase One 16-hour course.

Student Involvement Office

  • The office developed the Nancy Bihl Rutkowski Leadership Fellowship Curriculum in collaboration with Erin Huffman-Richard. Incorporated DEI components into the curriculum.
  • It also hosted the Student Involvement Fair on Aug. 31 with over 60 student organizations including National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) organizations.

University Advancement Division

Program Updates

  • OWU Advancement staff has taken the lead among GLCA colleagues to incorporate the topic of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) in quarterly discussion groups.

Fundraising Updates

  • Shirley Paden-Bernstein made a $1 million gift to support first-generation college student scholarships, the OWU Bridge Program, and the annual giving program.
  • Collectively, the Board of Trustees provided more than $1 million to establish the Rock Jones and Melissa Lollar Jones OWU Connection Endowment to honor his leadership and dedicated service to OWU. This fund supports international travel opportunities for first-generation or low-income students, removing financial barriers that may keep a student from participating in an international travel experience.
  • Professor Randolph Quaye, Ph.D., was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to teach and study in Tanzania.
  • GLCA awarded the University the Global Crossroads grant in support of OWU Leaders Across Borders. The program is an international cross-cultural leadership training program for OWU and other students with the goal of breaking down boundaries created by nationality, socio-economic status, faith, traditions, race, and ethnicity.
  • Several grants were applied for and received in support of underrepresented students' attendance at the summer OWjL camp for talented and gifted middle school students.
  • OWU has applied for a third round of grant funding from the Ohio Department of Higher Education’s Choose Ohio First (COF) grant, which provides scholarship and programming support to Ohio STEM students, with a preference for support of students from underrepresented groups. OWU’s latest grant request is $1.2 million and decisions are expected in December 2023.

Career Connection Updates

  • OWU is participating in the Ohio Pathways to Undergraduate Computing Success. One major element of this program is to develop targeted and welcoming pathways for women by establishing women in computing student organizations, programming, and faculty and staff development. The STEM Career Catalyst is working with computer science/data analytics faculty members on this initiative.
  • The OWU Connection supported first-generation experiences in Denmark and Germany to examine the first-generation experience in America compared to experiences in European countries.
  • The OWU Connection supported students with over $35,000 in career, travel, research, and service grant funds.
  • Representatives from the OWU Connection serve on the first-generation advisory committee.
  • The OWU Connection is working in partnership with the new Bishop Elevate Office to bring connection experiences to first-generation students.
  • OWU is part of a new National Science Foundation-funded consortium of 15 Ohio colleges and universities created to support students seeking to study computer science, especially women and minorities historically underrepresented in the field. Industrial partners such as necoTECH (headquartered at the Delaware Entrepreneurial Center at OWU) will be used to create meaningful job shadowing and internship experiences for students. Additionally, the grant supports student program support, faculty development, advisor workshops and training, and recruitment materials for Admission counselors.

April 25, 2023

Academic Affairs Division

Faculty Cohort Hire

  • This is the third year in a row in which Ohio Wesleyan has pursued a cohort/cluster hire to enhance the diversity of its faculty and curriculum and to foster innovative approaches to interdisciplinarity and pedagogical flexibility.
  • To date, six faculty have been hired for 2023-2024 in the following areas:
    • Biological Sciences (Microbiology)
    • Economics & Business (Entrepreneurship)
    • Environment and Sustainability (Earth Sciences)
    • Fine Arts (Art History)
    • Journalism & Communication (Mass Communication)
    • Sociology & Anthropology (Criminology/Criminal Justice)
  • Performing Arts (Theatre Performance) campus visits have concluded and the search is wrapping up.
  • Dr. Paul Dean is coordinating the New Faculty Onboarding and mentoring for the third year in a row. He continues to explore ways to better support new international faculty as part of their onboarding.

Moving The Needle (MTN) Holistic Advising Module

Spring 2023 Accomplishment Highlights

  • Accepting applications for the Director of Holistic Advising position.
  • Working to explore peer advising/mentoring models.
  • Continuing work on Starfish, the online student success system.
  • Held a peer-mentoring event with First-Year Experience.
  • Hosted a focus group with current students about the current advising process.

Fall 2023 Aspirational Goals

  • Coordinate transition from current advising oversight and orientation to new Director of Holistic Advising role.
  • Move team to an advisory role with the Director of Admission.
  • Assist with holistic advising training for advisors.
  • Coordinate a peer advising event as part of the OWU Connection Conference.

Faculty Handbook Revision

  • The first comprehensive revision of the entire faculty handbook in over 60 years began in April 2022, following a Board of Trustees mandate in spring 2021 for a “complete review of the Faculty Handbook.” This monumental effort was based on the principle that the handbook be strategic, modern, equitable, and clear. Incorporating fairness and equity throughout the handbook in policy has been a consistent practice. A new handbook will be in place as of Aug. 1, 2023.

General Education Curriculum Implementation

  • Major project milestones for the General Education Curriculum Implementation (GECI) are updated on the GECI website. The wicked problems first-year seminar, competencies, and integrated OWU Connection requirement all have been designed with student success and inclusive excellence in mind.

Global Liberal Arts Alliance LAB

  • OWU has received a $50,000 grant, funded by the Mellon Foundation through the GLCA Global Crossroads program, to organize virtual cross-cultural communication and intercultural reconciliation training in summer and fall 2023. This will be followed by a retreat at the Corrymeela Center in Northern Ireland. Leaders Across Borders will bring together students from GLAA member institutions. For questions, contact

Athletics Department

  • OWU Athletics recognized Dr. Harriet Stewart at a ceremony on campus. Dr. Stewart’s passion, drive, and relentless pursuit of providing opportunities for women to compete in sports was finally recognized. “Dr. Stu” was honored with a plaque on the Selby Field wall of Athletic Directors for her service as the Director of Women’s Athletics from 1965-1977. 
  • The ceremony was followed by a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Title IX and Women in Sports at OWU. The celebration included remarks by OWU Provost Karlyn Crowley and alumna Dr. Robyn Morgan ’73, messages from current coaches and student-athletes, and a keynote address by former women’s basketball coach and faculty member Nan Carney-DeBord titled “What were the Senators Thinking?”

Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

  • Helped to plan and hold the inaugural Melvin Van Peebles Symposium to honor and celebrate Van Peebles’ life and legacy by providing a platform to review, study, and share the historical and contemporary impact of Van Peebles and how, through this examination, we might gain insights about broader political and cultural dynamics. The symposium also seeks to recognize emerging artists and artistry that extend Van Peebles’ radical tradition.
    • $7,000 sponsorship from PNC Bank
    • $3,000 Community Partnerships Sponsor from the Delaware County Foundation
    • $5,000 Ohio Wesleyan University DEI Grant
    • $5,000 Spark Grant through the Ohio Humanities Council
  • The DEI Campus Book Club read There, There by Tommy Orange over the semester. The book was read in concert with watching a number of documentaries on Native American history and activism.
  • Students, faculty, and staff watched the HULU Docuseries on the 1619 project over six weeks during spring semester. This was followed by a discussion on the docuseries.
  • Awarded a number of DEI Grants over the academic year.
    • Grants to students
      • Faith Deschamps to support her travel to South Africa, Lesotho and Eswatini, to study Black women’s health activism in Southern Africa.
      • Nuri Craig to support his travel to Southern Africa, where he will observe differences in how food is produced, marketed, and advertised in Lesotho.
      • Meredith Frymyer to support her work with the Fragua Memorial on campus. Once complete, she will bring powwow dancer Larry Yazzie to OWU.
      • Jemimah Chukwuemeka and Anya Robinson to support their travel to the Day of Reckoning Conference in Montgomery, Alabama, to learn about Black Maternal Health.
      • Marquel Henry and Dillon Shelton to support their travel to the National Community Reinvestment Coalition Conference in Washington, D.C.
      • Jada Respress to support her travel to South Africa and London to study Black journalism internationally.
    • Grants to faculty and staff
      • Eva Paris-Huesca, Jason Timpson, Adrian Moran, and Francine Butler to support the Melvin Van Peebles Symposium, exploring the life and legacy of Van Peebles ’53 and Black Arts.
  • Participated in the inaugural Delaware Equity Day in partnership with Project DREAMS through The Ohio State University. OWU led a workshop titled “Racial Equity 101.”
  • Assisted with the 30th Annual Delaware MLK Breakfast to support the Delaware MLK Scholarship Fund.
  • Participated in the For The Culture event involving the Chief Diversity Office, DEI Council, and Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA) that centered on Hip Hop and how it can be utilized in teaching and learning today.
  • Provided BIPOC Faculty Development on tenure and promotion with Dr. Valerie Lee.
  • Continued training workshops in collaboration with Destiny Coleman and The Woltemade Center for the center’s scholar programs.
  • Continued to coordinate Bishops of Color and Mosaic – faculty and staff affinity groups – which met over the semester. Bishops of Color will meet with President Jones at the end of the semester.
  • The Chief Diversity Officer and the Director of OMSA attended the annual conference of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education.

Enrollment and Communications Division

  • Working with Community-Based Organizations (CBOs)
    • OWU was selected to participate in the I Know I Can (IKIC) “College Readiness Program.” This pilot program is designed to expose Columbus City Schools students in grades 9-11 to higher education opportunities and resources, including campus life, academic, and scholarship resources.
    • Marion Franklin's visit to OWU.
    • Africentric Early College’s visit to OWU.
    • Walnut Ridge’s visit to OWU.
  • Dr. Charles Thomas Scholarship review and selection (larger cohort)
    • 33 winners
    • 17 deposits to date (52% yield)
  • Staff participation in the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Certificate (DEIB) Program offered by the Ohio Association for College Admission Counseling (OACAC), including four virtual professional development sessions.
  • Greenlight Match Newsletter sent to CBO counselors in mid-February, highlighting programs designed to support underserved student populations, such as OWU’s Summer Bridge Scholars Program and Dr. Charles Thomas Scholarship opportunities.
  • Continued partnership with Greenlight Match’s “direct admit” program for applicant batches in February and March, resulting in a review of 82 additional applications that OWU may not have received otherwise.

Finance and Administration Division/Human Resources Office

  • Improved search committee member engagement in DEI online training and modified search tools and processes for OWU Search Committee chairs.
  • Attended DEI virtual training suggested by OWU's Chief Diversity Officer and facilitated by the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE).
  • Attended 504 Coordinator virtual training in spring 2023.
  • Collaborated with Academic Affairs on the revised Faculty Handbook.
  • Partnered with Academic Affairs and International and Off-Campus Programs in creating/implementing a process to assess immigration support needs of faculty cohort candidates; participated in joint meetings to discuss specific needs of top candidates.
  • Worked with the OWU Staff Council on the STAR Award and the new OWU Partners in Service Award for individuals who support University initiatives but who are employed on campus by other partner organizations or are self-employed.
  • Began offering the Strengths Finder assessment tool to OWU staff through new-hire onboarding, Fall Health & Wellness Day, and Winter Professional, Personal Development Day. Seeking ways to expand the use of the information to strengthen the employee’s individual sense of belonging.
  • Partnering with the OWU Strengths Finder Strategic Team.
  • Continuing to support and serve on the University’s DEI Council. Attend and support DEI Council initiatives.
  • Continuing to collaborate with the Office of Accessibility Services on staff issues; provided support on job skills-related student issues.
  • Continuing to promote and strengthen campus knowledge of OWU Guiding Principles to unify campus work culture and strengthen work connections.

Student Engagement and Success Division

  • The Director of Public Safety is working on a proposal to acquire a paratransit vehicle to assist in transporting students, faculty, and staff with mobility issues around campus. The department is collaborating with University Advancement to research grant possibilities to fund the vehicle. In fall 2023, at least three students will use wheelchairs, including one dependent on a motorized chair.
  • Hired a Director of First-Gen Student Success to lead our new Bishop Elevate program. Thea Smekens will begin her work at OWU on June 1.
  • Established a DEI Committee for the division and launched a “Point to Ponder” poster campaign with DEI-focused messaging.
  • Improved division representation of people of color over the past few years, going from one at one point to six professionals currently.
  • Continuing to provide support and resolution processes related to the Campus Climate reporting system. Students, faculty, and staff are able to raise a campus climate concern through this system when they see or experience an issue or incident that they perceive to have a DEI component. Thirty reports have been filed so far this year, compared to 22 last year.
  • Office of Multicultural Student Affairs initiatives have included:
    • Donuts with OMSA staff
    • Black Magic Drag Show
      • A night of fun, songs, and dancing, hosted by drag queens in celebration of Valentine's Day.
    • Women’s Empowerment Coffee Event
      • In celebration of Women’s History Month, this event celebrated outstanding women in history and on the OWU campus. Two women leaders at OWU, Dr. Karlyn Crowley and Ms. Tenique Dennis, were invited as keynote speakers to share their journeys to leadership.
      • Guests at this event were able to engage in round table discussions on several topics centering on women in society.
    • Movies in Crider Lounge
      • This is a passive initiative with students watching movies during lunchtime. There is a wide selection of movies to choose from and this leads to discussions afterward, and sometimes nostalgic conversations about their favorite childhood films.
    • Lavender Graduation
      • Held April 23, Lavender Graduation recognizes the achievements of LGBTQ+ students and their allies. It is a time for the LGBTQ+ community to come together to celebrate their successes, honor their struggles, and inspire the next generation of leaders.
      • Graduating students receive Lavender graduation stoles.
      • Delaware Pride, a community organization that supports and advocates for LGBTQ+ rights and issues, attends this event and gives pride tassels to graduating seniors.
    • Multicultural Graduation
      • Held April 23, Multicultural Graduation celebrates the diversity and accomplishments of OWU students and recognizes the challenges they have overcome to achieve success.
      • Students receive graduation stoles and cords.
      • OMSA invites representatives from the community to participate in this event.
    • First-Gen Graduation
      • Held April 12, this event recognizes the unique challenges and celebrates the tenacity and success of first-generation students as they prepare to graduate.

University Advancement Division

  • Hosted a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) in Advancement Symposium for GLCA advancement colleagues in February. The symposium was supported by a CASE Venture Fund grant. In follow-up, the division is working to form a cross-institutional group for continued DEIB in Advancement conversations/work.
  • Raised an additional $1,752 for student DEI Grants through February’s We Are OWU campaign. Grant projects, such as a recent student project and presentation on Black maternal health, are shared with past grant donors as stewardship.
  • ●    Supported awarding over $45,000 to students who identify as members of an underrepresented community and who participate in career-related activities.
  • ●    Supported the participation of six first-generation students in on-campus first-generation internships, which helps to build close connections to additional resources on campus, expand their social and professional network, provide access to career workshops and programs, and increase their confidence and sense of future growth.
  • In partnership with the Melvin Van Peebles Symposium committee, supported the opportunity for alumni to participate in the symposium virtually as well as promoted the event to alumni, family, and friends community. Also helped underwrite alumni participation for the weekend.
  • In partnership with the Athletics Department, supported the Celebration of Dr. Harriet Stewart & 50 years of Title IX & Women in Sports at OWU. More than 50 alumni returned to campus and over 75 current student-athletes, coaches, and staff attended the April event.
  • Actively seeking grant funding opportunities for a paratransit van for OWU students that would enable students in wheelchairs to roll onto the van without having to transfer to seats. Students with less significant mobility issues or temporary mobility issues (such as athletic injuries) also would benefit from a paratransit van.
  • Utilizing funding provided by the Alumni Board of Directors to support the purchase of laptops to aid participants in the Bridge Program. The Alumni Board also will serve as bridge connectors working with students during the program and guiding them through the transition to college.
  • Working with a committee of alumni to support and facilitate a Black Alumni Reunion at Homecoming and Family Weekend 2023 along with the 50th anniversary Gospel Lyres concert.
  • Partnering with the Offices of Alumni & Family Engagement and Multicultural Student Affairs on an initiative that centers on support for historically marginalized students. The initiative will be piloted by the Alumni Board of Directors and focus on opportunities to provide mentorship, real-life navigation, resources, and real-world connections.

January 20, 2023

Academic Affairs Division

OWU Connection Conference

  • Black Wall Street – “Street Fair” featuring Black and minority-owned businesses in central Ohio. Opportunity for students to shop and network with entrepreneurs from underrepresented and underserved communities. Participants report strong attendance.
  • OWU Does Entrepreneurship – Including Kennedy Watkins ’25 presenting on her business, Gilded Teas, and her efforts to use the proceeds to support women and people of color in STEM fields.
  • Strong attendance numbers, especially among first-year students, suggest that OWU Connection opportunities were front and center for members of underrepresented communities. Over 45% of all first-year students attended one or more conference sessions and approximately 25% of the student-presenters were members of underrepresented / underserved / first-generation / BIPOC communities.

Career Connection

  • More than $50,000 in funding to underrepresented and BIPOC students to offset career-related expenses.
  • Successful launch of first-generation on-campus internship program.
  • Extensive roster of alumni partners representing communities.
  • Grant submitted through the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation facilitating career entry for first-generation students.
  • Partnering with JP Morgan Chase on internship program advancing career prospects for Black and Latino/a students.

Service Learning

  • Courses with substantial service learning component tied to issues of equity: Sociology/Anthropology 359: Social Inequality, students complete 35 service hours related to course reading/discussion plus journal entries and presentation required and Social Justice 390: Mentored Activism, students complete an experientially-oriented project under the mentorship of a social justice-affiliated faculty member.
  • 2023 Spring Break Service Programs include disaster recovery with SBP (formerly the St. Bernard Project) in Houston, Texas, and Puerto Rico, and an interfaith mission to the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, part of Lakota Nation, with the goal of rebuilding Lakota-Anglo relationships.

International and Off-Campus Programs (IOCP)

  • Staff attended the NAFSA: Association of International Educators Region VI & VIII conference in Pittsburgh, specifically the following sessions:
    • Tackling Racism with International Students
    • Queer in the World: Supporting LGBTQIA+ students abroad
    • Intercultural Development
    • Combating Implicit Bias
    • Refugees & Displaced Persons
    • Refining Education Abroad Scholarships
  • Jeremiah Anderson ’23, IOCP mentor and Gilman Scholar, awarded the Fund for Education Abroad’s NAFSA Tamara H. Bryant Memorial Scholarship ($5,000).
  • Promotion of CIEE’s Fredrick Douglass Fellowship, a four-week summer program with 12 exceptional student leaders of color who conduct a comparative study of social justice leadership in America, South Africa, and Ireland (spring and summer 2023).
  • Hired our fall 2022 Gilman Scholar to work in IOCP as a mentor to support future Gilman applicants.
  • Currently providing immigration/visa services and case support for seven faculty and staff; two other cases have been successfully closed this fiscal year.
  • Hired a new Assistant Director, whose focus will be on international student support and student and institutional immigration regulatory compliance. Vacant since 2020 because of the pandemic, the post was filled by Deanna (“Dede”) Shine, who previously served in this role. 

Cohort Hire

This academic year marks the third in a row in which Ohio Wesleyan has run a cohort/cluster hire to enhance the diversity of its faculty and curriculum. To date, four faculty have been hired in the following areas: Anthropology and Sociology (Criminology/Criminal Justice), Biological Sciences (Microbiology), Economics and Business (Entrepreneurship), and Environment and Sustainability (Earth Sciences). The Fine Arts (Art History), Journalism and Communication (Mass Communication), and Performing Arts (Theatre Performance) searches are ongoing and will be hosting finalists on campus in spring. The Education and Neuroscience searches have been paused and will resume in 2023-2024.

GLCA Reimagining International Education Summit (RIES)

International & Off-Campus Program (IOCP) staff along with staff from the Career Connection and Professor Vanessa Hildebrand (Sociology and Anthropology) participated in the RIES in Ann Arbor in October. Funded by the Mellon Foundation, the summit engaged GLCA member campuses in visioning exercises for long-term institutional planning with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion issues; environmental sustainability; and integration of the student experience into career planning. IOCP staff were part of the GLCA RIES steering committee. Institutional work will continue on the response plan for the RIES experience through summer 2023.

GLCA Global Crossroads Grand Challenge Grant

IOCP has received provisional approval to lead a GLCA program funded through the GLCA Global Crossroads program. Notification of final approval should be received in late January. This program will bring together students from GLCA institutions and members of the Global Liberal Arts Alliance to participate in virtual cross-cultural communication and inter-cultural reconciliation training in summer and fall 2023, followed by a retreat at the Corymeela Center in the United Kingdom, with which OWU has a long-standing relationship.

Collaborative Online International Education (COIL) Initiatives

OWU’s exchange relationship with Tohoku Koeki University (Sakata, Japan) continues. Throughout fall semester, students enrolled in Japanese courses taught by Professor Jun Kawabe interacted virtually with students enrolled in international communication courses led by Koeki’s Professor Ed Fec. These COIL experiences with Koeki started during summer 2020. OWU faculty also have COIL opportunities through the GLCA’s global course connection programs.

Council on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

  • DEI Campus Book Club read White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson over the course of the semester.
  • Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) Dawn Chisebe coordinated training with Destiny Coleman at The Woltemade Center to provide regular DEI training for their scholar program students.
  • OWU and the Delaware County Fund hosted the official book release and discussion by Kwame Christian on his new book How to Have Difficult Conversations About Race.
  • Collaborated with the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA) on the second annual Global Majority Block Party.
  • CDO and Director of OMSA Jason Timpson led training for the Inclusion Advocates sitting on Academic Search Committees for 2022-2023.
  • Bishops of Color and Mosaic – faculty and staff affinity groups – continued to meet over the semester. Bishops of Color met with President Jones at the end of the semester.
  • CDO, Director of OMSA, and Assistant Director of OMSA Sally Aluso continue to be members of the First-Gen Advisory Board.
  • CDO served on the Women of Wesleyan Panel on the Power & Importance of Language.
  • CDO, Director of OMSA, and University Chaplain Chad Johns served on the planning committee for the 30th Annual Delaware County Community MLK Breakfast and Celebration.
  • Global Majority Chess Lunch and Learn on Leadership and Chess in collaboration with OMSA.
  • Lunch & Learn with I Know I Can in collaboration with Admission.
  • All incoming first-year students participated in DEI training prior to the start of fall semester.
  • CDO serving as an Inclusion Advocate on an active academic search.
  • CDO serving as a member of Ohio 5 and GLCA DEI discussion groups.
  • CDO and Director of OMSA serving on the planning committee for the inaugural Melvin Van Peebles: Black Arts Symposium to be held in March and April 2023.
  • Assisting with For The Culture, an interactive program on the elements and history of Hip-Hop (February 2023) in collaboration with OMSA and Black Student Union.
  • Jada Respress ’23 received an OWU DEI Student Grant to study Black journalism in South Africa and London.
  • Jemimah Chukwuemeka ’26 and Anya Robinson ’26 were awarded the OWU DEI Student Grant to attend The Anarcha, Lucy, Betsey Day of Reckoning Conference from Feb. 26 to March 1 in Montgomery, Alabama. The event recognizes the historic inequities in Black women’s healthcare, focusing on the legacies of three enslaved women who underwent multiple gynecological surgeries without their consent in the mid-1800s.
  • CDO, Director of OMSA, Dr. Phokeng Dailey, and Dr. Ashley Kennard are leading a session on “Equity 101” at OWU as part of the first annual Day of Equity through Project DREAMS in Delaware County.

Enrollment and Communications Division 

DEI Workshops

  • February 2022 – Conducted training with the Admission team on Anti-Racist Institute (OACAC) and led a discussion as it relates to the historical context of systemic racism in higher education. Discussed how to combat traditional ideologies in recruitment and programming to attract and retain a more diverse student population.
  • April 2022 – Organized discussion with current OWU students on how BIPOC students feel about having a sense of belonging at OWU after watching a short documentary created by Anna DuSaire ’22 and supported by a DEI Grant.
  • August 2022 – Arranged for guest speaker Dr. Chinwe Okpalaoka to present at Admission retreat regarding successful retention and admission activity programs conducted at The Ohio State University.
  • August 2022 – Presented and conducted group discussion in relation to diversity activities within Admission with SWOT analysis.
  • August 2022 – Admission staff attended GLCA joint DEI Training Session;  commitment by GLCA to continue DEI-focused training twice each year.
  • September 2022 – Facilitated and led group discussion at "How to Have Difficult Conversations About Race" for program sponsored by OMSA and Delaware County Fund.

DEI Admission Recruitment Related Activities

  • Summer 2022 – Became member of Coalition for College, an organization that focuses on providing access to college to marginalized students.
  • August 2022 – Renewed partnership with College Greenlight, an organization that provides direct access to thousands of community-based organizations (CBOs) who primarily serve historically excluded students.
  • August 2022 – Expanded partnership with College Greenlight to include Greenlight Match – a direct admit program for students associated with CBOs, primarily in Chicago and Philadelphia.
  • August 2022 – Organized OWU's first Multicultural Information Session in collaboration with OMSA’s Global Majority Block Party.
  • August 2022 – Attended TRIO-Upward Bound College Fair in Detroit, Michigan.
  • August 2022 – Conducted college application readiness sessions with seniors at Cristo Rey High School in Columbus.
  • Fall 2022 – Participated in over seven sponsored I Know I Can (IKIC-CBO) Columbus City Schools Fairs.
  • September 2022 – Attended College Now College Fair in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • November 2022 – Organized meet-and-greet with IKIC Career Navigator, who conducted a session on campus with current OWU students (CCSD alum) to ensure continued success and retention of these students. *This program will be ongoing every semester.
  • November 2022 – Participated in East High School College Fair and conducted college application readiness sessions with juniors and seniors.
  • December 2022 – Organized campus visit by a group of East High School students to participate in OWU Visit Day.
  • December 2022 – Enhanced the Dr. Charles Thomas Scholarship Program. (Refined application process, continued commitment to awarding at least 20 scholarships, modified awarding structure to increase the financial benefit to students.)

Finance and Administration Division/Human Resources Office


  • Continue to assess, modify job ad placements in search of more diverse candidate pools.
  • Implemented enhanced contract with LinkedIn for professional position postings.
  • Modified OWU search committee DEI training requirement to ensure training is completed before committee begins review of applicant materials.

Employee Experience

  • Continue to focus on initiatives to improve the experience of employees in order to strengthen their sense of campus belonging, including enhancing the new hire experience and collaborating with OWU StrengthsFinder Committee:
    • Offering free Strengths assessment to all OWU employees through Fall Health & Wellness Fair; building on employee knowledge through the Spring semester Professional/Personal Development Day info sessions.
    • Planning 1 – Use Strengths in supervisor/leader training during 2023.
    • Planning 2 – Working with StrengthsFinder Committee on OWU Strengths strategic plan.

Additional Initiatives

  • HR Director Imogene Johnson serves as OWU DEI Council member.
  • Participated in the OWU First-Generation event in fall 2022.
  • Serving as an on-campus collaborator on the OWU alumni planning committee for Gospel Lyres 50th reunion event scheduled for fall 2023.
  • Assisting with Jan. 15-16, 2023, Martin Luther King Jr. campus events.

Student Engagement and Success Division

Chaplain’s Office

  • Collaborated on an Interfaith Speaker series with Residential Life.
  • Collaborated on a "For God so Loved the Gays" panel with the Interfaith House small living unit.
  • Co-hosted the annual Diwali service with Horizons (international student organization).
  • Attended the Building Interfaith Leaders Fellowship Gathering with a student fellow in, Washington, D.C.
  • Helped plan the 2023 MLK Jr. Celebration.
  • Participated in Culture Fest (display table and attendance).
  • Continued to support student religious life groups from diverse religious traditions (CRU, OMT, Hillel, Tauheed, Newman, Interfaith House) and early conversations about a new Hindu student group.

Student Involvement Office

  • “Leaders in Letters” events (fraternity/sorority life audience) on Oct. 27 and Dec. 1 focused on LGTBQ+ history and the holidays of underrepresented identities.
  • Sponsored Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October involving awareness flags, information tabling events, “Wear Purple Day,” and “Take Back the Night” event.
  • Student events planned by cultural organizations:
    • Culture Fest, Horizons
    • Chill in the Cave/ Movie Talk, Black Men of the Future
    • Barbershop Talk, Black Men of the Future
    • Ebony and Ivory: Masquerade Ball, Black Student Union
    • Homecoming House Party, House of Black Culture
    • 2022 BLACK CAUCUS HAUNTED HOUSE, House of Black Culture
    • Speaker Event: Mohawk Nation, We're Still Here, Indigenous Peoples Awareness Club
    • Día De Los Muertos, Spanish Club
    • VIVA Kickstart at La Casa, VIVA

Office of Multicultural Student Affairs

  • Achievement Mentor Pilot
    • This program provides participants with a built-in supportive community designed to assist their success as a Bishop. It is an additional resource to continue providing support, resources, and advising for Summer Bridge Program Scholars and other OWU students who have demonstrated significant need.
    • Five mentors this spring, involving study hours, syllabus planning, and required meetings with OMSA professional staff.
  • Major Events and Initiatives
    • Global Majority Block Party (September)
    • Drag Show (August)
    • Black Wall Street (co-sponsored with The Woltemade Center & the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer)
    • First-Gen Week (co-sponsored with faculty, Student Engagement and Success Dean, the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer, and OWU Career Connection)
    • Increasing the on-campus food pantry (with the Chaplain’s Office, Residential Life, and Community Service Learning)
    • Took a delegation of students to a national LGBTQIA+ conference
  • Updated Campus Climate Process
  • Maintained What’s Up Wednesday Weekly Newsletter 

Other Division Areas

  • Hiring a Director of First-Generation Student Success through the generous support of Tom and Susan Palmer, and will be creating a more robust array of support services for first-gen students in the coming year.
  • Supported efforts related to a First-Gen Celebration Week in November.
  • Esports program has a diverse array of students, including 51 men and 14 women (a relatively high percentage of women within the esports world), 11 international students, and four students who identify as transgender.

University Advancement Division

Alumni Guides – The Offices of Alumni & Family Engagement and Multicultural Student Affairs are partnering on an initiative that centers on support for historically marginalized students. The initiative will be piloted by the Alumni Board of Directors and focus on opportunities to provide mentorship, real-life navigation, resources, and real-world connections.

First-Gen Student/Alumni Munch & Mingle – In partnership with the First-Generation Advisory Group, supported a new event bringing together First-Gen students and alumni during First-Generation College Day. The event offered students and alumni the opportunity to share stories of difficulties and successes as first-gen students, as well as an opportunity for students to discover and learn about potential career fields.

Development Updates

  • Partnership continues between the Melvin Van Peebles Symposium planning committee and Advancement to secure funding to support the inaugural event, which will serve as the foundation for a biennial Symposium on Black arts and culture. Current funding conversations include the Delaware County Foundation, PNC, and the Ohio Humanities Council, with other potential sponsors.
  • OWU is a finalist under consideration for funding from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations (AVDF) for a grant in support of First-Gen and other underrepresented students on campus. AVDF meets this spring to review final proposals and issue decisions.
  • The Ohio Wesleyan Fund continues to raise funds for DEI grants to be distributed among the OWU community.
  • OWU's Advancement Office, led by one of our newest staff members and a '22 OWU graduate, secured funding from CASE to bring an expert to campus in February to discuss the intersection of DEIB and Advancement work.  We will invite Advancement colleagues from fellow GLCA schools to join for the interactive training and to share notes.
  • A late ’90s graduate is increasing his estate commitment to OWU to support scholarships for LGBTQ+ and/or those with financial need.

Previous Updates