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 May 20, 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 issues. The Campus Climate Support Team receives all reports 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.
- 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 safely 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 (OMSA). 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 implementing initiatives to help address concerns that stem from harassment suspected of being perpetrated by individuals outside the campus community. The initiatives include a SafeGuard program, launched in April 2021, utilizing students to provide evening campus safety patrols and escorts. Public Safety currently is exploring an expansion to include additional capabilities for safety escorts or evening shuttles. The initiative also includes installing additional outdoor cameras in summer 2021 in targeted areas of campus.
- 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, completed work with Public Safety during the 2020-2021 academic year 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 the 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.
- Public Safety staff members have completed the Racial Equity Institute’s (REI) Groundwater course. Additionally, Public Safety staff will be attending the REI Phase One two-day course over summer 2021. 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 has been 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. Public Safety also has 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 seek to share best practices for procurement policies and for opening up sourcing to minority suppliers across the colleges. At Ohio Wesleyan, our work includes reaching out to vendors to obtain baseline information regarding whether they are minority-owned and capturing levels of expenditures broken down by this classification. Recent construction bid documents specified that at least 10% of project costs must be obtained through minority participation.
- We 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.
- In spring 2021, we reviewed bids from construction firms and selected a contractor for the renovation of Slocum Hall. A key factor in our decision was the material provided by the firms for including subcontractors recognized by the State of Ohio as “EDGE” (Encouraging Diversity, Growth, and Equity) businesses.
Office of Human Resources
- We have updated practices to conduct close reviews of required qualifications for positions at the time departments request to search for them. The goal is to ensure the wording allows individuals to qualify who may not have experience working in higher education, but who have transferable skills from other industries and other related fields of work.
- We have changed the timing for when the demographics of an applicant pool are reviewed for open staff positions. Instead of waiting until three finalists are identified, we are now reviewing the pool at the time the search committee requests permission to conduct first-round interviews.
- The Office of the Vice President for Finance and Administration currently is arranging meetings for Imogene Johnson, incoming director of Human Resources, to meet with leaders on campus and members of the Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion after she joins the University on June 1.
Office Multicultural Student Affairs
- Our new Multicultural Center on the second floor of Hamilton-Williams Campus Center will be ready to open at the start of fall semester. While the offices have been relocated, we are in the process of ordering and installing new furniture. The center will be housed in the office suite formerly occupied by Residential Life, which has moved to offices on the north side of the campus center’s second floor.
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 were taken by all staff and search committees in spring 2021. All new students and employees will complete the module series as part of their OWU orientation.
- In addition, 50 employees completed three in-depth workshops in March 2021, followed by smaller group discussions led by members of the DEI Council. Additional staff, including our Senior Leadership Team, completed a second iteration of this series in late April/early May 2021. These workshops will be completed by additional cohorts in the future, with the ultimate goal of including all employees.
- Teaching Circles in Academic Affairs focused during spring semester on DEIB or Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging. The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council helped to lead two of these: “Inclusive Language in the Classroom” and “Facilitating Hard Classroom Discussions.”
Faculty Equity Fellows
- The Faculty Equity Fellows are just wrapping up the first cohort of a development teaching initiative that supports 25 faculty. Through Equity Fellows, a seven-month reading series and a set of curriculum workshops to retool a course to make it equitable and inclusive, faculty have had deep discussion and engagement on DEI issues that they will continue to explore during summer 2021. The next Equity Fellows cohort will launch in January 2022.
- 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 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.”
- At their May 2021 meeting, Trustees heard a presentation from Darryl Peal ’85, now the Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer at Northern Kentucky University, on creating an environment for belonging and success for students of color. The Board also discussed plans to participate in a DEI summer reading program and announced that its February 2022 meeting would be an on-campus retreat focused exclusively on DEI. During the retreat, Trustees will ask to hear from campus constituencies about the progress on building a more diverse and inclusive campus community, and the Board will dig deeply into its own work in this area.
Recruitment and Retention
Faculty Hiring (Focused Cohort)
- We completed the faculty cohort hire in May 2021 with a particular focus on flexibility, interdisciplinarity, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. We rebuilt the hiring process and focused on DEI at every stage – job advertisements, applications, web pages, affinity groups, rubrics, training, interviews, and post-hire inclusive onboarding. This cohort is one of the most diverse in recent history.
- 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, has formed and is assisting the University in identifying opportunities to increase access for individuals across campus. This committee is completing its 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 in spring 2021, 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 in March 2021, supports a program to help underserved high school students learn more about investing in the stock market and provides them with funds to use. Student grants are open until the end of the semester and will re-open in the fall.
- Two faculty and staff grants were awarded in April 2021. The first was awarded to Phokeng Dailey, assistant professor of communication; Brianna Mack, assistant professor of politics and government; and Jason Timpson, director of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs. Together, they are exploring the topic of “Social & Political Responses to Racialized Health Messages.” The second employee DEI Grant was awarded to Christopher Fink, associate professor of health and human kinetics, and Eugene Rutigliano, OWU’s digital initiatives librarian and curator of the OWU Historical Collection. They are working with a class of Fink’s students to expand his research into “Oral Histories of Food, Community, and Migration.”
- 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 partnering with College Greenlight, the leading college admissions ally for underrepresented students and the counselors, advisors, community-based organizations, and schools supporting them. College Greenlight provides free tools and resources to simplify the college and scholarship search, and it bridges the information gap to connect underrepresented students with unprecedented opportunities.
- We were thrilled to receive over $830,000 from the state of Ohio to award Choose Ohio First scholarships to up to 10 incoming first-year students who intend to major in a STEM field. Applicants who are women, students of color, and low and middle-income students are prioritized in the selection process.
- We held a Leadership Summit for marginalized students in mid-April 2021, promoting honest discussion of relevant, timely topics and providing opportunities for students to develop leadership skills. The program was titled “A Discussion on Diversity and Inclusion: A Workshop for Future Leaders.” While attendance was low, we were pleased with the overall structure and quality of the program (featuring faculty and alumni speakers, a current student panel, and discussion groups), and look forward to re-introducing it as an in-person event in the spring of 2022.
- Territory managers continue to meet with and host educational information sessions with CBOs (Community Based Organizations) in their territories. 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 2021.
- 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 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 most recent program, “A Discussion on Diversity and Inclusion: A Workshop for Future Leaders,” was held virtually April 11, 2021. We invited accepted high school seniors of color to join us, and we reached 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 expanded our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion by becoming test-optional in fall 2021 for all students in consideration for both admission and scholarships.
- 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 for 2021 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.
- Ohio Wesleyan is joining the Moving the Needle program. Over the next five years, we will work to identify our greatest assets, as well as opportunities to positively impact student retention, student engagement, graduation rates, campus partnerships, our work with families, and other priorities we identify as central to student success. Our work will design sustainable practices and integrated approaches that anticipate and respond to students’ ever-evolving needs. We will partner with Credo, a higher education firm that works exclusively with small colleges to address these vital issues. On campus, Provost Karlyn Crowley and Vice President for Student Engagement and Success Dwayne Todd will co-lead the initiative, bringing the work and wisdom of faculty and staff together in new, exciting ways.
- OMSA continues to offer a wide array of programs that provide opportunities for education, support, and recognition of our diverse campus community. A listing of spring 2021 semester events is 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 spring 2021 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
- The Fraternity and Sorority Life Office has focused a concerted effort on supporting the return of National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) fraternities and sororities to campus. Discussions are underway with numerous members of the “Divine Nine” about their interest in re-starting chapters on campus or in the region. Numerous recruitment fairs have occurred on campus by some NPHC organizations, including one at the beginning of May 2021.
- Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) members were involved in spring 2021 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.
- The Leaders in Letters Series involved five leaders from each chapter in the following programming:
- February 23, 2021: 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, 2021: 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, 2021: 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 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. Information gained through the survey will inform our sexual misconduct efforts and programs going forward.
- The department completed its full student-athlete inclusion training with Dr. Tomika Ferguson in spring 2021, with approximately 400 student-athletes participating. 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.
- Afterward, the DEI committee worked 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.
During spring 2021, OWU coaches and athletics administrators also completed DEI module training and continued to participate in follow-up discussions led by Dawn Chisebe and other members of the Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
The department’s DEI committee also worked to plan for the DEI module training that all student-athletes will complete in the fall. This will be the largest group of students completing the module on campus.
University Advancement/Career Connection
- Our division is committed to, and working actively to build, a community of belonging where alumni, families, and friends feel included, valued, and listened to. Through the creation of small task force groups, we have strengthened relationships, outreach, and programming with LGBTQIA+, first-generation, global/international, and Black alumni and friends to engage with each other, students, and the OWU community.
- As of May 2021, University Advancement has raised $11,717 for the new student DEI Grant program to support student-driven projects to help make OWU an antiracist space.
- Through the Women of Ohio Wesleyan (WOW) program, we have engaged with more than 500 women during the spring 2021 semester through equity programming, mentorship, and outreach.
- Collaboratively, we have enhanced our division culture, workplace belonging, and staff education through training and programming around privilege, becoming an ally, implicit bias, and belonging.
- We have revised our data collection practices to ensure we are providing more inclusive language.
- Our staff members are working continuously to recruit intentional alumni volunteers who more accurately reflect the body of our alumni association.
- We conducted multiple student focus groups during the 2020-2021 academic year, meeting with underrepresented students to continue conversations on how we can best serve them and provide resources and programming to meet their needs.
- We have granted nearly $10,000 specifically to underrepresented students to eliminate internship-related expenses to remove financial barriers.