Press Release

Ohio Wesleyan to Examine, Enhance Commitment to Diversity

November 14, 2016 – by Cole Hatcher

Juan Armando Rojas Joo, Ph.D., associate professor of modern foreign languages and associate dean for diversity and inclusion, will help lead an initiative at Ohio Wesleyan University to expand OWU’s commitment to diversity. The initiative has received grant support from the Mellon Foundation. (Photo by Mike Malone)

University Receives $25,000 Mellon Foundation Planning Grant to Support Initiative

Ashley Biser, Ph.D.

DELAWARE, Ohio – The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded Ohio Wesleyan University a one-year, $25,000 planning grant to help the university expand its historic commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Ohio Wesleyan will use the one-year grant to help evaluate its current systems and take steps toward “building a more diverse faculty, reflecting diverse perspectives and contributions throughout the curriculum, and equipping faculty and staff to serve a more diverse student body in the years to come,” Provost Charles L. Stinemetz, Ph.D., said.

The initiative, “Committing to Diversity: A Self-Examination of Ohio Wesleyan Policies, Practices and Pedagogy,” already is underway, Stinemetz said. It is being led by Ashley Biser, Ph.D., the university’s associate dean for faculty development, and Juan Armando Rojas Joo, Ph.D., associate dean for diversity and inclusion.

Juan Armando Rojas Joo, Ph.D.

Examples of projects being supported by the Mellon Foundation grant include a comprehensive analysis of how Ohio Wesleyan defines diversity in its course catalog and which classes fulfill that requirement.

In addition, the university plans to hold a three-day faculty leadership workshop in January to explore any potential campus barriers to hiring underrepresented faculty and then to brainstorm and discuss possible solutions. The outcome, Stinemetz said, will be an action plan for targeting recruitment and creating a more diverse faculty.

“A diverse faculty enriches a campus by providing important perspectives on faculty committees, vital mentoring opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds, additional opportunities for outreach into the Central Ohio community, and an infusion of teaching methods and research agendas directly related to the challenges of the 21st century,” Stinemetz said. “In addition, a curriculum that prioritizes diverse perspectives enhances our students’ creativity, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, better preparing them to lead with integrity, understanding, and empathy.”

After completing its self-examination, Ohio Wesleyan expects to move into a second phase in 2018 that would include developing a five-year plan to make classes more inclusive of diverse perspectives. The plan would contain mechanisms to assess student outcomes related to diversity, Stinemetz said.

President Rock Jones, Ph.D., said the Mellon Foundation grant allows the university to accelerate planned and in-progress diversity initiatives, all supporting the university’s historic mission.

“Ohio Wesleyan is profoundly committed to supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion, and has been throughout our 175-year history,” Jones said. “The Mellon Foundation is helping us to ensure we are fulfilling this commitment to the best of our ability.”

Formed in 1969, the New York City-based Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is committed to supporting “exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work.” Learn more at https://mellon.org.


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers nearly 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the latest President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.