Davarian L. Baldwin, Ph.D., will present Ohio Wesleyan's 2023-2024 Butler A. Jones Lecture on Race and Society on Feb. 15. (Photo courtesy of Davarian L. Baldwin)

The Path Forward

Expert to Discuss Rethinking Higher Education's Community Engagement Mission at Feb. 15 OWU Event

By Cole Hatcher

DELAWARE, Ohio – Internationally recognized scholar, author, and public advocate Davarian L. Baldwin will discuss "Beyond Diversity and Inclusion: Rethinking the Community Engagement Mission of Higher Education" when he presents Ohio Wesleyan University's 2023-2024 Butler A. Jones Lecture on Race and Society.

Baldwin will speak at 7 p.m. Feb. 15 in Room 301 of Ohio Wesleyan's Merrick Hall, 65 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. Admission is free.

Guided by his 2021 book, "In the Shadow of the Ivory Tower: How Universities are Plundering Our Cities," Baldwin, Ph.D., will discuss "how the current higher education model of diversity and inclusion has and has not served its mission of community engagement."

"This conversation explores how the largely educational focus of diversity and inclusion must encompass higher education's engagement with the world beyond the campus gates, especially as schools occupy a racially and economically uneven relationship with their host communities," says Baldwin, who serves as the Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of American Studies and founding director of the Smart Cities Research Lab at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

During his Ohio Wesleyan presentation, he will outline how a more comprehensive vision of diversity, inclusion, and equity, that includes both campus and community, is the only promising path forward.

Baldwin's academic and political commitments have focused on global cities, particularly the diverse and marginalized communities that struggle to maintain sustainable lives in urban locales. He is the award-winning author of several books, including the forthcoming "Land of Darkness: Chicago and the Making of Race in Modern America" and the consultant and text author for "The World of the Harlem Renaissance: A Jigsaw Puzzle."

His commentaries and opinions have been featured in outlets ranging from NBC News, BBC, and HULU to USA Today, The Washington Post, and TIME magazine. Baldwin was named a 2022 Freedom Scholar by the Marguerite Casey Foundation for his work. Follow him on X at @DavarianBaldwin.

Ohio Wesleyan's Butler A. Jones Lecture was established in 1995 in honor of Jones, Ph.D., a former university professor. In contributing to the quest for equality among races, Jones submitted 10 briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court in cases involving equal treatment of all citizens. The annual lecture is organized by OWU's Department of Sociology and Anthropology and Social Justice Program. Learn more about the lecture series and department at owu.edu/soan.


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation's premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 70 undergraduate majors and competes in 24 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through its signature experience, the OWU Connection, Ohio Wesleyan teaches students to understand issues from multiple academic perspectives, volunteer in service to others, build a diverse and global perspective, and translate classroom knowledge into real-world experience through internships, research, and other hands-on learning. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book "Colleges That Change Lives" and included on the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review "Best Colleges" lists. Connect with OWU expert interview sources at owu.edu/experts or learn more at owu.edu.