EU Launches Diversity and Inclusion Planning Initiative

In September 2016, Eastern University launched an initiative to create an institution-wide diversity plan in response to a charge from the Organizational Design Task Force (ODTF).  President Robert Duffett has charged Executive Vice President Tom Ridington to appoint a task force from the Eastern community to formulate and submit recommendations by July 1, 2017.

President Duffett remarked, “From its beginning in Acts to its zenith in Revelation, we see God's consistent vision for a diverse Church.  As an institution of the Church, Eastern University will be enriched by a plan shaped by our theological and educational mission that facilitates deeper understanding of diversity and inclusion and a deeper sense of satisfaction across our community. I look forward to receiving recommendations supporting those aims, and I thank in advance those who are undertaking this important work on the task force.”

Eastern University’s Educational Values expound the belief that we are enriched by persons of different ethnicities, ages, academic programs, nationalities, gender, economic backgrounds, political views and ways of understanding the Christian’s place in the world.  This is consistent with our Foundational Commitment to work for Christian transformation, justice, and reconciliation, in all areas of life as these are grounded in our understanding of Christ's calling to us.

The workforce analysis conducted by the ODTF in 2015/16 identified a gap between the racial, ethnic and gender diversity of the student body and the faculty, staff and administration who teach and serve our students.  In response, the ODTF recommended and the President approved the development of a plan to enhance the recruitment of underrepresented individuals for Eastern University leadership, faculty and staff positions. 

The Diversity and Inclusion Planning Task Force includes two bodies, the Core Working Group and the Review and Appraisal Council.  The Core Working Group includes:  Kacey Bernard (Senior Director of Human Resources), David Hurtado (Dean, Administration & Program Development, Esperanza College), Meg Laakso (Associate Professor, Biology), Jon-Michael Odean (Enrollment Counselor, Graduate & Professional Studies), Mumia Parham (Executive Director of Strategic Alliances & Partnerships), David Quiñones (Student Representative), Tom Ridington (Executive Vice President) and Stella Urbina (Executive Assistant).  The Review and Appraisal Council includes:  Heewon Chang (Professor & Director, Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership), Sharon Gramby-Sobukwe (Associate Professor & Chair, Political Science), Daryl Hawkins (Dean of Students) and Kathy Ann-Hernandez (Professor, Educational Psychology & Research Methods).  The Task Force will be advised by Dr. Michelle Loyd-Paige, Executive Associate to the President for Diversity and Inclusion and Professor of Sociology at Calvin College in Michigan.   

While the Task Force is just now beginning its work, it is motivated by facilitating greater shared understanding of diversity and inclusion; expanding racial, ethnic and gender diversity; and satisfying Eastern University’s missional commitments.  We welcome your prayers and input toward those ends.  Please feel free to connect with us at:

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