Diversity and Inclusion

OCU and Diversity

Our Commitment

At Oakland City University, diversity and inclusion are integral to our mission of enhancing intellectual, spiritual, physical, and social development for positive leadership. We carry out this mission by embracing individual differences flowing from the diverse backgrounds, ideas, perspectives, and experiences represented in our campus community. Individual and group differences in our campus include, but are not limited to, diversity in personality, learning modality, race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, cultural and linguistic background, socioeconomic status, political ideology, and religious belief. We support our mission by providing opportunities where faculty, students, and staff intentionally engage with diversity as equal partners.

Diversity and inclusion on campus

Diversity Mission Statement

OCU strives to provide an environment where all members of our community can develop the necessary skills to find their way in an increasingly diverse world and contribute towards building a more just and equitable global society.

Diversity in the Strategic Plan

Several components of the 2017-2021 OCU Strategic Plan (goals, objectives and performance indicators/metrics) help us carry out this mission:

Goals Objectives and Performance Indicators
Goal 1: Hire and retain a highly qualified and diverse faculty and staff. Objective 1.2. Hire a diverse faculty and staff.
Goal 2: Enroll and retain a high-quality and diverse student body. Objective 2.2. Increase the quality and diversity of the student body.
Goal 3: Foster a thriving campus culture. Objective 3.5. Increase student satisfaction with their OCU experience.
Goal 4: Promote holistic student learning. Objective 4.4. Re-envison the undergraduate foundational core curriculum and its relationship to academic programs.
Goal 5: Cultivate an excellent learning environment.

Objective 5.2. Promote intentional engagement with diverse perspectives and people from diverse backgrounds. Related performance indicators:

  • 5.2.1 Percentage of students, faculty, and staff who participate in diversity programing.
  • 5.2.2 Percentage of courses that integrate diverse perspectives (i.e., course learning outcomes or topics covered).
  • 5.2.3 Percentage of student body reporting they often or very often have serious conversations with students of a different race or ethnicity than their own.

 These institutional priorities related to diversity were developed with broad based engagement during the strategic planning process and were based on the following values:

  • Diversity and inclusion are integral to our mission of enhancing intellectual, spiritual, physical, and social development for positive leadership. To promote this mission within our campus community we must recognize how it is composed of people of diverse backgrounds, ideas, perspectives, and experiences and attend to these differences. Individual and group differences in our campus include, but are not limited to, diversity in personality, learning modality, race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, cultural and linguistic background, socioeconomic status, political ideology, and religious belief. We support our mission by providing opportunities where faculty, students, and staff intentionally engage with diversity as equal partners.
  • We value constructive engagement with diversity inside and outside the classroom, acknowledging its benefits to the entire campus community. Research and higher education best practices suggest that successful engagement with diversity promotes intellectual development, improves critical thinking, enhances intergroup relations, decreases prejudice, contributes to student success and satisfaction, supports students’ future professional endeavors, and develops informed civic participation required for sustaining democracy.* Such positive effects are especially important considering the current cultural, economic, and political environment as well as persistent inequities for students from traditionally marginalized and underrepresented communities.
  • Honoring our commitment to diversity and inclusion in our local context means attending to key institutional features required for making these goals a reality. This means being intentional about recruiting and retaining a critical mass of students, faculty, and staff from diverse backgrounds to ensure multiple opportunities for meaningful interactions across groups. Beyond numbers, it also means attending to ways in which our curricula incorporate knowledge about and skills for dealing with diversity and providing co-curricular and customer service experiences that intentionally promote meaningful interaction and civil dialogue across traditional divides. We believe these opportunities support our campus members in their personal, professional, and academic development and prepares them to impact the world.

*Taylor, T., Milem, J., and Coleman, A. (2016). Bridging the Research to Practice Gap: Achieving Mission-Driven Diversity and Inclusion Goals. College Board; Gurin, P., Dey, E., Hurtado, S., and Gurin, G. (2002). Diversity and Higher Education: Theory and Impact on Educational Outcomes. Harvard Educational Review, Vol 72, No. 3; Board of Directors, Association of American Colleges and Universities (2002) Affirmative Action, Educational Excellence, and the Civic Mission of Higher Education.

Collaborative Leadership for Diversity and Inclusion

The Diversity Coordinator and OCU Diversity Committee provide leadership for diversity-related initiatives. The Committee is a cross-cutting team of students, staff, faculty, and administrators working collaboratively to develop and support the implementation of diversity and inclusion initiatives across the university. It accomplishes its mission by:

  • Bringing input from relevant communities inside and outside OCU,
  • Advocating diversity and inclusion issues, policies, and initiatives among key stakeholders,
  • Promoting innovation (new ways of thinking and doing things),
  • Building critical capacity for understanding and addressing relevant issues through awareness raising and professional development,
  • Supporting the success of university constituents – especially those of underrepresented or vulnerable backgrounds, and
  • Partnering with community members dedicated to diversity and inclusion work in our area.