Diversity Matters

Race, Ethnicity, and the Future of Christian Higher Education

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Pub Date 08 Aug 2017 | Archive Date 01 Nov 2017


Today, no institution can ignore the need for deep conversations about race and ethnicity. But colleges and universities face a unique set of challenges as they explore these topics. Diversity Matters offers leaders a roadmap as they think through how their campuses can serve all students well.

Five Key Sections

Campus Case Studies: Transforming Institutions with a Commitment to Diversity

Why We Stayed: Lessons in Resiliency and Leadership from Long-Term CCCU Diversity Professionals

Voices of Our Friends: Speaking for Themselves

Curricular/Cocurricular Initiatives to Enhance Diversity Awareness and Action

Autoethnographies: Emerging Leaders and Career Stages

Each chapter in Diversity Matters includes important discussion questions for administration, faculty, and staff.

Today, no institution can ignore the need for deep conversations about race and ethnicity. But colleges and universities face a unique set of challenges as they explore these topics. Diversity Matters...

A Note From the Publisher

About the Editor

Karen A. Longman serves as professor of doctoral higher education at Azusa Pacific University. She earned her doctorate from the Center for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Michigan, holds master’s degrees from UM and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and completed her undergraduate work in psychology at Albion College in Michigan. Longman continues to serve as a Senior Fellow of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) and has coordinated Leadership Development Institutes for emerging leaders within the CCCU since 1998. Her research and publications focus on gender issues, leadership, and Christian higher education, including "Thriving in Leadership" (ACU Press, 2012).

About the Editor

Karen A. Longman serves as professor of doctoral higher education at Azusa Pacific University. She earned her doctorate from the Center for the Study of Higher Education at the...

Advance Praise

"Diversity Matters brings together a diverse set of voices and is filled with truth, grace, conviction, and hope! Diversity Matters invites readers to assess both their personal diversity journey as well as their institution’s history and diversity efforts. As a consultant with colleges and universities for many years, I am confident that Diversity Matters: Race, Ethnicity, and the Future of Christian Higher Education is a significant and timely new resource that will contribute to ensuring that campuses more fully reflect the values and commitments of the Kingdom of God. I highly recommend it!"
Brenda Salter McNeil, President, Salter McNeil & Associates, author of Roadmap to Reconciliation


Diversity Matters is a welcome offering not just in the realm of evangelical Christian higher education, but also in the realm of evangelical Christianity as a whole. Through it, the contributors clearly and courageously address the why, the what, and the how of developing institutions where racial and ethnic diversity can flourish in ways that benefit the institutions and honor God.”
Bishop Claude Alexander, Pastor of The Park Church in Charlotte, North Carolina


“The future of Christian higher education is in educating the diversity of God’s followers for the work of Christ on earth. This book is a giant step to get us there. Bringing together a who’s who of Christian authors on the topic, this volume is a tour de force.”
Michael O. Emerson, Provost, North Park University, author, Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America and Transcending Racial Barriers


“Diversity Matters is a poignant book. It touches on what really matters in the effort to create diverse communities and expand racial equity on campus, in classrooms, at faculty meetings, and more. The writers challenge structural and institutional racial injustices and speak to the heart of diversity and how it can be achieved.”
—Grace Ji-Sun Kim, associate professor of theology, Earlham School of Religion, author of Embracing the Other and Mother Daughter Speak


“We are at a critical moment in Christian education in regard to diversity. With the demographics of our nation changing dramatically every year, it is imperative that the church and Christian institutions of higher learning keep pace with this changing reality. To that end, Diversity Matters offers sound advice to all who wish to join in this necessary progress.”
—Noel Castellanos, President, Christian Community Development Association


“What is taught (content) matters greatly, but so does who teaches it and what experience they bring (voice). Diversity matters because education, deep and broad education, is worth it. I’m excited to support the release of this new and much-needed study on the value of racial diversity in the future of Christian higher education.” 
—Ken Wytsma, President, Kilns College, Founder of The Justice Conference, author of Pursuing Justice, The Grand Paradox, and Create vs. Copy


“Diversity Matters brings together a diverse array of scholars and leaders from across the Christian higher education spectrum to offer serious engagement with a variety of issues surrounding race, ethnicity, and the future of Christian higher education. In Diversity Matters, readers will encounter multiple approaches and perspectives related to these topics. I have no doubt that people who take time to work their way through this volume will be blessed, challenged, helped, stretched, encouraged, and perhaps even disappointed at the state of things along the way. They will find much with which they agree and much from which they can learn while also being pushed to reflect on a number of diverse perspectives that dot the chapters throughout this volume. The editors who envisioned and orchestrated the writing of this book are to be commended for fostering these serious conversations. All readers will want to celebrate the call to authentic racial reconciliation while offering gratitude for the guidance that is provided regarding genuine kingdom diversity.” 
—David S. Dockery, President, Trinity International University


“With racism at center stage in the nation’s public discourse, Diversity Matters is most timely. Christian universities should be known for reconciliation. More often they are places of pain for persons of color and justice-minded whites. Powerful contributions from so many voices within Christian higher education make this volume a treasure trove of case studies, curricular/cocurricular initiatives, and lessons in resilience. Scholarly and accessible, thorough and concise, practical and inspirational, the Gospel and the future demand that this book is a must-read by faculty, administrators, and staff at Christian colleges and universities. In fact, all Christian institutions and organizations will benefit from this book.” 
—Curtiss Paul DeYoung, CEO, Minnesota Council of Churches, formerly professor of Reconciliation Studies, Bethel University


“Diversity is an essential component of any healthy university; but at a Christ-centered university, it is even more essential. Diversity is not just an educational value; it’s a biblical priority. But growing in this area is easier said than done. That’s why we need resources to help us, as Christian colleges and universities, to better embody the biblical value of diversity.” 
—Barry H. Corey, President of Biola University, author of Love Kindness: Discover the Power of a Forgotten Christian Virtue


“In a hurting world and polarized society, Christian higher education should be distinctive, especially in matters of diversity. In the many stories and reflections provided in this volume, there is ample evidence of missteps and failures. But this chorus of diverse educational leaders presents a gift to help us move forward in ways that will not only allow faith based colleges and universities to better reflect the calling of Scripture, but also influence congregations and communities that their graduates will lead.” 
—Dr. Steven Timmermans, Executive Director, The Christian Reformed Church in North America


“Diversity Matters requires critical reading by any individuals, leaders, or institutions truthfully addressing their need to increase awareness, sensitivity, cultural competency, and appreciation of diverse populations. This vital resource is particularly insightful and relevant for educational Christ-centered institutions still grappling with how to accept and embrace diversity. This powerful book will have a profound impact on any institution truly committed to fulfilling a leadership role of enhancing the understanding, discourse, and interactions of its constituents.” 
—Dr. Cheryl T. Chatman, Executive Vice-President and Dean of Diversity, Concordia University


“Serving nearly twenty years in Christian higher education, I have long felt that if anyone should be leading the movement when it comes to diversity and inclusion on college campuses, it should be Christian universities. Ironically, in recent years most of my time has been spent working with secular universities across the country and globe and have watched what seemed to be greater progress in their diversity efforts. But how refreshing and encouraging to read about the level of commitment and demonstrated progress being made in the Christian higher education community. This book is a must-read and rightfully repositions Christian institutions to lead the way, offering hope and powerful lessons to both Christian and secular institutions alike.” 
—Dr. Sandra Upton, Vice-President, Educational Initiatives, Cultural Intelligence Center


“Diversity Matters is a critically important and timely resource for Christian higher education. I have often wished for a resource that could provide campus leaders with an inspiring biblical perspective on diversity, compelling personal narratives, and replicable campus strategies. This highly readable volume accomplishes this and more. A long overdue and refreshingly honest, yet inspiring publication that seamlessly blends an exploration of historical challenges with refreshing stories of resiliency and hope.” 
—Deborah Taylor, PhD, Provost and Senior Vice-President, Biola University


“Ask a leader about diversity and you might hear a vision; ask a colleague, she may provide a thoughtful proposition; ask a friend, he may tell you a story. Compile several together and you have elements to drive a transformative movement. In this book, leaders provide a compelling vision, colleagues give helpful instruction, and friends relate persuasive stories that prompt action. We must get better at engaging with diversity. I will use this volume in my leadership for that purpose.” 
—Dr. Edee M. Schulze, Vice-President for Student Life, Westmont College, and President of the Association for Christians in Student Development (ACSD)


“At a critical juncture in Christian higher education, Diversity Matters introduces voices vital for us to hear. Multi-faceted narratives, deeply personal yet broadly communal, give form to the complexities of race and ethnicity. With clarity and grace, these voices offer practical wisdom and future directions marked by urgency and redemptive hope. I highly recommend this book to academic administrators and faculty as a valuable conduit for increasing understanding, action, and systemic change within our institutions.” 
—Janet Sommers, PhD, Senior Vice-President for Academic Affairs, professor of English & Literature, University of Northwestern – St. Paul


“Faculty and cocurricular educators of any race/ethnicity and length of service will find Diversity Matters a timely, thought-provoking, and helpful resource as they seek inclusive excellence for their institution and transformational change for their students. The essays argue for personal introspection on one level and a strategic call to action (if you’re ready) on another. Diversity Matters is a courageous invitation for Christian college educators to acknowledge and put an end to unequal educational practices and policies that have led to differential and inequitable experiences and outcomes for students of color. I highly recommend it!” 
—André Stephens, Vice-President for Student Development, Biola University


“Diversity Matters is a groundbreaking and revolutionary book that shatters the myth of ‘one way (teaching style, chapel services, student events, etc.) fits all’ in Christian higher education institutions. Engaging biblical principles, using practical application tools, and affirming personal experiences from this book will revolutionize your campus culture, nurture a revival climate, and reveal the greatest assets on a college and university campus. As an African American woman ‘called’ to Christian higher education for over twenty-five years, I challenge each administrator to make Diversity Matters a non-negotiable read for your campus community.” 
—Doretha O’Quinn, PhD, Provost and Vice-President for Academic Affairs, Vanguard University, author of Silent Voices, Powerful Messages


“Compelling ...immediately swept into the first person honest accounts of pursuing diversity in Christian higher education. Courageous leadership in following the teachings of Scripture to shape the future of our nation. Convicting but at the same time instructive in developing a diverse campus of faculty, students and staff. The principles are applicable beyond higher education. A seminal book!” 
—Jo Anne Lyon, Ambassador, General Superintendent Emerita, The Wesleyan Church


“Diversity Matters illuminates current realities in Christian higher education and inspires readers to embrace the gift of diversity on our campuses. The truthful accounts of racial identity development up to racial battle fatigue remind us that the work of diversity can only be sustained in community with one another. This is a seminal read for faculty, staff, and administrators who desire honest reflection and practical strategies to lead their institutions toward inclusivity and thriving.” 
—Rebecca Hong, Dean of Curriculum and Assessment, associate professor of Education, Biola University


“This book is a breath of fresh air in Christian education. It represents the stories of experienced educators of color along with others who share their desire to see Christian colleges flourish—the work of diversity being at the center of this flourishing.” 
—Leroy Barber, The Voices Project, Board Chair Missio Alliance


“For years we have worked with Christian colleges and universities, looking for ways to faithfully serve the increasingly diverse landscape of Christianity in America. Beyond facile responses, Diversity Matters is an answered prayer. This tome masterfully weaves together the biblical and theological imperatives on diversity with the practical lessons of university leaders charting the way forward. This is a must-read for twenty-first-century Christian educators and visionaries.” 
—Rev. Dr. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition, Pastor, Calvario City Church

"Diversity Matters brings together a diverse set of voices and is filled with truth, grace, conviction, and hope! Diversity Matters invites readers to assess both their personal diversity journey as...

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