Inspire, Fall/Winter 2011

Justin Spann ’06 understands the ups and downs of diversity. As the director of chapel worship and multicultural student development, Spann’s unique perspective allows him to be honest about the University’s diversity needs while celebrating the progress he sees on a regular basis. As a student at Cedarville, Spann encountered some difficult events — some painful, some humorous, and others completely frustrating — but as a whole his experience was positive. “My Christian high school was mostly Caucasian. That was different because at the end of the day, I could go home,” he said. “Being at Cedarville meant living in an environment where I always felt like a visitor. But after being at Cedarville for more than eight years, I have seen real change. That breeds so much hope because I’ve been able to witness the results of what were at one time only good intentions.” Growing the Family In recent years, Cedarville has increased on- campus diversity education and training for students, staff, and faculty. This includes chapel presentations, special programs to celebrate diversity leaders, a Civil Rights Bus Tour, and relevant discussion groups. Future plans include a strategic initiative to more than double the racial diversity in the student body from its current level of seven percent to 15 percent by the year 2020. The University has similar goals to attract significantly more faculty and staff of color as well. Even now, the admissions office has an opening for an assistant director to solely focus on multicultural student recruiting. After witnessing Cedarville’s diversity-building efforts firsthand, Spann now calls Cedarville home. And he’s eager to encourage students and alumni — regardless of their ethnic/cultural backgrounds — to consider Cedarville. “This is a good reason for alumni of color to take another look at Cedarville and really start plugging in,” he said. “It has become the type of school I would be so happy to send my children to one day. I don’t know if I could have said that eight years ago.” Shaping the Climate Building a multicultural movement is no easy task. Kirsten Gibbs ’93, associate vice president for student life, agrees and is quick to point out that making progress toward a more diverse culture at Cedarville won’t happen overnight. It requires a by Brian Orme ’96 14 FALL/WINTER 2011