Inspire, Fall/Winter 2011

strong evaluation of the current environment and a clear strategic map for advancing the mission. “Cedarville has been intentional about increasing diversity over the past few years,” she said. “From the establishment of a diversity statement and committee, key staff positions that recruit and support multicultural students, to specific student programming and educational opportunities, diversity has definitely become an institutional emphasis. Despite these areas of growth for Cedarville, I am keenly aware as I talk with students and staff of color, that there is much more work to be done.” It’s easy for the word “diversity” to become cliché in our culture — true diversity only happens when organizations get serious about making a comprehensive plan for change. Jearl Ward ’81 is an African-American who has maintained a commitment to Cedarville since 1975. He and his wife, Jessica, live in Woodstock, Maryland, with daughters Jerica ’09, Jernelle ’11, Jerielle ’14, and Jervonne. He serves on the Alumni Advisory Council and is the Alumni Diversity Committee chair. Ward earned a graduate degree in organizational leadership from Nyack College and has devoted more than 20 years in government leadership improving outcomes for Maryland and Washington, D.C., children, youth, and families. He is optimistic about Cedarville’s diversity efforts but remains one of its toughest critics. “Although what’s happening at Cedarville is encouraging, in many ways our diversity efforts are at the infancy stage,” Ward said. “We should be much further along.” By comparison, he points to the relative ease with which the physical campus seems to develop. “I have observed over many years that Cedarville’s brick and mortar projects seem to move from envisioning to fundraising, communication with stakeholders, written plans, construction, and ribbon cutting in just a few years. However, building an atmosphere truly conducive for cultural diversity has yet to happen. We’ve been saying for much longer that we want more diversity. Saying we want it must translate into actions that transform the campus climate and readiness for diversity.” Reflecting the Kingdom Ward believes it’s possible to maintain honest dialogue about diversity and to implement shared strategies — but only with “strong leadership, supportive internal and external partners, comprehensive planning, transparency, hard work, and a strong capacity for adaptive thinking.” According to Ward, “Targeting compositional diversity and ideology alone merely scratches the surface. Increasing diversity without preparing the right climate may do more harm than good. True diversity is about a much bigger picture. A community of diverse believers living the one another mindset (seen in Romans 12 and Colossians 3) is a higher calling that surpasses culture, ethnicity, race, etc., and focuses Christians on Kingdom behavior. That’s the barometer for true diversity!” Spann believes that what Cedarville has done, and is doing well, is communicating the need for diversity from a biblical worldview. “I have never felt that diversity is being pushed because it’s trendy, or because of its obvious practical benefits,” he said. “Although those other benefits are important, and they do get mentioned, this is about more than a politically correct agenda. Cedarville is pursuing a campus that reflects the Kingdom of God and His love for all people. Brian Orme ’96 is a freelance journalist and the editor of His articles have been published in The Washington Times , The Arizona Republic , Relevant Magazine , and other online and print outlets. Brian lives in Troy, Ohio, with his wife, Jenna (Crowe) ’96, and their four boys. You may contact him at “Cedarville is pursuing a campus that reflects the Kingdom of God and His love for all people.” Cedarville’s new and ongoing diversity initiatives include: • Establishing the PEACE Project, a student organization dedicated to Promoting Ethnic And Cultural Education on campus • Recognizing black and Hispanic history months through student life programming • Promoting worship styles across racial and ethnic lines through the OneVoice Gospel Choir • Sponsoring an annual bus tour to significant sites in the Civil Rights movement • Commissioning an external audit with Brenda Salter McNeil, a leading evangelical diversity consultant • Evaluating current programs through an internal diversity task team • Designing new campus programs to facilitate multicultural student success • Participating in Dayton Dialogue on Race Relations, a series of conversations on racial issues with leaders at Sinclair Community College, Wright State University, and Central State University • Doubling the diversity scholarship from $2,000 to $4,000 • Expanding student recruiting efforts in China • Hosting a conference for Hispanic pastors on our campus • Hosting the annual Midwest Chinese Christian Association summer retreat • Partnering with Sami Rodriguez and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference • Representing greater diversity on the board of trustees • Training faculty and staff in diversity-related issues • Launching a diversity webpage for students, faculty, and staff • Inviting guests to chapel who represent ministries that serve a variety of people groups worldwide CEDARVILLE UNIVERSITY 15