The Racial and Ethnic Diversity Initiative at SPU
CP21 – Carrying Out the VisionIn November 1998, the president and President's Cabinet presented to the Board of Trustees a Comprehensive Plan for the 21st Century (CP21) comprised of four planning streams: education, endowment, enrollment, and facilities. This plan was the result of a year-and-a-half of conversation among all segments of the campus community, fully reviewed and approved by the President's Cabinet before its submission to the SPU Board of Trustees. At this meeting, the Board of Trustees unanimously endorsed the plan and since that time CP21 has been the guiding strategic document for the University. CP21 is animated by this vision:
Seattle Pacific University seeks to be a premier Christian university fully committed to engaging the culture and changing the world by graduating people of competence and character, becoming people of wisdom, and modeling grace-filled community.
This vision continues to be enthusiastically supported by the Board of Trustees, administration, faculty, and alumni. Three years after the plan was adopted, each plan has gone through extensive assessment and change. Under the leadership of the interim chief academic officer, a committee of faculty governance leaders, academic deans, dean of student life, and key academic staff reviewed the achievements of the Education Plan and submit it now for approval by the President's Cabinet.
Revising the Education Plan
Seattle Pacific University's educational mission is to achieve a strong, focused academic core by aligning the academic program with the vision.
This committee's review of the eight initiatives of the 1998 education plan revealed demonstrable achievements and helped to guide the revision of the plan that follows. Increased enrollment and improved persistence among students are evidence that current educational programs are strong. That strength derives in part from the accomplishments in meeting the goals of the eight initiatives of the Education Plan. Yet these increases have also strained the material and human resources needed to sustain existing programs.
Therefore, the revised statement of initiatives to guide our planning and budget decisions in the next several years includes initiatives that reaffirm the central significance of current thriving educational programs. While recognizing they are interdependent, we have placed priority on faculty development and racial/ethnic diversity. Most of the other initiatives are dependent on a faculty that is motivated and encouraged by a quality faculty development program. We assume that the goals in every initiative are achievable over the course of five years as part of the yearly budget planning cycle. Two other assumptions guide our statement of goals:
- Initiatives not specifically directed to particular programs are understood to include undergraduate and graduate programs.
- The specific goals for each initiative reflect our judgment about the most significant needs.
A draft of the revised plan (as well as a review of accomplishments of the original plan) was presented to Faculty Senate at its May 3 meeting. Faculty were invited to respond in writing at the meeting and on the faculty Internet discussion line the following day follows.
Implementing the Education Plan
In the fall of 2001, the president and the President's Cabinet developed a plan to implement CP21. The work of Robert Zemsky at the Wharton School of Business and the Institute for Research in Higher Education became essential for this implementation plan. It became clear that in order to achieve the vision of CP21, we must strive to become a premiere national Christian University. This implementation plan did not change any of the initiatives of the Education Plan but did lead to several clarifications. These are as follows:
- To implement the plan we must focus on all sources of revenue and seek to maximize these sources.
- We must focus on outcomes assessment in all programs in order to align all programs with the vision and to assure quality.
- We must focus on key indicators of success as identified in the Zemsky market segment research. In particular we must focus on graduation rates and other measures of academic quality.
Racial/Ethnic DiversityShort-term Benchmarks (one to two years)
- The VPAA and AVPSL will establish a process for identifying and assessing campus climate and majority student attitudes and minority student concerns.
- Various departments and programs (University Ministries, Student Life, School of Theology ) will increase relationships and interactions with minority churches and other community organizations as a means for improving climate and increasing enrollment.
- Each department will review its curriculum and identify areas in which they can address racial/ethnic concerns.
- We will commit a faculty in-service to addressing racial/ethnic concerns.
- We will implement strategies to make the campus more welcoming for racial/ethnic diversity.
- We will seek to increase number of ethnic students, but set realistic enrollment goals based on a demographic analysis of those regions from which SPU students are drawn. (See enrollment plan for specific numbers.)
- We will seek to increase the number of international students. (See enrollment plan for specific numbers.)
- We will seek to increase the number of faculty representing racial minority groups.
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