A group from Fresno Pacific University is involved in international and national-level work in diversity, equity and inclusion.
The staff and faculty involved are: Breanne Wyse, director of diversity, inclusion and spiritual formation; Martha Fregoso, assistant director of admission; Patty Salinas, former chief diversity officer and executive director of intercultural integration at FPU and now project director at U.C. Merced; and Melanie Howard, Ph.D., associate professor and program director of biblical & theological studies.
The four gave an original presentation at the International Forum for the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) in Grapevine, TX, February 12, 2022. Not only was theirs one of a few dozen selected from more than 300 proposals, it also led to direct application at a member university.
“A Rag-Tag Band of Prophets: Lessons Learned in Constructing a Comprehensive Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from Scratch” detailed the process FPU used in developing its first comprehensive University Diversity Plan, adopted in the Fall 2020 semester.
The presentation offered an overview of the process whereby faculty, staff, and administrative collaborators at FPU developed and implemented FPU’s University Diversity Plan, 2020-2025. Although FPU’s situation is in some ways unique, the presentation shared transferable tips that could be used by other CCCU institutions developing their own strategic diversity plans.
“Rag-Tag Band of Prophets” was well received. “Our peers from across other CCCU institutions seemed deeply grateful for the presentation. The long line of people waiting to talk to us or gather more information after the formal presentation itself attests to the ways in which the work we’ve accomplished at FPU is catching attention,” Howard said.
The work also caught the attention of Ashlee Johnson, associate vice president for advancement at Missouri Baptist University. Johnson asked the presenters to serve as visiting expert presenters for the MBU Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, offering MBU a model by sharing what they achieved at FPU. The team offered a slightly modified version of its CCCU presentation for the MBU committee, answered questions about its work and shared resources.
“Although we will always have work to do to improve diversity, equity and inclusion at FPU, our team is encouraged by the interaction that we have had with CCCU partners who are also engaged in this work. We look forward to future collaborations that will continue to improve diversity, equity and inclusion across Christian higher education,” Howard said.