Institutional Diversity Strategic Plan
Biola University’s Institutional Diversity Strategic Plan, which officially launched in March 2021, is a comprehensive, multi-year plan that will allow for greater flourishing of God’s vision for unity amidst diversity on our campus and beyond. Below, learn more about the plan’s overarching goals, as well as the specific initiatives and strategies that will enable us to work toward being a just and equitable university — grounded in God’s truth and defined by Christ’s love.
The Four E’s
Explore Biola University’s main goals in achieving unity amidst diversity, and download the overview for a more detailed introduction to the institutional diversity strategic plan.
Create a campus community that actively practices and invites all to embrace diversity.
Equip employees to enhance business practices and services as they support educational excellence.
Engage students in diversity-related educational opportunities to prepare students to work and serve in an ever-increasingly diverse world.
Expand the accessibility and retention of individuals from diverse backgrounds on campus at all levels of the university.
Key Diversity Terms
As Biola seeks to live out the biblical mandate of unity amidst diversity, we recognize the need to have common language for our context. Our approach to the language of diversity is designed to reflect both our biblical mandate and our mission to "equip men and women in mind and character" in accordance with Scripture.
Plan Formation Timeline
CDO synthesizes previous drafts of strategic plans, researches best practices, gathers university data and crafts the strategic plan.
Division of Diversity & Inclusion vets the plan.
Institutional Diversity Strategic Plan Task Force vets the plan and presents priorities to the Advisory Board.
Advisory Board reviews and provides initial approval of the plan.
Advisory Board provides final approval; Assessment Working Group drafts assessment metrics.
Due to COVID, a virtual preview of the plan is announced to the community.
Formal launch of the plan.
- The board unanimously approves Unity Amidst Diversity: Theological Statement on Diversity.
- Biola University debuts video explaining Why Diversity is a Value at Biola.
- The D&I team develops Key Diversity Terms for the Biola community.
- The D&I website is launched.
- Human Resources incorporates online diversity education videos for new employee onboarding.
- Enrollment management increases the number of LEAD and FirstGen scholarships.
- The Symphony Learning Track is launched in collaboration with Human Resources (Professional Development in Cultural Humility for Staff and Faculty).
- The “Inclusive Hiring Training” is included in HR’s Ascend Learning Track (Leadership Development).
- D&I Partners are trained to support D&I work on campus.
- The Board of Trustees participates in an educational session.
- The Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) committee is launched.
- The deans participate in an educational session.
- The Student Government Association (SGA) participates in the annual educational session.
- The Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) participates in an educational session.
- The curricular and co-curricular education sessions are set to be ongoing.
- The president and CDO meet with current students.
- The Director of Faculty Diversity Initiative & Wellbeing position is created.
- The intercultural competency online module for faculty launches.
- The CDO meets with alumni.
- Staff and faculty are trained on personal implementation of Unity Amidst Diversity statement.
- The Director of Faculty Diversity Initiative & Wellbeing position is hired.
- THe Faculty “Diversity of Thought” task force begins work on the Diversity of Thought statement.
- The CDO partners with Student Development to develop student leaders in cultural humility.
- The president and CDO present on “Why Diversity is a Value at Biola” to all new students during orientation.
- The CDO creates a diversity student leader task force.
- Student video on “Why Diversity is a Value at Biola” is created by SEID and Student Development.
Why does Biola need an Institutional Diversity Strategic Plan?
Historically, the topic of diversity has been a challenging one that has polarized various organizations, including college campuses. At Biola, we believe that with a clearly articulated biblical vision regarding diversity, God’s vision for unity will ultimately be brought to our campus community. While some approaches to diversity focus on the attitude of tolerance, as Christians we affirm our calling to go beyond this to practice sacrificial Christ-like love. This love is the foundation for unity amidst diversity within the Kingdom community.
When we refer to diversity, we don’t simply mean demographic diversity but also the diversity of thought within our community. It is well documented that diversity helps colleges achieve academic and institutional excellence — it will help Biola achieve our mission of “equipping men and women in mind and character to impact the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.” In order to leverage diversity to achieve our mission, “academic leaders need to become simultaneously more strategic and proactive in their approach to designing and implementing diversity policies and programs.” Hence, the creation of an Institutional Diversity Strategic Plan. In order to be successful, the plan must be concise, have the capacity to anticipate change, and the workload must be shared among champions across the university.
The purpose of the plan is simple: to create “a culture of Christ-like love which is seen through mutually edifying interpersonal relationships and equitable institutional policies that allow for a thriving intercultural community.” This will ultimately be a counter-cultural witness to the world.
What’s the accountability for the plan? How will Biola know if we are making progress?
Cabinet members and senior leaders in their areas have been assigned to be champions over designated portions of the plan. The Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) meets with these leaders regularly to ensure progress is being made. Additionally, assessment is vital to ensure that we hold ourselves accountable to making progress. An assessment plan to measure our progress and hold us accountable was drafted during Fall 2019 by the Assessment of the Diversity Strategic Plan Working Group, composed of ten faculty and staff representatives. The D&I team is currently finalizing the assessment plan and gathering baseline data. Progress on the Strategic Plan will be communicated annually to the Biola community.
What can we look forward to over the next couple of years?
Below is a list of some of the actions we will be taking in the next couple of years.
- Identify events and opportunities for training and education of students on diversity and inclusion throughout the year, in and out of the classroom.
- Provide professional development opportunities to equip faculty and staff for the increasingly diverse student body attending the university.
- Increase the integration of diversity of thought within the curriculum through works of scholars from diverse backgrounds.
- Host multiple all-community gatherings led by Biola’s President engaging in topics that help advance the theological understanding and practical implications of pursuing diversity at Biola.
- Provide multiple opportunities to practice diversity and inclusion within the Biola community.
- Expand Biola’s FirstGen program to serve all incoming and current FirstGen students.
- Work toward enhancing SCORR conference to become a national conference.
- Engage with parents and alumni on different diversity initiatives.
- Collaborate with leaders to ensure major university events and student programming better reflect the diverse cultures represented in our student body.
- Fundraise money specifically geared toward diversity and inclusion initiatives at Biola.
- Ensure diversity is a lived institutional value evident in our practices and policies throughout the university.