Race and Justice in the Academic Program Academic Initiatives
Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly
The Book of Micah offers one of the most eloquent passages from the Hebrew Bible on the duties of the faithful—the call “to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God” (Micah 6:8). The famous verse, written at least five centuries before Christ, comes near the end of a prophetic book filled with oracles of judgment and cries of lament, entreaties to care for the poor and disadvantaged, and reminders of communal failure and broken covenants. In the sixth chapter, the admonition on justice, mercy, and humility is given to a powerful man who, when told of his people’s failures, asks to know what God expects of him. What he hears is that traditional actions and offerings are not enough.
The ancient context helps us see how the passage can provide a compelling framework for the work of justice, equity, and inclusion we are committed to pursuing.
The Academic Division of Westmont has a number of initiatives underway, and several that it commits to pursuing in the months and years ahead. Some of these projects have been highlighted by students as actions that would make a tangible impact on Westmont’s climate and signal our commitment to creating a more just, equitable, and inclusive community. We are grateful for their suggestions and plan to provide semi-annual updates here on our progress. Anyone with questions about the projects or updates can email email@example.com.
Last updated March 2021
COMPLETED AND ONGOING INITIATIVES
- Ethnic Studies Minor In spring 2020, the Academic Senate approved the revised Ethnic Studies minor. The new interdisciplinary core seminar for the minor was offered for the first time in spring 2021.
- Department Inventory of Courses In fall 2020, department chairs were asked to submit an inventory identifying courses that address race, ethnicity, inclusion, and justice in a substantial way.
- General Education In March, 2021, the Faculty approved a proposal from the General Education Committee to add a Justice, Reconciliation, and Diversity requirement to the General Education. This requirement asks students to consider structures of inclusion and exclusion, with a particular focus on present and historical issues of race in the U.S. context. Complete information about the General Education Requirement will be included in the 2021-22 Catalog. The motions passed by the faculty can be found on this document.
Westmont has appointed John Blondell, Professor of Theatre, to a new role as Global Ambassador in the Performing Arts. In this capacity, Blondell will continue his longstanding work in international theatre. In conjunction with this appointment, Westmont has created an Artist/Scholar-in-Residence program that will amplify the Theatre Arts Department's focus on diversity, justice, global engagement, and intercultural competency. The first residency is planned for 2021-22.
For more information, see this news release.
As of Fall 2020, all applicants for full-time faculty positions are required to submit a statement in response to this prompt: “Westmont College's core statements on "Why Diversity Matters" and "Biblical and Theological Foundations of Diversity" express our commitment to diversity as it reflects Christ's reconciling work in the world. Describe the experiences, perspectives, and skills you would bring to support this commitment.”
ACADEMIC INITIATIVES UNDERWAY
What is "Race"and Racism?: A Panel Discussion Ethnic Studies Lecture, 10/15/20. For details, see the Gaede Institute Lecture Archives.
Derisive Play: Experiencing Pleasure in Anti-Black Violence, Kya Mangrum, Paul C. Wilt Phi Kappa Phi Lecture, 10/28/20. For details, see the Gaede Institute Lecture Archives.
Brown Church: Five Centuries of Latina/o Social Justice, Theology, and Identity, Robert Chao Romero, UCLA. Sponsored by the Religious Studies Department, Enthic Studies Program, Gaede Institute for the Liberal Arts. For details, see the Gaede Institute Lectures site.
Workshops on Teaching for Racial Equity. In Fall 2020 and Spring 2021, two cohorts of faculty participated in workshops on implicit bias conducted by Carmel Saad and Jarrod Schwartz.
Anti-Racism and Higher Education, Michelle Clifton-Soderstrom, Northpark University. Sponsored by the Ethnic Studies Program and the Gaede Institute for the Liberal Arts. For details, see the Gaede Institute Lectures site.
In 2020-21, we are assessing our Diversity Institutional Learning Outcome which reads, Westmont graduates will effectively analyze topics and human experiences using categories such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, socio-economic status, and disability with respect to a biblical vision of human flourishing.
Diversity Assessment team includes:
Dr. Dinora Cardoso (Spanish), Lead Assessment Specialist for Diversity ILO Assessment
Dr. Lisa DeBoer (Art)
Dr. Alister Chapman (History)
Dr. Michael Everest (Chemistry)
Dr. Blake Kent (Sociology and IR)
Dr. Scott Lisea (College Pastor)
Dr. Kya Mangrum (English)
Dr. Tatiana Nazarenko (Dean of Curriculum and EE)
Dr. Carmel Saad (Psychology
Dr. Meredith Whitnah (Sociology)