Diversity at IWU

Find Your Way Forward

Striving for Kingdom Diversity

Indiana Wesleyan University is a Christ-centered academic institution in the Wesleyan Church, striving to be a diverse learning community reflecting the world in which we live. There is unique energy at IWU which is a beautiful blend of academic excellence, innovation, purpose, and faith. Born out of a tradition of social activism for women’s rights and the abolition of slavery, the Wesleyan Church is committed to growing IWU as a multicultural institution.

The primary value for Indiana Wesleyan University is Christlikeness. The challenge to follow Christ compels us to pursue a personal and professional lifestyle of commitment, leadership, service, stewardship, innovation, and diversity.  A truly great Christian university cultivates and sustains a community culture that values, challenges, and supports all of its members.

Diversity Matters at IWU

The work of becoming a community that reflects and promotes the diversity of God’s Kingdom is personally rewarding and enriching. More importantly, a truly great Christian university will not be diverse as a matter of duty, or simply as a happenstance of changing demographics. Instead, a great Christian university will recognize that diversity of experience, thought and culture is essential for transformational learning.

Diversity and equality are deeply embedded in the heritage of both the University and Church. Indiana Wesleyan University stands ready - with the resources and the passion - to equip future generations of learners with skills they will need to meet the challenges of our rapidly changing world.

students singing in chapel

Annual Diversity Events

Join us at these great events throughout the year as we celebrate our diverse learning community.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration

Black History Month

Common Day of Learning: Isaiah 1:17 Day

Luther Lee Lecture Series

Irish American Heritage Month

Women’s History Month

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month 

Veterans Recognition

Our Diversity Heritage Runs Deep

2024 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration - The Beloved Community

The 11th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration was held in the IWU Barnes Student Center Commons to focus on the value of The Beloved Community. There was performance by the IWU Gospel Choir, student testimony, and a keynote message and Call to Action by Rev. Dr. Angulus Wilson.

2024 Day of Common Learning: Isaiah 1:17

2023 Veterans Day Celebration

Keynote speaker: Steven Shepherd (Command Sergeant Major/E9 U.S. Army retired), Combat Veteran and Self-Employed Safety and Security Consultant Recipient - Awarded Bronze Star, Joint Meritorious Service Medal, Army Meritorious Service Medal).

2023 Women’s History Month Recognition Breakfast

Dr. Toni Pauls delivered a thought-provoking message focused on the theme of Continuing to Make An Impact through Change, which focused heavily on Isaiah 43:19.

2023 A Day of Courageous Conversations

Nice is Different from Good

2023 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

This year’s theme was, Take the Baton: It’s Your Turn. This event included worship and prayer with IWU staff and students explaining, testifying about, or praying for portions of the “I Have a Dream” Speech, as well as the IWU Gospel Choir performing, and a call to action from alumnus Ronald Morrell Jr.

2022 Veterans Day Celebration

Keynote speaker: Dr. Lori Goss-Reaves (IWU professor—spoke about her recently published book Kiss Lori For Me, which details her journey to discover the truth about her father, Vietnam Corpsman Larry Goss’ death in Vietnam. A copy of her book was given to all veterans in attendance).

2022 Women’s History Month Recognition Breakfast

2022 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

The 9th Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration, Living the Dream, was presented as a live virtual celebration on January 14, 2022 to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through worship and word. Dr. Alex Huskey served as the MC of the celebration. Those offering elements of the celebration included Dr. Todd Williams, Destiny Christian Center Worship Team, JC Barnett III, Lisa Taylor-Weaver, IWU Gospel Choir, Rylee Morris, Wesley Seminary Band, and Chief Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.

2021 Veterans Day Celebration

Keynote speaker: Dr. Marian Sides (Col. USAFR NC retired, Troop Commander - Operation Desert Storm, Field Commander - Operation Provide Care).

2021 Women’s History Month Recognition Breakfast

2021 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

A live virtual event was present under the direction of committee chair Dr. Joanne Barnes to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as he allowed the Lord to make him an instrument of love and justice. This event was to honor Dr. Martin Luther King and celebrate the dream of radical, revolutionary love that still inspires the world. Many participated including the Eastern Star Church Fishers Campus Praise Team, Kenneth E. Sullivan Jr. of New Direction Church in Indianapolis, Zion Global Ministries, Dr. Debby Flickinger of Union Institute & University, Phoenix Park-Kim, and Dr. Kwasi Kena.

2021 A Day of Courageous Conversations

2020 Veterans Day Celebration

Entirely virtual due to Covid pandemic. Presenters were Dr. Lori Goss-Reaves, Jim Waechter (Museum of the Soldier), and a panel discussion on Veteran well-being (Rev. Brian Daehn, Dr. Theresa Veach, KC Haight, Bob Burchell—moderator).

2020 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

The Chicago Mass Choir, featured guests of the 2020 MLK Celebration Concert, reminded us He is God “in a weary land”. Once again, the MLK Celebration Concert brought together not just the IWU community but the surrounding communities as well. A highlight of the evening was the collaboration of the IWU Chorale Singers with the Chicago Mass Choir as they sang, “God is My Everything”.

2020 Women’s History Month Recognition Breakfast

2020 A Day of Courageous Conversations

Belonging and Becoming

2019 Veterans Day Celebration

Keynote speaker: John Copas (Director of Marion, IN Chapter of Guitars For Vets).

2019 Diversity Leadership Summitt

October brought IWU’s first Diversity Leadership Summit. The two-day event, featuring Dr. Damon Williams, offered multiple sessions designed for campus units as well as a keynote address that was warmly attended by many community leaders. At each session, Dr. Williams shared recommended steps to move our community toward inclusive excellence and responded to audience questions.

2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

Author, essayist and adventurer, Dr. Rich Benjamin was the guest speaker at the 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. After his keynote address, “King & The More Perfect Union”, Dr. Benjamin held a Q & A session with audience members.

2019 A Day of Courageous Conversations

Engaging Neighbors, (re)Imagining Neighborhoods

2018 Inaugural Native American Heritage Month Celebration

A free concert in the Student Commons was held during the inaugural Native American Heritage Month celebration. Michael Jacobs, an award-winning Cherokee contemporary recording artist whose songs address issues such as peace, justice, suffering, the environment, relationship and wholeness was the featured performer for the event.

2018 Women's History Month Recognition Breakfast

Spring of 2018 brought the first annual gathering celebrating Women’s History Month on the IWU campus. Keynote speaker for the breakfast event was Barbara Boyd, the first African-American female television journalist in Indiana as well as the first African-American female in the state to anchor a newscast.

2018 Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel Service and Celebration Concert 

The Blind Boys of Alabama were the guest speakers and performers at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel Service, as well as the evening MLK Celebration Concert.These Grammy-winning artists are known for transcending barriers to race and genre to become one of the most acclaimed and celebrated groups in modern music.

2018 A Day of Courageous Conversations

2017 Diversity Campus Climate Survey Conducted

November brought the completion of the Viewfinder Diversity Campus Climate Survey, conducted by Campus Climate Surveys, LLC. Quantitative and qualitative reports were compiled to identify institutional action items flowing out of the findings.

2017 IWU Dedicates New Center for Student Veterans

studentveterans.png Realizing veterans face their own unique challenges when returning to school, in November of 2017 IWU dedicated a new Center for Student Veterans at its Cincinnati Education Center.  Providing a comfortable place to study and connect with other veterans, the center is designed to provide support, guidance, help and understanding for students who are veterans, aiding them as they complete their educational journey. 

2017 Inaugural Veterans Day Prayer Breakfast

Expanding upon its annual Veterans Day programming, IWU held its inaugural Veterans Day Prayer Breakfast in November. Attended by community members and University employees, the guests enjoyed breakfast as they heard Dr. Kersten Priest recount the history of Dr. Lewis A. Jackson, a former IWU student and later a director of training for the Army Air Force 66th Flight Training Detachment, who trained three groups of Tuskegee Airmen.

2017 Director of Military and Veteran Recruitment Position Created

A newly created role, Director of Military and Veteran Recruitment, was created by IWU and filled with the hiring of Kenneth (KC) Haight in June of 2017.  With his extensive background of serving our country as a US Air Force noncommissioned officer and his experience in recruiting, KC was ideally suited to be the inaugural director as he oversees recruitment of active-duty service members and veterans for the adult enrollment program at IWU’s National and Global Campus.

2017 A Common Day of Learning:  Courageous Conversations

In February 2017, Indiana Wesleyan University added new programming to its annual Love Revolution Week - designed to provide our university community an opportunity for a multicultural and intercultural “Week of Learning”. The week now includes A Common Day of Learning: Courageous Conversations. Venues were overflowing with participants engaging in discussions between students, guests and presenters on a variety of themes, problems and issues faced in our world today.

2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel Service and Celebration

Pastor Wintley A. Phipps was the guest speaker and vocalist at the annual 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel Service, as well as the evening MLK Celebration Concert. One of the most watched Gospel Music artists on YouTube, Wintley Phipps is a world-renowned vocal artist, education activist, motivational speaker, author, and pastor. For more than thirty-five years, he has traveled the world delivering messages of hope, advocacy, and equality to thousands.

2017 A Day of Courageous Conversations

Boundless Love

2016 Inaugural Veterans Day Celebration

Sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Enrichment and Employee Development, the Joy Council, several professors, chaplains and students teamed to develop and organize a very meaningful 2016 Veterans Day Celebration. The first of the annual celebrations received university wide participation with events taking place during Non-Residential Devotions, during Student Chapel and in the Commons area of Barnes Student Center. In addition, IWU began offering a 10% tuition discount for veterans who have exhausted their post 9-11 GI Bill Benefits, or veterans who are no longer eligible for those benefits.

2016 Intergroup Dialogue Education Facilitator Training  

In October, 30 IWU employees successfully completed Intergroup Dialogue Diversity Education, a 2.5 day workshop designed to prepare facilitators to conduct and manage effective intergroup discussions and feedback with IWU students, faculty, staff and administration. 

2016 Building and Creating Diversity In Curriculum Workshop 

In April faculty were invited to attend a workshop facilitated by Dr. Lawrence Burnley, Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, aimed to introduce participants to inclusive core curricula that are informed by and responsive to diverse cultures and identities in order to advance a Christ-centered educational atmosphere. 

2016 Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Policy

In February, IWU developed and put in place a Limited English Proficiency Policy and associated plan to help identify reasonable steps for providing language assistance to persons with limited English proficiency who wish to access programs, courses, or support services at IWU.

2016 Board Of Trustees Diversity Training

Dr. Pete Menjares and Dr. Soong-Chan Rah conducted Diversity Training for IWU’s Board of Trustees during the February 2016 Retreat.

2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel Service

Bishop John Drew Sheard spoke at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel Service held in January of 2016.  Bishop Sheard is the senior pastor at Greater Emmanuel Institutional Church of God in Christ in Detroit, MI.  He is also currently serving as a member of the Presidium of the Church of God in Christ and as the Jurisdictional Bishop of the Michigan-North Central Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction.  In 2007, Bishop Sheard was inducted into the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers. 

2015 IWU Diversity Statement

In July administrators, faculty and staff began working on the IWU Diversity Statement.  The statement was formally rolled out at the 2016 MLK Celebration Concert.

2015 Dr. Christena Cleveland Guest Speaker At Luther Lee Lecture Series

In March Dr. Cleveland, an author, professor, and speaker with a passion for overcoming cultural divisions in groups, was the Guest Speaker for the Luther Lee Lecture Series.

2015 Introduction to Chinese Workshops

In August IWU began offering employee workshops that provided participants with a beginner’s level overview of the Chinese language.

2015 Diversity Recruitment & Retention Workshop

In February, a Diversity Recruitment & Retention workshop led by Dr. Sonel Shropshire was offered to IWU faculty.

2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel Service

In January, Reverend Shonda Gladden spoke at the first annual Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel Service.  Reverend Gladden is the pastor of Allen Temple AME Church of Marion, Indiana, an African Methodist Episcopal church that works to embrace the diversity of God’s Kingdom. 

2014 World Religions Chapel Service

In November, Dr. David Vardaman and Dr. Steve Horst spoke in a residential chapel service about various world religions.

2014 Chapel Services Honor Veterans

In November, the first annual Residential and Non-Residential Chapel Services honoring veterans were held.

2014 Diversity Mapping Project Begins

October began a months-long Diversity Mapping Project.  Led by Dr. Rona Halualani and Professor Hugh Haiker of Halualani & Associates, this mapping project provided data gauging IWU’s progress on diversity and inclusive excellence, as well as spotlighting areas for improvement. 

2014 An Evening With Luther Lee

Luther Lee was an abolitionist, feminist, and co-founder of the Wesleyan denomination.  On October 2, 2014 Dr. Bud Bence, Emeritus Professor of Church History at IWU, portrayed Luther Lee at this event hosted by the John Wesley Honors College and the Global Engagement Office. 

2014 Cultural Intelligence Employee Workshops

The workshops, which begin in September, focused on the recognition and improvement of each participant’s cultural intelligence level.

2014 Hispanic Heritage Month Recognized

In September/October, the first annual Residential and Non-Residential Chapel Services honoring Hispanic heritage were held.

2014 Introduction to Spanish Workshops 

In August 2014 IWU began offering employee workshops that provided participants with a beginner’s level overview of the Spanish language.

2014 English As A Second Language Program Launched

The English as a Second Language (ESL) Program was launched by the Global Engagement Office in order to help international students strengthen their English academic writing abilities.

2014 Inaugural Martin Luther King Gospel Concert

In January 2014, Indiana Wesleyan University held its first Martin Luther King gospel concert. The concert has since become an annual event enjoyed by students, faculty, and community members.

2014 Office of Multicultural Enrichment and Employee Development Established

Diversity and equality are deeply embedded in the heritage of both the University and the Church. Expanding on the concept, in 2014 IWU established The Office of Multicultural Enrichment and Employee Development.

2013 Employee Diversity Training Sessions For IWU Faculty

In December 2013 Employees of Indiana Wesleyan University participated in inaugural employee diversity training sessions.  These sessions focused on diversity in race, gender, religion, socioeconomic class, and other markers of difference in contemporary culture.

2012 Military Chaplain’s Endowed Scholarship Fund Established

The Military Chaplain’s Endowed Scholarship Fund was established in 2012 by Richard and Elinore Bareiss. This scholarship is made available to dependents of Wesleyan military chaplains (active duty or retired).

2010 IWU Multicultural Enrichment Council Established

IWU’s Multicultural Enrichment Council was established as part of Dr. Henry Smith’s vision. The council seeks to foster richly diverse curricular and co-curricular educational experiences and spiritual formation rooted in the Wesleyan tradition that fully engages students, faculty, and staff as we prepare all students for Christian service locally and globally. 

2010 Diversity Audit Survey Report Conducted At IWU

The 2010 Diversity Audit Survey Report was conducted by Dr. Pete Menjares from Biola University. Menjares’ report allowed the Multicultural Task Force to gain a clearer understanding of diversity at IWU and formulate next steps toward diversity.

2009 Multicultural Task Force Directive

At the direction of the IWU Board of Trustees, the Multicultural Task Force was created in order to examine and recommend an approach to create a campus culture that would be welcoming to all students and faculty of multicultural diversity and international origins. 

2002 Jackson Library Built

Lewis A. Jackson, who enrolled at Marion College after being turned down at another college due to his race, had a desire to change the world through his teaching. Even before graduating from Marion College in 1939, Dr. Jackson was teaching in local schools. It was Dr. Jackson’s love for higher education that moved his wife, Dr. Violet Jackson, and their two children, Dr. Robert Jackson and Joyce Dixon, to support IWU’s work in developing world-changing students through a major donation toward the building of this state of the art 79,000 square foot library named in his honor.

1991 Grant County Minority Scholarships Created

Barbara Faulkner-Roach, director of the Marion Black Community Chorus that performed on the Marion campus in February of 1991, established the Grant County Minority Scholarship to encourage minority students in Grant County to further their education at IWU.

1985 LEAP Program Established

The LEAP (Leadership Education for the Adult Professional) program at Marion College (now Indiana Wesleyan University) was established in 1985. This program was created to help adult students further their education. Among the Class of 1987 graduates were 170 students from the LEAP program.

1968 First Women’s Intercollegiate Sports Teams Formed

The Women’s Volleyball, Basketball, Field Hockey, and Tennis teams were formed during the 1968-1969 school year, 10 years ahead of the Title IX mandate. The first IWU intercollegiate sports team to win a NCCAA National Championship was the Women’s Volleyball team in the year of 1985-1986!

1963 Richard Bareiss Hired As School’s First Chaplain

Richard Bareiss had served 20 years as a U.S. Navy chaplain prior to his service at Marion College (now Indiana Wesleyan University). During his time as a college chaplain, Bareiss introduced the Volunteer Service Outreach Program, a campus organization dedicated to serving needs throughout the community. Those involved in the program spent time volunteering at the Veterans Administration Hospital, nursing homes, Big Brother/Big Sister programs, and writing to prisoners. 

1946 Marion College Veterans Organization Formed

By the fall of 1946, 100 veterans were enrolled in Marion College (now Indiana Wesleyan University). In fact, three of the Senior Officers for the Class of 1947 were veterans: James Decker (President), John York (Vice-President), and Byron Tippey (Treasurer). The Marion College Veterans Organization was formed to honor those who served our country. 

1944 Marjorie Elder Elected First Female Student Body President

Marjorie Elder was elected as the first female student body president of Marion College (now Indiana Wesleyan University) in the year 1944. Ms. Elder went on to teach at Marion College and write the book The Lord, The Landmarks, The Life in which she recorded the history of the University.

1942 International Relations Club Formed

The International Relations Club was formed by students at Marion College (now Indiana Wesleyan University) as a way to learn about and connect with different cultures.

1929 French Club Formed

The French Club was formed by students at Marion College (now Indiana Wesleyan University). The club later changed its name to the French-Spanish Club in 1931. 

1923 First Foreign Exchange Student Admitted

With the admission of Wilmer Riest, from Canada, a rich history of foreign exchange students began.

1920 - Marion College Officially Established

Both male and female students were admitted when Marion College (now Indiana Wesleyan University) opened. Despite segregation laws within the city of Marion, the college’s student body was also racially integrated from its founding. With a faculty of both men and women, Marion College was proud to have 22 graduates in their 1920-21 class.

A Commitment to Diversity

IWU, in covenant with God’s reconciling work and in accordance with biblical principles of historic Wesleyan tradition, commits to create a community that reflects kingdom diversity. We will foster an intentional environment that exhibits honor, respect, and dignity.

Acknowledging visible or invisible differences, our community authentically values each member’s earthly and eternal worth. We refute ignorance and isolation and embrace deliberate and courageous engagement that exhibits Christ’s commandment to love all humankind.

We're Becoming More Diverse

Discover how IWU's commitment to diversity has helped make us a more Kingdom-like institution at our Marion, Indiana campus and online!

Past Assessments and Recommendations

Diversity and inclusion is not a new effort at Indiana Wesleyan University. Rather, it is a journey that we have been traveling as we work to become a community that reflects and promotes the diversity of God’s Kingdom. The documents below provide details of our journey.

View Report

The April 2015 Diversity Mapping Analysis Leverage Points & Recommendations Report was completed by Rona Halualani, Managing Principal and Founder of Halualani & Associates. This document identifies leverage points and recommendations for IWU in terms of the future directions and pathways with regard to maximizing its work on diversity, inclusion, and equity. These recommendations were informed by the diversity mapping analysis.

View Report

The July 2014 Findings & Recommendations Report was completed by Montage Diversity Consultants, LLC. This document explored the feedback and findings from 20 months of onsite training at IWU Residential and Non-Residential Education Campuses and provided recommendations for future engagement and multicultural programming at IWU.