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MyMBU

Diversity

Missouri Baptist front interest banner

Missouri Baptist University is committed to maintaining a community that recognizes and values the inherent worth and dignity of every person.  Missouri Baptist University affirms that an important part of the integration of faith and learning is the recognition that all people are created in the image of God and worthy of respect and dignity.  We seek to ensure that all students have full access to the educational, social, and spiritual growth opportunities that the University provides to ensure that students understand and appreciate one of the University’s core values which is “social change through service and leadership.”

Through its curricula and classroom experiences, the University seeks to develop and nurture diversity because it strengthens the organization, promotes creative problem solving, and enriches us all.  The expectation is that faculty members present materials and activities that are respectful of diverse groups including, but not limited to race, gender, color, national or ethnic origin, age, qualified disability, military service, learning differences, or socioeconomic status.

Definition of Diversity:

MBU defines diversity as the purposeful inclusion of all people who can add to the richness of personal and cultural perspectives represented at MBU and the full integration of those individuals into both the social and intellectual life at MBU.  MBU supports a diverse university that includes all aspects but is not limited to human differences such as, race, gender, color, national or ethnic origin, age, qualified disability, military service, learning differences, or socioeconomic status.

Diversity as an Institutional Asset:

Individual differences that define one’s culture are an expression of one’s identities prior to entering the learning environment.  Individual learning styles and life experiences along with one’s groups and social uniqueness are also a part of one’s identity.  MBU does not seek to discard or minimize these self-contexts.  To maximize learning outcomes within our community, MBU acknowledges the full range of one’s differences and distinctiveness in order to engage all learners in the educational process.  By furthering MBU’s initiative for inclusivity, MBU can then reach the institution’s purpose of providing a transformative learning community for MBU students.

Reaching MBU’s initiatives as a Christ-centered academic institution cannot end with diversity alone.  For MBU to be a center of acceptance, biblical teaching, spiritual renewal and reconciliation, we must ground our diversity practices in the intellectual, social, and spiritual renewal for individuals, communities, and the region.  Diversity practices should be utilized as a critical component to the development of holistic self-development and personal transformation within a learning environment that enhances students’ capacities for critical thinking and cognitive expression.  Ultimately, diversity is part of one’s response to the Word of God; it is a means to becoming a reconciled community and providing a model for the world.  MBU seeks to be a light in a world that is troubled often by one’s own humanity and that needs examples of love and maturity in God’s purpose for us.  Engaging diversity at MBU is an asset in one’s search to realizing God’s vision for the body of Christ and to improve the learning environment that calls into practice the ministry of reconciliation. 

Scope and Outcomes:

As part of MBU’s Mission and Vision statement, MBU espouses a core value ‘to teach, empower, and inspire students for service and lifelong learning’.  MBU seeks to achieve this mission statement by providing a transformative learning community for all MBU students.  This is not only important because it is part of MBU’s mission statement but because it is part of MBU’s obligation as a learning institution to maintain accreditation from various organizations, such as the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).  In order to maintain these accreditations, MBU must understand HLC’s focus on diversity.  In its Higher Learning Commission Statement (Appendix C), HLC makes the following statement about the expectations for its member institutions in regard to diversity:

“The commission recognizes the value that member organizations place on their histories,            traditions, and missions and the effect of such factors on their policies and practices.   Therefore, the Commission does not prescribe a set of actions to address issues of diversity. However, through its Criteria, the Commission does expect its member           organizations to evidence positive responses to issues of diversity and to show the       relationship of those responses to the integrity of their operations.”

In order to achieve MBU’s Mission and Vision, “to teach, empower, and inspire students for service and lifelong learning”, as well as to demonstrate to accreditation organizations such as HLC, MBU must utilize the full range of humanity that necessitates inclusion.  This inclusion is an enrichment of one’s relationships with one another and must be present within the curricular, co-curricular, and social settings where individuals can connect and express themselves within the institutional environment.  Coustaut (2007) states that inclusive excellence describes an institutional environment that “links diversity and excellence by intentionally engaging diversity for the educational benefit of all students”.

Linking diversity in the academic setting should provide meaningful engagement of intellectual and interpersonal expression of how we as human beings engage as well as how we operate within an institutional context.  MBU bears a responsibility to provide a learning environment which systematically explores one’s awareness, cognitive ability, and development toward the understanding of how academic excellence intersects diversity and faith.

Developing a holistic graduate requires preparing students to fully engage the world in which they will live.  Graduates of MBU should be prepared to interact within diverse intellectual, social, cultural, economic, and geographical contexts.  MBU must, then, prepare graduates to appreciate global diversity, think critically, and be aware of the inequities within our global society in order to become agents of reconciliation in our world.

Holistic development also requires intercultural competency, which is achieved by understanding one’s own perspective and social context and by nurturing a sense of humility.  This introspection forms a basis of understanding of the diversity and cultural differences of others.  Additionally, it forms the basis of appreciating and modeling God’s Word in life and practice.

Diversity Committee:

The diversity committee was created with the following responsibilities:

  • To assist with the development of policies on diversity
  • To assist with the implementation of diversity activities across campus related to hiring practices, student recruitment, academic activities, and services
  • To inform and alert campus personnel about diversity issues that affect the University community (MBU Committee Handbook, 2015-2016)