The Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Committee has been tasked with drafting an institution-wide DE&I Plan that will include goals, initiatives, and measurable outcomes, including expectations for the Board of Directors. More details about the plan will be shared as the work continues.
In May-June 2018, Employees of Luther Seminary completed a mandatory training through EverFi, a leader in online educational offerings, called Inclusion in the Modern Workplace.
A task force comprised of alumni, faculty, and staff has been created to oversee the work of advancing diversity, inclusion, and equity at Luther Seminary. Task force members have responsibility in many areas in the life of the institution, including academics, student experience, alumni services, and human resources. Task force members include:
- Arnita Walls, director of human resources
- Dirk Lange, academic dean
- Sarah Luedtke-Jones, interim dean of students
- Marie Hayes, director of international student and scholar affairs
- Justin Lind-Ayers, Luther Seminary pastor
- Dave Scherer, Christian public leader coordinator and multicultural engagement specialist
- Amy Marga, faculty
- Matthew Skinner, faculty
- Guillermo Hansen, faculty
- Jaddie Edwards, alumna
A diverse group of faculty, staff, and students were assembled to draft a new welcome statement that expresses Luther’s commitment to radical hospitality in light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The statement was endorsed by the faculty, student council, and board of directors in April and May 2018. The full text of the statement is below.
Luther Seminary is a learning community rooted in the unconditional promise of God’s love for all people. In Christ, all are neighbors one to another. In a dynamic of mutual welcome, we seek to learn from one another’s particularities, including but not limited to differences of race, ethnicity, nationality, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic circumstance, dis/ability, political perspective, ecclesial tradition, and theological commitments. Intentional learning happens through critical discourse that challenges previously held assumptions. Faculty, staff, students, and board members commit to engaging deeply in Christ-centered relationships across differences through honest, courageous, and respectful dialogue. This is possible only by the grace of God. We pray that through the power of the Holy Spirit, we will be a community of reconciliation, and one that educates Christian public leaders who can be conduits of God’s healing and mercy in the world.
Human Resources Director Arnita Walls scheduled a mandatory all-day staff and faculty training, Transforming White Privilege, on Friday, April 13, 2018. More than 70 Luther Seminary employees attended. An overview of the workshop is below.
The Transforming White Privilege (TWP) curriculum is designed to help current and emerging leaders from a variety of sectors better identify, talk about, and intervene to address white privilege and its consequences. The curriculum includes lessons plans, handouts, PowerPoint slides, and video clips covering a number of key concepts, tools, and strategies for change. For example, the curriculum helps groups explore dominant cultural assumptions and perspectives about what is considered normal, appropriate, desirable and/or valid. Dominant culture narratives or norms – e.g. what constitutes a “family,” who is considered dangerous, intelligent, acceptable, and whose perspectives are valid – are codified in customs, laws, institutions, policies, and practices. They reinforce stereotypes and limit fair access in terms of who belongs inside and who remains outside circles of human concern (as the concept is used by John Powell and others). In addition, cultural assumptions are part of what continue to advantage some groups and disadvantage others. And, even when those inequities are persistent and obvious, the history and current policies and practices that drive them often may not be. The deep investigation and chance to “work with” these ideas can help build participants’ capacity to identify, talk productively about, and act to address white culture, white privilege, and their consequences in their spheres of influence.
March 12-18, 2018, the student group Dismantling Racism: Beloved Community (DR:BC) led a series of actions for the entire community called Courageous Conversations.
After the facilitated Respectful Conversations event with Prof. Mary Hess on Friday, March 16, evaluation data was collected. You are invited to review all the responses here.
Post most recently updated on April 3, 2018. Events included:
- Monday, March 12: Post a prayer for Luther Seminary
- Tuesday, March 13: Online conversation with Rev. Kenneth Wheeler and Rev. Dr. Dirk Lange
- Wednesday, March 14: Lunch conversation with Francisco Herrera
- Thursday, March 15: Lunch conversation with Francisco Herrera and online conversation with Francisco Herrera and Shari Seifert
- Friday, March 16: Respectful Conversations with Dr. Mary Hess and other trained facilitators and community time at Station 280.
DR:BC also created a website with full details about the week’s events.