Greater inclusion and equity has been emphasized in every level of authority and in every department on campus, even though diversity has been sought after and appreciated by Fuller for decades. This past year Fuller has pushed for change in leadership with the addition of three new trustees, Nicholas Braithwaite, Nicholas Pearce, and Katherine Herrick Drake, to the board; the promotion of ethnic center directors to assistant provosts; the appointment of Ted Cosse and Amos Yong to dean of SOP and dean SOT and SIS, respectively (after the faithful leadership of interim deans Marianne Meye Thompson and Peter Lim); Alexis Abernethy’s appointment to the newly created role of associate provost for faculty inclusion and equity; and the appointment of Mari Clements as the first woman in Fuller’s history to become provost.
In her new role, Dr. Abernethy has collaborated with several other groups to develop and implement a Strategic Approach Toward Inclusive Excellence. This plan has generated the Faculty Development Group for Inclusion and Equity, the building of a database of inclusion-related resources for faculty, grants awarded to faculty inclusion efforts, the revising of job descriptions, the hiring of diverse faculty members, an institution-wide mandate of setting inclusion and equity related goals, a commitment to all-employee implicit bias training, and many other strategies. Abernethy stresses the importance of a comprehensive and strategic plan for fostering genuine diversity and inclusion, saying, “Fuller has made concerted efforts to address diversity issues, but these efforts have tended to be isolated initiatives rather than a more strategic approach. Isolated initiatives do not address issues such as compositional diversity, campus climate, students’ multiple identities, curriculum transformation, and classroom and cocurricular practices as well as learning. I pray that God would transform us as we reset and embolden us to engage in a strategic process that results in inclusive and equitable change for faculty, students, staff, and senior administration.” (For ongoing updates on inclusion and equity at Fuller, visit Fuller.edu/Inclusion.)