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Diversity at Pepperdine

Pepperdine University Diversity Council Charter

October 6, 2004

Pepperdine University is guided by its foundational Christian mission. Our mission inspires in us a profound respect for and love of the diverse cultures where we live, work, and study-both in culturally diverse Southern California and on our many campuses throughout Europe, Asia, and South America.

When Pepperdine speaks of "diversity", it does so in a broad sense­­-one that encompasses a multitude of dimensions, including race, ethnicity, gender, religion, cultural background, class, ability, national origin and more. Diversity, as we understand it, means that the institution's many constituents are a mosaic of people united by a deep and abiding respect for our Christian heritage.

Diversity is central to our mission and is essential to the health of our institution. A diverse university community of students, faculty, staff and board members enriches the learning experience for all, and prepares us for the multicultural world in which we reside. In the words of President Benton:

Pepperdine's commitment to diversity stems from a Christian heritage that compels us to love justice and to treat every individual equally with respect and compassion. Our faith also confirms that we are finite and therefore our knowledge is incomplete. It is through the inclusion and experience of others from diverse points of view that we often begin to see dimensions of truth previously unseen by us. Pepperdine views diversity as one facet of the prism of values formed by our mission. (Envisioning a Bold Future and Equal Opportunity Statement, www.pepperdine.edu)

This commitment calls for the creation of the University Diversity Council (UDC). The Council builds upon the foundation of programs, research, and suggestions of many members of our community, including those who have been members of the Seaver Diversity Council, and is funded by grants from the James Irvine Foundation, Campus Diversity Initiative (CDI).

Consistent with the University's Christian mission, the University Diversity Council will:

  1. Develop a strategic plan for diversity with annual goals to encourage increased recruitment and retention of diverse faculty, staff, and students.
  2. Foster mutual respect, appreciation and understanding among the members of a diverse university community.
  3. Disseminate information to members of the university community about "best practices" which encourage diversity.
  4. Serve as a medium of communication on diversity issues between and among the schools and other institutional units.
  5. Assess the University's "cultural climate" and recommend changes based upon the data.
  6. Sponsor programs and activities which encourage diversity.

The UDC will seek funding from the University, the schools, foundations, and other external sources.

The Pepperdine University Diversity Council will be a university-wide council composed of faculty, staff, and students who will join with senior management in a collaborative effort to create strategic plans and goals for diversity in alignment with our Christian mission and vision. This involves implementing programs that increase and enhance student, faculty, and staff diversity at all levels of the University.

Furthering our commitment to diversity will require some organizational changes that entail devising strategies and goals to fully realize the benefits of diversity by promoting effective communication, collaboration, and understanding among all stakeholders. The Council will use research and assessment data to increase the institution's capacity to achieve annual diversity goals, thereby helping the University to become a "learning institution."

Council members will seek to design a system of responsibility, accountability, and recognition for increasing campus diversity, improving the campus climate, and advancing the knowledge base for creating and sustaining a culturally diverse community. Council members will also assist in networking with diverse individuals who support our mission, making them aware that Pepperdine is seeking qualified applicants to become part of the Pepperdine community. The Council will encourage both internal and external collaborations and partnerships that will extend diversity and multicultural education to the broader Los Angeles community.

Creation and Composition of the Council

  1. The University Diversity Council will consist of a total of approximately 19 faculty, staff, and student members of Pepperdine University, who will be voting members, and of the Provost of the University, who will be a non-voting, ex officio member. The Dean of each school shall appoint all faculty members from his or her respective school, or the Dean may choose to be one of the voting members counted as faculty for his or her school.
  2. The Provost, in consultation with the Education Council, shall appoint University position members, staff members, chair, co-chair and student members.

Membership will include faculty and staff representation from all Pepperdine schools and where practicable, the council will be composed of approximately 40% undergraduate and 60% graduate, as well as university representation. Council members are appointed for a two year period, but may serve successive terms. The Council will encourage and support the work of school-level diversity councils.

Presiding Officers, Voting, and Scheduling of Meetings

The co-chair will act in all respects in place of the chair if the chair is unavailable or unable to act. The Council ordinarily will meet minimally three times per year, two times during the Fall semester and one time during the Spring semester, and it may choose to meet more frequently. The chair will be responsible for scheduling and calling the meetings each semester. The chair may in his or her discretion schedule and call additional meetings.

A recording secretary also will be selected to record and distribute the minutes of each Council meeting. When necessary, the Council may create sub-committees to study specific diversity issues of university-wide concern and to report back to the Council. In addition, the individual members of the Council may serve in a liaison role to the President or Provost on behalf of their respective schools. It shall be an important duty and responsibility of all members of the Council to attend meetings for the sake of continuity in discussion and voting. Members must be present to vote, and at least 50% of the Council's voting members must be present for a vote to pass, unless otherwise decided by the Council. Decision making will be determined by a simple majority of the voting members of the Council.

Initial Membership of the Council

The Council may begin to function when at least a majority of members have been appointed.