We ground the work of diversity in the gospel of Jesus Christ, pursuing diversity as an aspect of our calling to be a reconciled community. Our understanding of the gospel is that the foundation of all hostility has been defeated because of God’s redemptive work on the cross through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus (Ephesians 2:11–22). As ambassadors of this reconciliation, we are to speak truth and peace into division, inviting people to relationship that has been made right with God and with one another, as the Holy Spirit brings new life through repentance, forgiveness, and transformation (2 Corinthians 5:16–21).
We understand that God creates diversity with intentionality and that we are unified in Christ in such a way that human categories of division do not have the last word about worth or place in the community. Through repentance, which reveals God’s mercy and grace, we desire to embody the outcome of Christ’s reconciling work on the cross and to participate in God’s divine intent for unity in difference.
We believe that the gospel promise and hope of restorative unity and wholeness are foundational to the ongoing work of diversity at Seattle Pacific University. From a posture of humility, we engage the complexities and tensions of diversity and we invite God’s presence as we pursue greater understanding and empathy across differences. Living into our Wesleyan tradition, we draw on the accumulated wisdom that comes from studying our theological heritage, discerning the truth of Scripture through reason, and experiencing God in community.
We confess our shortcomings and collectively seek wisdom for healing, restoration, and justice. While rooted in the Free Methodist tradition — a Christian denomination whose historic commitment aspired toward the abolition of slavery, equal rights for women, and dignity for the poor — at different times SPU’s story has been marked by human failings to act redemptively in response to relational and systemic injustice.
We challenge ourselves to consciously examine the impact of our curricula, policies, and practices and to continue to create a learning environment where all students can flourish. Our commitment, then, is fourfold and communicated through the broad goal areas of the SPU Strategic Diversity Framework:
- Reflecting the diversity of God’s kingdom. This goal focuses on developing comprehensive strategies for attracting, welcoming, and retaining diverse students, faculty, and staff.
- Cultivating diversity and reconciliation competencies. This goal focuses on creating a learning environment where all students, faculty, and staff develop the competencies needed to facilitate understanding, healing, and reconciliation across differences.
- Fostering an environment of belonging. This goal focuses on promoting respect and dignity for all members of the SPU community and removing barriers to meaningful participation in the life of our campus.
- Maximizing resources for equitable outcomes. This goal focuses on leveraging University resources toward the alleviation of disparities in student outcomes and experiences.
Based on principles of shared commitment, accountability, and continuous learning, the framework provides a way for us to think about diversity as a strategic opportunity to fulfill our educational mission, serving as a process to enhance our institutional capacity for the work of reconciliation.