PORTLAND, Ore.--Edward O. Blews, Jr., president of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, told a group of chief diversity officers that the CCCU is committed to greater opportunities for racial and ethnic minorities in Christian higher education.
“A top priority for us under my CCCU presidential leadership will be [a commitment] to racial and ethnic diversity and to the multiculturalism of Christian higher education,” Blews said. I want you to know I have a heart and a record for racial justice, for racial equality and for full and true racial and ethnic diversity in Christian higher education.”
Blews’ comments were made during the CCCU’s “Changing Faces: Cultural Competency, Diversity, and Reconciliation" conference, held this spring at Warner Pacific College in Portland. Blews said he believes it is one of the crucial conferences the CCCU hosts and one to which he will continue to give “personal attention” in the future. During this year’s event, Blews announced he was making racial and ethnic diversity the seventh of his presidential pledges outlined in his January, 2013, inaugural address made during his installation as the CCCU’s sixth president.
“Why [am I adding this to the other pledges]?” he asked. “First, because this racial and ethnic diversity imperative is such a priority for me as CCCU president and second, because I have much to learn in this area. You have much to teach me from your perspective as leaders on our CCCU campuses.”
Blews added that in laying out the six pledges in January, he did so with the assumption that racial and ethnic diversity matters were woven into the fabric of each pledge, however, he decided while meeting informally with many of the diversity officers attending the conference to make the commitment more overt so there would be no question diversity is a CCCU priority.
Blews told the group during his presidential address that his mandate in the area of racial and ethnic diversity comes directly from Scripture, citing Galatians 3:26-28: “You are all sons of God through faith in Jesus Christ, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
“All of us [regardless of race or ethnicity] are baptized in Christ and clothed in His righteousness,” Blews said. “We stand on equal footing before God through Christ. In that light we need to take stock of who we are and look forward to where we want to be.”
Blews said he called on the CCCU research team to pull together the statistics for a 10-year (2001-2011) look at diversity figures among students and full-time faculty members. The data shows a:
Total student enrollment was up 18 percent, with 75 percent of 2011 students being classified as Caucasian and 25 percent representing minorities. Total full-time faculty members increased 23 percent with 89 percent of 2011 faculty being Caucasian and 11 percent being minorities. Statistical data was not yet available for 2012 or 2013.
“This provides a snapshot of where we are and from where we’ve come over the past 10 years,” Blews said. “I am frankly encouraged by the progress we are making and the trajectory we’re on, but we have a ways to go. Each of us will make a difference, one day at a time, one person at a time.”
Blews said he “cares very deeply about the CCCU’s service to all people,” and pledged he would work with CCCU members to encourage continued increases in minority student enrollment and minority faculty members. He applauded Christian colleges for their clear commitment to effectively serve persons of color.
“The Changing Faces Conference is one of our critical conferences for empowering, enabling, encouraging and enhancing the service of Christian colleges to people of color,” he said. “This will continue to be a priority for the CCCU and for me.”
About the CCCU: The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities is a higher education association of 172 intentionally Christ-centered institutions around the world. The 118 member campuses in North America are all fully-accredited, comprehensive colleges and universities with curricula rooted in the arts and sciences. In addition, 54 affiliate campuses from 20 countries are part of the CCCU. The Council’s mission is to advance the cause of Christ-centered higher education and to help our institutions transform lives by faithfully relating scholarship and service to biblical truth. Visit www.cccu.org.