Fundamental to our mission is respect for all persons and the diversity they bring to our community.
Lipscomb University promotes diversity and inclusion through academic inquiry, student life and programs and opportunities that reflect our foundational beliefs in the dignity of and respect for all women and men.
As a Christian liberal arts institution, Lipscomb integrates Christian faith and practice with academic excellence, a mission carried out in the classroom and by involvement in numerous services to the church and the larger community. This means we foster critical thinking alongside respect for others, service alongside learning, and compassion alongside competency and innovation. In all these areas, we are committed to following Christ in his call to love others across differences of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, socioeconomic status, age and other distinctions.
Only with a diverse set of people, backgrounds, experiences and ideas can we be a place that pursues and champions innovation, develops global citizens, leads with integrity, and serves communities with compassion and care.
By fostering inclusivity and welcoming the skills and talents of a diverse population, Lipscomb seeks to be a place where new ideas can flourish and the exploration of innovative solutions to complex problems can thrive.
This is an ongoing dialog within our community and this reference page with information and resources about this vital aspect of our community will be updated often with more initiatives and resources.
Meet the leaders who oversee offices and initiatives for diversity and inclusion at Lipscomb University. They and their teams are committed to fostering a campus climate where respect leads.
William TurnerDistinguished Professor of Leadership and Public PolicySpecial Counsel to the President for Diversity and Inclusion
615.966.7153 ext. 7153
Norma BurgessAssoc Provost for Diversity, Inclusion & Special InitiativesProfessor of Sociology and Family Studies
615.966.5062 ext. 5062
Prentice AshfordDean of Community Life
615.966.5210 ext. 5210
The Climate of Injustice In Our Nation
Lipscomb University’s administration, faculty, staff, and students are appalled by the inhuman acts against George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery that revealed the climate of injustice in our nation. These and other similar acts violate our biblical values to love one’s neighbor, extend mercy, and seek justice. Further, their deaths underscore that racial injustice is more than an ethical, moral, or spiritual problem. Current racial injustice is a systemic problem rooted in an institutional history of economic, physical, and psychological exploitation. Therefore, Lipscomb University is committed to evaluating and addressing its own institutional inequities. Because Black lives matter, Lipscomb will demonstrate a more concrete commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity. As educators, researchers, practitioners, and sentinels of the most profound ideas and values of a free and democratic society, we recognize and gladly accept our responsibility and calling to reaffirm the profound truth that Black lives are valuable and to join with those around the world who share and espouse comparable views. Furthermore, as a community anchored in faith and Christian practice we should and will question and explore why incidents such as these continue to occur, and what role we can play in creating a fairer and more just world.
Dr. David Holmes
Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Dr. William Turner
Distinguished Professor of Leadership and Public Policy
Special Counsel to the President for Diversity and Inclusion
Let us not assume for one moment that our work is done, the struggle for equal justice continues. — Fred D. Gray
Next Steps for 2020-21
Below is a highlight of significant and new steps the institution will pursue in 2020-21 to advance our community and the institution on our journey of multicultural awareness and engagement and diversity, inclusion, and equity. In addition, as a vibrant education institution, there will be many additional multicultural focused activities on campus including guest speakers, student organization activities and institutional events.
- Climate Survey: The institution will engage an outside firm to conduct a climate survey that measures key racial/ethnic dynamics in an organization, analyzes the results, and determines effective and customized action steps. Originally planned for Spring 2020 and delayed due to COVID-19, this survey process is managed by an external partner and internally led by Dr. William Turner, special counsel to the president for diversity and inclusion and Prentice Ashford, dean of community life.
- Campus Environment Team: The purpose of the Campus Environment Team (CET) is to further the university’s strategy toward creating a more welcoming and inclusive community through active listening and responsiveness, care, and education. The CET is designed to provide opportunities for education and conversation regarding biases that involve the Lipscomb community. The CET does not recommend punitive or disciplinary action against members of the Lipscomb community. The CET reporting system is designed and intended for Lipscomb University undergraduate and graduate students. The CET process is being developed and led by Dr. Al Sturgeon, vice president of student life and dean of students, and Prentice Ashford, dean of community life.
- Review Hiring Plans and Processes: Hiring processes across campus are being reviewed to increase the diversity pool of qualified candidates and new hires. This review is led by Dr. Norma Burgess, associate provost for diversity, inclusion and special projects, and Christy Hooper, vice president of human resources.
Education and Training
- Diversity Education for Senior Leadership: Lipscomb University will provide customized diversity training for the senior leadership focused on the goals and needs of our University. Beginning with the leadership team models intentionality and demonstrates to everyone in the organization that it is a high priority while developing a common framework of goals and plans. The senior leadership training process is internally led by Dr. William Turner, special counsel to the president for diversity and inclusion, and Prentice Ashford, dean of community life.
- LIGHT: Illuminating Cultural Engagement: Lipscomb’s LIGHT Program prepares students to live lives of active collaboration and engagement with communities and cultures across the globe. Through our globally focused curriculum and experiential learning, students not only develop respectful attentiveness to diversity but also increase their understanding of cultural practices, systems and institutional structures. And, most importantly, respond to the call to love your neighbor as yourself.
Embedded in our General Education curriculum are two of the most impactful courses of the entire LIGHT Program: the Lipscomb Experience and Engagements. Beyond these two foundational and mandatory courses, students have the opportunity to take additional LIGHT courses developed within their major or minor program, or participate in LIGHT-designated events. Students interested in becoming LIGHT scholars experience both curricular and extracurricular learning environments throughout their time at Lipscomb, which culminates in the recognition and distinction of their scholarship at commencement. The LIGHT Program is led by Dr. Randy Bouldin, vice provost for academic affairs.
- Fred D. Gray Institute for Law, Justice and Society: Lipscomb University's Fred D. Gray Institute is based on the idea that legal change is one of the surest means to effect social change and aid marginalized and underserved communities. Through its undergraduate degree program and partnerships with national and international organizations, the institute educates and trains students on socio-legal issues and encourages a passion for justice. In addition to the academic work, the institute hosts community conversations about immigration, human trafficking, Christian/Muslim/Jewish relations and health care for low-income families. The annual Fred D. Gray Dinner brings together the community for a night of discussion centered around social, political or legal matters impacting our country. At this dinner, students, alumni, staff, community partners and community leaders engage one another in dialogue over dinner, creating connections that dissolve barriers of partisanship. The institute is led by Dr. Randy Spivey, academic director of the Fred D. Gray Institute for Law, Justice & Society.
- Internal Conversations: Small group discussions, conversations, training and workshops on diversity and inclusion will be held throughout the year. These conversations have already started within colleges and student groups.
- Respect Leads and the Respect Leads Advisory Council: Launched in 2016-17, Respect Leads promotes a culture of respectfulness in all quadrants of the university and identifies specific initiatives that would lead toward the development of a more respectful university climate. In 2020-21, the Respect Leads Advisory Council will be created to provide counsel to university administrators and lead actions and activities regarding initiatives focused on diversity, inclusion, equity, and community engagement. Respect Leads and the related Advisory Council is led by Dr. William Turner, special counsel to the president for diversity and inclusion.
Tuesday, September 29, 2020 5:00 PM-6:30 PMWho Picked This Book? Club: Just Mercy
Virtual (Participation Link TBD)
Thursday, November 5, 2020 7:00 PM-9:00 PMVirtual Lecture: Andre E. Johnson
Virtual (Participation Link TBD)
Wednesday, June 9, 2021 8:00 AM-Friday, June 11, 2021 7:00 PMChristian Scholars' Conference
Lipscomb University, main campus
Beaman Library Resource Guide
- God and Race in American Politics: A Short History by Mark A. Noll
- How to Be an Antiracist* by Ibram X. Kendi
- Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World by David Brion Davis
- Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
- Microaggressions in Everyday Life by Derald Wing Sue
- Myths America Lives By: White Supremacy and the Stories That Give Us Meaning* (2nd Edition) by Richard T. Hughes, a Lipscomb University professor
- The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James H. Cone
- The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias by Dolly Chugh
- The White Racial Frame: Centuries of Racial Framing and Counter Framing by Joe R. Feagin
- Two-Faced Racism: Whites in the Backstage and Frontstage by Leslie Houts Picco and Joe R. Feagin
*Resource is available in Lipscomb University’s Beaman Library.
- Just Mercy (available on Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu and iTunes)
- Selma (available on Google Play, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Vudu and iTunes)
- 13th (Available on Netflix)
- The Hate U Give (Available on Amazon Prime, Google Play, Hulu, YouTube and Vudu)
- When They See Us (Available on Netflix)
- TedTalk: How to Build an Antiracist World with Ibram X. Kendi