In September 2002, Azusa Pacific University took yet another step toward increasing its attention to diversity by appointing Pamela Christian, Ph.D., special assistant for university diversity. Serving as director of the Office of Diversity Planning and Assessment, Christian identifies and implements institutional change to advance campus diversity.
In this role, Christian provides leadership and guidance, developing short- and long-term goals for campus-wide diversity. She also serves as a resource for administrators, faculty, staff, students, parents, and alumni on diversity issues.
“I am simultaneously honored, excited, and humbled by the opportunity to serve God in this capacity,” said Christian. “My immediate goals are to learn more about what APU is already doing to promote Christ-honoring diversity, while developing comprehensive assessment and training programs to further this mission.”
To enhance diversity throughout campus, Christian plans to design and implement a comprehensive on-going training program that includes formalizing a structured board committed to establishing campus-wide efforts, as well as developing training seminars and retreats for students, faculty, staff, and administrators. Guided by the concept of Imago Dei (in the image of God), this initiative recognizes that students, faculty, and staff members come from rich and varied backgrounds and each brings something unique and valuable to contribute to the APU experience.
The first step in this process occurred last spring, when APU, under Christian’s leadership, assembled a diversity training team committed to the advancement of this Christ-centered approach to thinking, being, and doing. The 15 members, representing a cross section of faculty, staff, and students, attended Promoting Leadership in an Evolving Multicultural Landscape, a conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, May 27-June 1, 2003.
Sponsored by the National Multicultural Institute (NMCI), the conference equipped university members with pragmatic skills to promote racial and ethnic awareness. Through seminars, workshops, and cultural immersion outings, they delved into topics such as cultural patterns, stereotypes, management of diversity, affirmative action, and valuing differences.
Topics focused on two main objectives — increased awareness and skill development. Cross-cultural communication was explored on multiple levels in an effort to train trainers to identify prejudices in themselves and others, and effectively apply and impart techniques that foster successful multicultural workplaces.
Team members planned to meet again in June and August 2003 to develop the diversity training curriculum for APU. “The campus community can expect transformation as they examine the diversity of the Kingdom of God and meaning of equity within Christianity,” said Christian. “As we explore diversity within the context of Christian higher education, it is our sincere hope that the hearts as well as the intellect, and ultimately, the behaviors, of this community of disciples and scholars are informed, challenged, encouraged, and changed for the better.”
Christian comes to APU after serving as director of the McNair Scholars Program at California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) for more than seven years. There she coordinated and facilitated a Diversity Training Seminar, participated in the National Multicultural Institute, and was part of the campus diversity training team.
Christian earned a B.A. in History at Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey, an M.A. in Educational Counseling from California State University, San Bernardino; and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration at Claremont Graduate University, Claremont. She co-authored an article in Educational Horizons, titled, “And Still They Rise: Practical Advice for Increasing African-American Enrollments in Higher Education.” She also co-authored Diversity Works: The Emerging Picture of How Students Benefit.