University works to create a more equitable educational home

aerial view of parmenter hall and trees with beautiful fall colored trees

In response to racial unrest locally and around the country, University President Lynne Murray and members of the leadership team began meeting with students and community members last summer to listen to concerns. As a result of these sessions, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group was formed. This group will guide the university in creating a better and more inclusive Baker University in the immediate future and for years to come.

“The formation of this team comes with sincere deliberation. We have created this DE&I Working Group to advise us on addressing concerns expressed by Mungano, Baker’s student-led diversity organization, and other campus organizations and to outline opportunities to make Baker more inclusive for all of us.”

Dr. Lynne Murray, Baker University president

One of the first initiatives of the DE&I Working Group was a presentation by Dr. Bobby Nichols, who has spent most of his teaching career focused on multicultural education. During the event on Oct. 22 at Rice Auditorium and via livestream, Nichols discussed the importance of agreed-on terms during meaningful and productive conversations concerning race, equity, and diversity on university campuses. He also discussed the consequences of silence and how to build an inclusive curriculum.

The DE&I Working group will continue to meet regularly to plan events and provide recommendations. These are the members:

Lead: Nate Houser, ’94, athletic director and senior advisor to the president for athletics
Danielle Jones Rease, vice president of advancement and enrollment
Phil Hannon, ’86, associate director of advancement
Susan Decker, assistant athletic director
Jason Thoren, head football coach
Sara Crump, associate professor of psychology
Robyn Long, ’00, associate professor of psychology
Shelby Perez, assistant director of inclusion and wellness programs
Maya Hodison, student, president of Mungano
Bobby Nichols, director of wealth management at One Capital, BU adjunct instructor
Wayne Simien, University of Kansas campus ministry director, Called to Greatness
Billy Baber, owner MB2 Sports, Kansas City Chiefs Ambassador
Shawn Barber, Kansas City Chiefs Ambassador

“The members of this team have a passion for our university, but more important, they have a passion for creating a more fair and just society. I’m grateful that they’ve answered the call to help us live up to our vision to create a more empathetic and equitable educational environment.”

Dr. Lynne Murray, Baker University president


  • Written by Baker Proud Staff