Diversity of voices, of viewpoints, of constituents, of epistemology, and of learning praxis have each been central to the work and goals of Meridian University since the school’s inception. One of the challenges within educational organizations is to connect diverse individuals and communities. The competencies required for facilitating the recognition and engagement of difference is critical to learning environments.
In a student-centered approach to learning, students’ experience spontaneously unfolds in ways that reflect the impact of social injustice and oppression. Attention to the students’ unique experience ensures that oppression and other social justice issues that have impacted the student emerge and are addressed. At its best, the experience of the learning activities in the Meridian classroom liberates the student’s experience from the definitions, prescriptions, and devaluing that is intrinsic to oppressive injustice. Instead, the students’ experience, as it deepens and diversifies, can transmute into leadership capacities that empower the student on their chosen path of vocation and profession.
Meridian’s statement on diversity expresses the University’s commitment to the principles and processes involved in building an institution based on this foundational value, as follows:
Meridian maintains its commitment to creating a pluralist learning community through promoting and encouraging diversity among its students, staff, and faculty; this commitment is considered essential to being a reflexive organization. Meridian’s ongoing intention is to develop and nurture a learning community in which students and faculty can learn together in an atmosphere of mutual respect, and where differences in age, economic status, race, ethnic background, religion, origin, gender, sexual orientation, physical challenge, political views, personal characteristics, and beliefs are welcomed.
At the core of Meridian’s emphasis on transformative learning is the deep and abiding commitment to three principles: pluralism of individual viewpoint, the importance of expressing difference, and the necessity for individual and group differences to not be denied, disavowed, suppressed, or trivialized, but rather to be deeply recognized and engaged. In accordance with these principles, Meridian fosters a learning environment that encourages expression of difference on the part of all constituents in the Meridian community: its staff, faculty, board, students, and alumni.