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Intercultural Learning and Engagement (ILE) at SNU

Intercultural learning and engagement

Diversity and Inclusion for a Changing World

Today’s students graduate into a highly diverse world in which they encounter a myriad of viewpoints and experiences. Intercultural learning and engagement prepares them for this reality by introducing them to new perspectives, embracing diverse learners, and asking students to think critically about the role that their own experiences and biases play in their beliefs and behavior.

At SNU, diversity isn’t a buzzword or a side project. As an institution affiliated with the Church of Nazarene, it’s integrated into everything we do. We foster critical thinking from day one, welcoming students from a diverse range of perspectives and encouraging educators to welcome a variety of opinions. In so doing, we help prepare students to think creatively, work with people of all backgrounds, and become thoughtful, engaged members of their communities.

Recognition for SNU's ILE Efforts:


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Diversity: A Way of Life, Not Just a Legal Obligation

Diversity, equity, and inclusion require more than just checking a few boxes. Universities like SNU that are truly committed to an equitable learning environment must look at everything they do, then explore options for helping all learners feel welcome, while simultaneously challenging all learners to think more deeply and critically. Intercultural learning exists on a continuum and is constantly evolving. These are the five phases of cultural responsiveness a university must go through to achieve a truly inclusive campus.

Compliance - ILE Page

1. Compliance

Compliance is the entry-level stage of cultural responsiveness. Focusing on compliance means following the law, as well as any regulations the university has established. When a school focuses solely on compliance, it is behaving with self-interest, protecting itself from lawsuits and political fallout.

Awareness - ILE Page

2. Awareness

An awareness lens means that an institution understands differences. A school might acknowledge that different learners bring different biases or experiences to the classroom. But awareness alone does not change behavior or compel deeper thinking about equity and inclusion.

Sensitivity - ILE Page

3. Sensitivity

Sensitivity builds upon awareness, empathizing with the needs of people from different backgrounds. At this stage, people may make minor changes in their behavior, particularly changes that avoid the outward appearance of bias. However, the sensitivity phase does not inspire deep reflection or a willingness to fundamentally change one’s thoughts or deeds.

Group of students working together

4. Competence

The competence stage marks a shift toward deeper understanding. At this level of development, a person gains a more meaningful understanding of how their thoughts and deeds affect others, the biases they bring to their interactions, and the potentially toxic harm of non-inclusive environments. However, a person may still fail to apply what they have learned to their daily interactions and work.

Responsiveness - ILE Page

5. Responsiveness

Responsiveness is a necessary precursor to a truly inclusive and equitable environment. This approach means that a person or institution consistently pursues equity and justice rather than segregating it to one aspect of their thoughts. The goal is reconciliation, full inclusion, and an ongoing willingness to challenge one’s own thoughts and behavior. This willingness can also encourage a person to speak out for justice and to challenge unjust behavior when they see it.

How SNU is Addressing ILE

SNU embraces a justice lens, which goes beyond asking who is included. Instead, we believe in amplifying marginalized voices and in never sacrificing one group’s safety or humanity to avoid uncomfortable conversations. Diversity is something we focus on every day—not a single office, and certainly not something that can be represented in a single group or type of person. An equitable, justice-oriented commitment informs everything we do. Here’s how.


Encourage Storytelling

Storytelling is the reconciling bridge that binds us together as people into God’s inclusive love. One of the most effective ways to humanize another person is to hear their story. Sharing one’s own story can break down walls, help people identify their own areas of ignorance and bias, and encourage people to come together to build common ground.

Steward Leadership

SNU believes in stewarding culturally responsive excellence throughout the institution. Leadership shouldn’t just be about power. It should be about setting a good example and serving those most in need of support. True leaders prioritize the well-being of others. At SNU, we believe that truly caring about others means an intense focus on justice and equity.

Intercultural Learning Opportunities

Every student brings a variety of cultures to their experience at SNU. Their socioeconomic, religious, racial, ethnic, and other identities are all critical. We offer intercultural learning opportunities throughout the year across our institution, in which we seek to learn together and explore themes of justice, inclusive excellence, equity, and diversity.

Maintain Diverse Executive Team

A diverse executive team is critical to serving a diverse student body. Students deserve to see leaders who look like them, who understand and identify with their experiences. SNU prioritizes diverse voices because we know that no single voice can speak for everyone.

Practice Faith

Our faith requires us to follow the example of Christ, consistently sought out the oppressed, the abandoned, the unheard. Discrimination in any form is fundamentally incompatible with our Christian mission.

SNU's Commitment to ILE

We value the worth and dignity of all people. SNU strives to be a culturally responsive community where all members of the community are respected, valued, and appreciated. We believe all people are made in the image of God and a diverse community valuing the contributions of every person is essential to SNU and the Kingdom of God. Therefore, abstaining from racism of any kind, discrimination, hate speech, bullying of any kind, or a public disregard for any individual or group is expected. Loving others as ourselves is our goal, so treating all others with value, respect, compassion, cultural humility and responsiveness is expected.
  • "Most people are slow to champion love because they fear the transformation it brings into their lives. And make no mistake about it: love does take over and transform the schemes and operations of our egos in a very mighty way."
  • "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all our mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself."
    Matthew 22:37-39
  • "Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. ... Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human."
    Henri J.M. Nouwen
  • "Love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor."
    Romans 12:10


    ILE Thought Leadership

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    How to Bridge the Multiple Intersections of Culture on College Campuses

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    5 Steps We Must Take to Truly Create an Inclusive, Representative, and Equitable Society

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    The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education

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