Otterbein University considers diversity a source of innovation, creativity, and human flourishing.

Read Otterbein's Equity & Inclusion Statement >

Equity & Inclusion at Otterbein University

Otterbein has a long-standing commitment to equity and inclusion that dates back to our founding.

It’s true that our history includes moments and commitments that can make us proud about Otterbein’s long-standing position of inclusiveness. It’s also true throughout our history–including current day–that we can and should expect more of ourselves as individuals, as a community, and as an institution.

We believe we’re better if we learn and grow together to address the issues. The work, the need for understanding and respect — it’s never done.

Read on to learn more about Otterbein’s ongoing commitment and the people and events that help shape our shared experience and our values.

Authentic Voices

Otterbein student Desmond Fernandez talks about his experiences as a person of color on campus.

Faculty & Staff Diversity

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Otterbein is committed to extending its legacy to recruit a more diverse faculty, student body and staff; to foster a climate that doesn’t just accommodate differences but celebrates them; and to provide rich opportunities for learning from our differences.

Learn more about careers at Otterbein >


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“One of my favorite queer theorists says that the most important question we can ask another human being is, ‘Who are you?’ Because through our ability to really hear the answer, the other person will get heard, seen, and understood.”

Dr. Suzanne Ashworth

Professor, Departments of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Recognized with the 2021 Ohio LGBTQ+ Leadership Award from the Ohio Diversity Council.

Learn more about Dr. Ashworth’s commitment to students, her work and why this award was especially significant. >

Suzanne Ashworth Faculty Spotlight

Otterbein’s Office of Social Justice and Activism Partners with Athletics to Advocate for Change

News - December 14, 2021
By Bridget Oder ’23 Otterbein’s Office of Social Justice and Activism has created a new partnership with the Athletics Department to advocate for change on campus. The partnership primarily started last year when Kristy McCray, associate professor of health and sport sciences; James Prysock, director of the Office of Social Justice and Activism (OSJA); and Jonathan Howe, a doctorate student at The Ohio State University, came together to facilitate monthly workshops for Otterbein coaches, trainers, and other athletics staff members.…

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Otterbein Conservation Biology and Conservation Psychology Collaborate in Tree-Tag Project

News - December 14, 2021
By Payton Kaufman ’24 During fall semester, some campus trees were adorned with a new accessory: information tags educating the campus community on the environmental benefits of different types of trees. For the tagging project, Professor of Biology and Earth Science Sarah Bouchard and her conservation biology students teamed up with Professor of Psychology Michelle Acker and conservation psychology students to understand the impact the educational tags had on perceptions of students, faculty, and staff. Tree tag outside Towers Hall…

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Otterbein Juried Art Exhibition Gives High Schoolers Platform to Learn the Industry, Earn Scholarships

News - December 8, 2021
Otterbein University is giving young artists the opportunity to showcase their art to a broad audience in a professional setting.   The Third Annual Juried High School Art Exhibition will be on display until Dec. 10 in the Miller Gallery, located in the Art and Communications Building at 33 Collegeview Road, Westerville.  This exhibition supports and promotes young artists in Ohio. Students gain experience preparing and submitting their artwork for a blind review by a qualified arts professional. Cash awards totaling $600 are given to the top work, selected by…

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Otterbein's Equity & Inclusion Statement

In its mission to be an inclusive community dedicated to educating the whole person in the context of humane values, Otterbein University is committed to the values and practices of diversity and inclusion. The Otterbein Community considers diversity a source of innovation, creativity, and human flourishing. Diversity refers to the variety of personal experiences, values, and worldviews that arise from differences of culture and circumstance.Such differences include but are not limited to race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, religion, language, abilities/disabilities, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, and geographic region.

To ensure that all members of the Otterbein Community have the opportunity to participate and contribute to the community, the University is committed to inclusive practices. In an inclusive organization, each person’s resources and contributions are recognized, respected, and used in service to the organization’s goals; it is a place where people feel valued, respected, and heard, and where people are fully able to contribute.

Otterbein considers diversity as an integral part of the University’s achievement of excellence. Diversity and inclusion have the ability to broaden and deepen both the educational experience and academic environment. In a diverse campus community that promotes inclusiveness, mutual respect, and open discussion, students, faculty, and staff have the ability to learn from their similarities, differences, and personal experiences. Such conditions foster the development of understanding and recognition, in that all members benefit from the opportunity to hear alternative points of view from diverse social groups, preparing them to participate in an increasingly complex, interdependent, and pluralistic world.

The practices of diversity and inclusion provide the conditions for life-long learning, as well as the conditions for exploration and human flourishing. Educational practices that incorporate civil communication and inclusive participation can promote mutual respect and make possible the full, effective use of the talents and abilities of all to foster innovation and excellence.

Otterbein is committed to recognizing and nurturing merit, talent, and achievement by supporting diversity and equal opportunity in its education, services, and administration, as well as research and creative activity. The University particularly acknowledges the acute need to remove barriers to the recruitment, retention, and advancement of talented students, faculty, and staff from historically excluded populations who are currently underrepresented.

View & download this statement (PDF) >

Incident Reporting

If you see, hear or experience an incident of bias or discrimination, report it immediately to the Otterbein Police at 614-823-1222, or via the Silent Witness form.  You should also contact the Associate Dean of Student Affairs at 614-823-1250. For a full list of reporting options, please read the Bias Incident Reporting Policy (PDF).