Diversity + Belonging

Start your standout story.

You’ll belong at Northwestern.

As a Raider, you’ll belong to a community where you’ll be heard, valued and supported. You’ll study, live and work with others from a wide range of backgrounds, cultures and experiences—all of us different, but united in our desire to participate in God’s redeeming work in the world.


Vision for Diversity

Guided by the biblical narrative of creation, fall, redemption and restoration, Northwestern College strives to pursue God’s redeeming work in the world by courageously and faithfully engaging the fullness of our similarities and differences in our learning and living together.

  • Valuing each person as created in the image of the triune God and thus intended for community
  • Respecting the complexity of human identities
  • Recognizing human difference as central to an education that fosters critical thinking, empathy and dialogue
12% ETHNIC MINORITIES 12% of NWC’s student body consists of U.S. ethnic minority students.
23 COUNTRIES REPRESENTED NWC students hail from countries around the world, including Colombia, Japan, Nepal and the Netherlands.
13% FIRST-GEN STUDENTS 13% of NWC’s freshman class are first-generation college students.
12% FACULTY DIVERSITY 12% of Northwestern's full-time faculty are people of color.
PROGRAM For students with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Leadership

Dr. Valerie Stokes and Martha Draayer lead Northwestern’s efforts to live into its Vision for Diversity. The two co-chair the college’s Diversity Resource Committee (DRC), with Valerie working with academic programs and faculty and Martha serving as a resource for non-academic departments and staff. All divisions of the college are represented by the nine members of the DRC, whose responsibilities include:

  • Providing resources and personnel for diversity-related initiatives
  • Fostering intercultural competencies through teaching and programming
  • Supporting the recruitment and retention of a more diverse faculty, staff, student body and board of trustees
  • Advancing opportunities for diverse leadership and diversity research

Diversity initiatives

Among the diversity initiatives Northwestern has in place are the following:

Diversity Action Plans

All departments annually create diversity goals and objectives. The process involves reflecting on work done in the previous year, identifying barriers, developing action steps for the upcoming year, and evaluating progress.

Search Equity Advocates

More than 50 NWC employees have been trained to help search committees develop position descriptions; define screening criteria; recruit excellent and diverse candidates; and interview, check references and evaluate finalists. At every stage, they advocate for the search process itself and help search committees recognize and avoid unintentional biases.

All departments annually create diversity goals and objectives. The process involves reflecting on work done in the previous year, identifying barriers, developing action steps for the upcoming year, and evaluating progress.

More than 50 NWC employees have been trained to help search committees develop position descriptions; define screening criteria; recruit excellent and diverse candidates; and interview, check references and evaluate finalists. At every stage, they advocate for the search process itself and help search committees recognize and avoid unintentional biases.

Bridge Center

The Bridge Center is Northwestern’s center for intercultural development, helping students live into our Vision for Diversity. Included among the center’s services and programs are:

Rise Program

Rise was created to promote the thriving of first-generation students, commuter students, students who live far from home, domestic students of color, and students from historically underrepresented populations.

Bridge Scholars

Bridge Scholars

Exceptional students who are members of historically underrepresented populations and who demonstrate academic and leadership potential are invited to apply for this scholarship and mentoring opportunity.

Host families

Host families

Members of the Orange City community volunteer to open their homes as a way to support Northwestern’s international, multicultural, and other domestic students attending college far from home.

Rise was created to promote the thriving of first-generation students, commuter students, students who live far from home, domestic students of color, and students from historically underrepresented populations.

Bridge Scholars

Exceptional students who are members of historically underrepresented populations and who demonstrate academic and leadership potential are invited to apply for this scholarship and mentoring opportunity.

Host families

Members of the Orange City community volunteer to open their homes as a way to support Northwestern’s international, multicultural, and other domestic students attending college far from home.

Student clubs

Northwestern provides more than 50 clubs and organizations to support nearly every interest. Those specifically related to the college’s diversity and multicultural efforts include:

Intercultural Club

Intercultural Club

I-Club gives international and U.S. students opportunities to get to know each other and learn about one another’s cultures through meetings, events and trips. Annual events include the Beloved Festival of Culture and the I-Club Coffeehouse. 

La Mosaic

La Mosaic

La Mosaic is a multicultural student club open to all—including Anglo and international students. A source of support and friendship, La Mosaic also serves as a voice to share the needs and concerns of underrepresented students.

Women in Leadership

Women in Leadership

The Women in Leadership club is for any student who is interested in empowering and equipping women to lead in various contexts, including their workplaces, churches and communities. Members gather regularly to hear from female leaders on campus and in the community, to have fun together, and to be inspired to use their gifts for the good of others.

Intercultural Club

I-Club gives international and U.S. students opportunities to get to know each other and learn about one another’s cultures through meetings, events and trips. Annual events include the Beloved Festival of Culture and the I-Club Coffeehouse. 

La Mosaic

La Mosaic is a multicultural student club open to all—including Anglo and international students. A source of support and friendship, La Mosaic also serves as a voice to share the needs and concerns of underrepresented students.

Women in Leadership

The Women in Leadership club is for any student who is interested in empowering and equipping women to lead in various contexts, including their workplaces, churches and communities. Members gather regularly to hear from female leaders on campus and in the community, to have fun together, and to be inspired to use their gifts for the good of others.