50in5 

Initiative

Iliff’s 50in5 is our commitment to recruiting, nurturing, and sustaining a student body consisting of 50% racial and ethnic diversity in 5 years.

Inspired Conversations

In 2019, inspired by intentional conversations with students, staff, faculty, board, alumni and the greater Iliff community, the 50in5 Initiative seeks to increase racial and ethnic diversity in response to the following:

  1. Iliff recognizes its current 35% LGBTQ student body and 41% racially/ethnically diverse faculty do not yet reflect the dynamic diversity the community envisions.
  2. Iliff’s accreditation bodies noted the need for more racial/ethnic diversity in our student body.
  3. Our students are expecting racial/ethnic diversity.
  4. Iliff consistently seeks to address inequitable systemic structures within society and within our own institution.
  5. Iliff recognizes the individual, institutional, and global educational benefits that a racially and ethnically diverse student body provides.

Annual Report 2022

Annual Report 2021

Annual Report 2020

May 21, 2019: President Tom Wolfe’s announcement of the 50in5 Initiative

For Iliff, 50in5 Is More Than A Number

50in5 is about our ongoing commitment to building a just, beloved, and multiracial community through lifelong learning about the uniqueness and belovedness of each human being.

50in5 Is About Deconstructing Systemic Racism.

Iliff’s curriculum includes courses illuminating Global, American, Christian, and colonizer histories and their contribution to creating privileged and oppressive spaces. Commensurate with the adoption of the 50in5 Initiatve, Iliff students are required to take a course, Identity, Power, and Vocation in Community. This course provides students with a foundation in their development of a comprehensive understanding of oppression and privilege in a global and particularly, religious context.

At the 50in5 Initiative’s inception, Iliff’s faculty, staff, and board of trustees began a series of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion workshops with various facilitators. Participation in these workshops led to a recognition of the importance of continual work around understanding and combatting the complexities of racism. Feedback from these workshops led us to consider whether describing the phenomena as diversity, equity, & inclusion really captures the heart of the matter. To that end, we began a more intentional exploration of the history of white body supremacy in America and higher and theological education.

Accordingly, in 2020, we began to engage the Rev. Dr. Willie James Jennings, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Africana Studies, Yale University Divinity School, and author of two books of note, The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race (Yale University Press, 2010) and After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging (Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2020). Jennings first became a part of our community as our 2021 Commencement speaker. In 2022, Dr. Jennings presented a public lecture and facilitated workshops for our faculty, students, and staff to help us further deconstruct the foundations of theological education with the hope that we might construct a community of belonging for all.

Our meetings with Dr. Jennings have inspired further engagements that we hope to develop into relationships that will last a lifetime.

Culniarian historian and James Beard Award-winning author, Michael W. Twitty joined us to discuss ancestry, slavery, race, food, and culture.
Poet, performer, cultural strategist, and social justice, race, queer, and disablity activist, and 2021 Stonewall Honor Book award-winning author, Kay Ulanday Barrett, performed their poetry, followed by a discussion with the Iliff community.
Dr. Maribel Morey, joined us in her public lecture and discussion to apprehend the history of global philanthropy under the Carnegie regime and its current implications addressed in her critical work, White Philanthropy (UNC Press, 2021).

Rev. Dr. Jacki Lewis, Pastor, Preacher, Activist, Public Theologisan, and author of Fierce Love, visited Iliff’s campus on two separate occasions. Her first visit was On her second visit she facilitated a workshop for leaders on “Leading Through Trauma with Fierce Love.”

Iliff has gone through and continues to go through a process of relationship building in the hopes of realizing the essence of 50in5.

DISCOVERIES AS WE APPROACH THE FOURTH YEAR?

We are beginning to discover Ruby Sales’ notion of democratization as a more authentic and impactful goal than diversification. Iliff is now in the process of finding a way where all may come together to create a new table that belongs to all people.
“In democratization, we are all deciding how the table will be set and the table belongs to all of us. We are not trying to diversify a table that’s already set. We are trying to engage in a project of creating a new table where every hand has an important role in putting a piece of wood on the table.”
– Ruby Sales, February 15, 2022, interview with Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis
Love Period podcast