The Association for Christians in Student Development (ACSD) awarded Jesse Brown, associate dean of student development and director of the Horizon Leadership Program, the Jane Higa Competency Advancement Award for his dedication in promoting multiculturalism at Huntington University and in ACSD.
Brown was awarded at ACSD’s annual conference at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Ill., in early June.
“On campus, I am one of many voices to keep the conversation about diversity and multiculturalism on the table,” Brown said. “The University makes many decisions and has many conversations about our philosophy and practice. I, and others, hope to keep a diverse perspective when these conversations take place and practices are implemented. The University has made great strides to diversify our campus ethos. I have enjoyed being part of this collaboration.”
The award was established in 2011 to encourage and recognize individuals who make significant contributions toward increased understanding and promotion of multiculturalism in ACSD and home institutions.
“Specifically on campus, I enjoy have gracious and enlightening conversations about race and ethnicity,” Brown said. “Some of our students have little exposure to people unlike themselves before entering HU. Once here, they are exposed to many different cultures and ethnicities. Moreover, the campus community makes a great backdrop for encounters to occur, either in the residence halls, dining hall, classroom or athletic field. There are many opportunities for students to interact with one another and learn from one another. Within the Horizon program, I enjoy selecting and working with the Horizon students and mentoring them through their HU experiences.”
The Horizon Leadership Program is a partnership between Huntington University and Youth for Christ with the goal of creating a more racially and ethnically diverse campus.
The Horizon Leadership Program encourages the holistic development of student leaders through community service, academic success, professional/leadership development, spiritual development and social involvement. Students in the program are required to maintain a 2.5 grade point average, meet with Brown, the director of the program, weekly and volunteer at the Primetime Center in Fort Wayne.
“[Multiculturalism] is important because it is important to the Kingdom of God,” Brown said. “If we read in Revelation 7, we find a description of a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural choir singing to God. When we read in the Lord’s Prayer that we ought to pray that ‘His Kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven,’ I conclude that we ought to be busy helping one another live in harmony with one another. All that we do here on earth ought to seem like ‘choir practice.’ A great choir learns to work in unity, even though they are all different, to achieve something beautiful and harmonious. Since the descriptions of multi-ethnic and multi-cultural are in the picture within Revelation and these are often areas of tension here on earth, this is part of the work of multiculturalism that I enjoy being a part of.”
Brown has been with the University since the fall of 1999. After graduating from Valley Forge Christian College with a bachelor’s degree in Bible and from Eastern College with a master’s degree in counseling, Brown began working at Huntington University as the resident director of Meadows and Miller Halls and Coordinator of Student Activities.
After serving in this role for four years, he became the associate dean of student development. Beginning in the fall 2012 semester, he became the Director of the Horizon Leadership Program.
Before becoming the Director of the Horizon Leadership Program, Brown served as the Chair of the Diversity Task Force. He also has taken several January term trips visiting historic Civil Rights sites in the southern states and developed a spring semester course, “Conversations About Race” with the help of Dr. Kevin Miller and Rev. Keith Reynolds. Brown also serves on the local Harmony Initiative Board which provides leadership to the local community regarding harmony and diversity efforts.