John M. Dunn, EdD

President, Western Michigan University

The INSIGHT Into Diversity Giving Back Award honors college presidents and chancellors who go above and beyond their everyday duties to give back to their institutions and communities. President Dunn was nominated by colleagues and selected by INSIGHT Into Diversity as a 2016 Giving Back Award recipient for his dedication to promoting diversity and inclusion and encouraging community service both on his campus and in the surrounding community. 

Civic Involvement
Elected associate member regional representative of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities; member of the board of directors of Southwest Michigan First, a community partnership of leaders in private business, education, and government to assist new and expanding enterprise

Campus Community Service
With Dunn’s support, Western Michigan University (WMU) established the Office of Service Learning in 2010. It seeks to connect and engage students, faculty, and the community in projects that intentionally redistribute power, create egalitarian partnerships, and generate deeper learning and civic engagement to benefit the greater community. In 2014, more than 6,500 service-learning students served 26,870 hours in the community.

Engaging with and Supporting Students
Dunn openly encourages students, faculty, staff, and the public to email him directly with concerns or questions, which he usually responds to within a day. He also ensures that the voices of international students are heard by hosting several luncheons each year to meet with and learn from students from each country represented on campus. In addition, every time the WMU Board of Trustees increases his salary, Dunn donates that money to student scholarships.

Ensuring Equity in Education
Dunn supported the creation of the Foster Youth and Higher Education Initiative, a scholarship program for students transitioning out of the Michigan foster care system. He has also supported a unique admissions program in which WMU provides in-state tuition rates, significant tuition assistance, and a housing award for qualified undocumented students who graduate from Michigan high schools; the program for trafficked youth; and the new Foundation Scholars Program, which awards need-based scholarships to students who earned high GPAs in high school.

Nomination Excerpt
“President Dunn is a model for encouraging diversity and inclusion at [WMU]. He is bold enough to seek areas for potential improvement and implement corrective action when necessary. In speeches, written correspondence, and public appearances, President Dunn has repeatedly explained that although the WMU Campus Climate Study was overall more positive than negative, there is still work to be done.”