Diversity Commitment

God is incredibly innovative, as demonstrated by the vast diversity of His universe. Similarly, IDS majors are encouraged to push themselves toward creative ways of thinking and expressing themselves that honor the variety and difference inherent in Creation.

Although in a sense rejecting any one discipline, choosing to step outside of the interdisciplinary framework altogether in order to integrate methodologies from differing disciplinary areas to better investigate unique “wicked” problems, IDS majors also have the opportunity to join the growing community of interdisciplinarians. This community values rigorous inquiry, independence, integration, and innovation. Wheaton’s IDS program equips emerging interdisciplinarians with the analytical tools, critical thinking, and ethical awareness needed to thoughtfully engage with complex realities from a biblical framework. 

The IDS program at Wheaton College is committed to a diversity of theoretical, disciplinary, and embodied perspectives. Integral to the very work of interdisciplinarity is the value and practice of bringing together divergent fields of study, demonstrating the principle that there are real benefits to engaging and integrating diverse ways of knowing, while genuinely acknowledging the people who represent those ways of knowing. 

Rather than focusing on a single, dominant viewpoint, IDS invites students to understand and apply multiple perspectives—not a singular, dominant viewpoint—to solve real world problems. Practically speaking, this understanding and application occurs three ways:

  • through discussion of assigned readings, such as Jean Bethke Elstain and Christopher Beem’s “Community and Communities: Critique and Retrieval,”
  • through the encouragement “other”-focused research projects that are situated in a cultural context different from that of the student researcher, and
  • through the integrative skill of “finding common ground” (Repko and Szostak), shared assumptions or conceptual frameworks that allow differing ideas to be reconciled and integrated. 

Further, the IDS term “inter/diversities” promotes the work of moving beyond simple “either/or” propositions toward an appreciation of multiple modalities of viewing problems. In fact, IDS majors must necessarily focus on a human problem that exhibits intersectional significance, often eschewing oversimplification and embracing healthy dissonance. Fruitfully addressing complex or “wicked” problems requires an ever-growing awareness of diverse perspectives and the ensuing ramifications of those perspectives for any proposed approaches.

An IDS alumna smiles at the camera.
McKenzie Gallagher '20

"Through the lenses of sociology, communication, and art, I studied the complexities of living with a mixed-race identity in the context of the United States."