Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Founded by Gertrude Johnson and Mary T. Wales before women had secured the right to vote, Johnson & Wales University is firmly committed to nurturing and further strengthening an inclusive and equitable environment that embraces the broad range of diversity of all members of our community, including their race, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, physical ability or how and if they worship. Our community accepts and celebrates diversity in every form — including diversity in thought.

Johnson & Wales University commits to anti-racist work and offers academic and co-curricular opportunities that are welcoming, educational and open spaces of inclusivity and exploration for all students, faculty, staff and alumni. We strive to inspire a standard of excellence for all members of the Wildcat family and seek to foster an equitable environment where differences are valued and integrated in all aspects of university life.

As an institution, we are committed to listen, learn and to implement lasting change. MARIE BERNARDO-SOUSA, LP.D., '92, President, Providence Campus

Facts & Stats

JWU’s university and campus fact sheets provide a quick summary of Johnson & Wales University’s mission, strategic plan and key facts and numbers relevant to the entire JWU community.

JWU Charlotte has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a Predominately Black Institution (PBI) — read the news story. Both Providence and Charlotte are proud to be members of Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU).

For complete information, view the latest JWU Fact Sheets.

Stats: Providence Enrollment by Ethnicity (Fall 2022 Update)
Stats: Charlotte Campus Enrollment by Ethnicity (Fall 2022)

Left: Providence’s Muslim Student Association receives the New Student Organization of the Year Award; right: Charlotte’s Pride Student Union

Club & Organizations Spotlight

JWU has more than 100 clubs and organizations that are open to all students. All groups have a commitment to inclusive excellence, and many play an active role in promoting social justice by creating space for students to connect with one another and engage with issues that are impacting today’s world. This space will regularly spotlight some of these clubs and organizations.

Providence: Muslim Student Association

Formed in 2022, JWU Providence’s Muslim Student Association was honored as the 2023 New Student Organization of the Year.

Focused on the spiritual, religious, social, civic, and personal growth of all JWU students, this organization strives to uphold its guiding principles: “Truthfulness as the mark of our speech, humility as a guide to our conduct, and sincerity as the foundation of our existence.” Members enjoy a welcoming environment in this organization that fully upholds JWU’s diversity and inclusion principles.

Charlotte: Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and Pride Student Union

Culture took center stage as Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., a historically Black sorority, took home the 2023 Fraternity or Sorority Chapter of the Year award. In addition, Pride Student Union was recognized as the Student Organization of the Year.

Starting in Fall 2023, JWU Charlotte plans to designate the third week of classes as Multicultural Week, highlighting cultural and diversity-focused clubs and organizations and uplifting campus diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging programs.

Video Spotlight: Holi Hosted by Little India

Although JWU Providence students have made celebrating Holi an annual tradition, 2023 marked the first time that the newly-formed club Little India hosted the event. Watch this video spotlight or read the story:

2022-23 Providence Campus Cultural Program of the Year: Lunar New Year Celebration

The Cultural Program of the Year student leadership award has been established to recognize a program that promotes culture, diversity, inclusion, and global awareness at JWU Providence. The award is given to an innovative organization develpoed, implemented and delivered a successful program.

Cooking Asia worked with other Wildcats to organize a Lunar New Year celebration designed to share traditions and observances from across Asia. The event included music, games, food and socializing.

Cooking Asia is championed by outstanding student leaders. Throughout the entire academic year, they offered a range of events and activities that benefited their members and the greater JWU Providence community.

Previous Cultural Program Winners:

  • 2022: Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity
  • 2021: Black History 101: Mobile Museum; Black Student Alliance, University Involvement Board, National Panhellenic Council
  • 2020: MLK Teach-In; Alpha Phi Alpha
  • 2019: Dashain; Namaste Nepal
  • 2017: Raices Week; Sigma Lambda Upsilon/Señoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority, Inc.
  • 2016: World Carnival; Cultural Connections Club
  • 2015: Diversity at the University: “Dear White People” screening and discussion; University Involvement Board
  • 2014: Kwanzaa; Black Student Alliance and Groove Phi Groove

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (DEIB) Faculty Fellow

Created in 2021, this fellowship program is designed to support JWU academic colleges and administrative departments in enhancing campuswide knowledge and awareness of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging issues.

The Faculty Fellow supports the university community through sharing resources, best practices, and development opportunities, working directly with the Bridge for Diversity, Equity & Social Justice and the Center for Teaching & Learning.

JWU Providence Arts & Sciences Professor Christopher Westgate will take on this role during the 2023-24 academic year.

Through this fellowship, Westgate will connect the work of the Center for Teaching & Learning Steering Committee and the university Inclusion, Diversity & Equity Action Group (IDEA Group). He will also strengthen faculty recruitment and hiring practices, contribute to curriculum development, and provide faculty support around DEIB issues.

Previous Faculty Fellows include:

  • Thomas Gaines, Providence Campus Arts & Sciences associate professor
  • Marco McWilliams, a Providence community leader
  • Jessica Sherwood, Providence Campus Arts & Sciences associate professor

JWU community members listen to and ask questions about students' work at the Symposium.

Student Research, Design & Innovation Symposium

The inaugural edition of the Student Research, Design & Innovation Symposium highlighted many JWU students’ contributions to DEI.

The Symposium showcased a range of student projects focused on accessibility, racial justice, affordability, compassion and inclusion.

Projects included:

  • Robotic Pet Therapy for Dementia Patients (Lisa Benson)
  • Elevating Health in Hospitality (Ashley Zechello)
  • Promoting Voting Rights Advocacy (Grace Conner and Whitley Jones)
  • The Effect of Delayed Access to Gender-Affirming Hormone Therapy on the Mental Health of Transgender Patients (Cameron Adelman)
  • Addressing the Knowledge Gap: Exploring the Relationship between Healthcare Discrimination and Disability Status among Sexual and Gender Minorities (Kelsey Gately)

Read all about the event here:


Group of JWU students laughing together

Programs & Resources

Accessibility Services/Academic Success Center

JWU is dedicated to providing reasonable accommodations to give students with learning disabilities, physical challenges, and chronic medical conditions the opportunity to succeed in their academic pursuits. While maintaining the highest academic integrity, the university strives to balance academic rigor with support services that help disabled students succeed at JWU.

JWU Providence Accessibility Services

JWU Charlotte Academic Success Center

Antiracist Resources

This resource page was initially created in 2020 in partnership with students engaged in anti-racist conversations. Thank you for your ideas, energy and commitment to this vital work.

It has now been expanded to include our entire community and looks forward to deepening JWU’s commitment to a campus culture in which every student is welcomed, respected and heard.

Antiracist Resources

The Bridge for Diversity, Equity & Social Justice

The Bridge provides educational programs, workshops and resources to promote inclusive excellence, human rights and social justice. Located in the Xavier Academic Complex on the Downcity Campus, it serves as a space where all members of the JWU community can come together to engage in a variety of issues.

Learn more about JWU Bridge Email The Bridge

English and Language Culture Academy (ESL) - Providence Campus

JWU offers academic acceptance and admission to our English as a Second Language (ESL) program (non-degree), available at our Providence Campus. Students in our ESL program have access to all that we offer, including on-campus housing, dining, libraries and more.

English as a Second Language (ESL)

Equity & Compliance Services

Equity & Compliance Services is dedicated to fostering ethical practices. By promoting a culture of equity and compliance, the department strives to advance JWU’s commitment to creating an environment that values integrity as evidenced by shared respect and responsibility.

Equity & Compliance Services

Inclusion, Diversity & Equity Action Group (IDEA)

The Inclusion, Diversity & Equity Action Group (IDEA Group) was formed in August 2020. Individuals from across Johnson & Wales University — staff, faculty, administration and alumni — have volunteered to dedicate their time and expertise to ensure that our campus is truly inclusive for all members of our community.

The formation of the IDEA Group evolved out of the recognized need and responsibility to evaluate and strengthen equity and inclusion efforts to support all members of the JWU community, especially those from historically underrepresented groups.

Email IDEA

International Student Services Office

International Student Services Office (ISSO) offers comprehensive immigration support services while fostering an inclusive culture that supports all international students.

International Student Services Office


JWU Library is committed to anti-racism, addressing systems of oppression in higher education, creating an inclusive learning environment, and centering voices and stories that have been historically silenced. Reading and listening to marginalized voices is crucial in building an inclusive society. Take a step to dismantle oppression by joining JWU Library in centering the voices and scholarship representing a diversity of perspectives including Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).

The following guides are living documents that provide resources to support building an inclusive classroom and will be updated regularly. To explore resources, visit the Providence or Charlotte LibGuides.

Student Organizations

There are dozens of active clubs and organizations on the Providence and Charlotte campuses open to students.

Providence Student Organizations

Charlotte Student Organizations

Study Abroad

Adventure awaits! Studying abroad is an exciting way to complete academic credits toward your JWU degree while seeing the world. By challenging yourself to live and work with people from other cultures, you gain an invaluable global perspective. Each destination has something unique and exciting to offer. These experiences help you distinguish yourself from other graduates and even discover new career paths.

Study Abroad

Wildcat Learning Effectiveness in Action Program (LEAP)

From your first day at JWU, you have access to a broad range of services including tutoring and mentorship programs, health and counseling services, accessibility accommodations and many more. There’s an entire JWU community behind you to help you thrive and make the most of your potential.

Wildcat LEAP


Working at JWU 

At JWU, each one of us has come to JWU to excel, to contribute and to follow our passions and meet our goals. We cultivate and take pride in our diverse and inclusive community, which inspires excellence, innovation and an enhanced student experience. 

Johnson & Wales University is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status or any other basis prohibited by law. 

JWU Employment