About Lewis Walker Institute


Founded in 1989 as the Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations, the Institute was renamed in 2000 in honor of Dr. Lewis Walker, Western Michigan University’s first African American Ph.D. faculty member. Dr. Walker devoted his career to teaching and research about race and ethnic relations and worked for social justice through many applied research and community service projects. The Walker Institute continues this work in service to the University and community.

One Community: Foundational Theme for the Community Engagement Work of The Lewis Walker Institute

The One Community model draws on the American ideal of equal opportunity for all, and that our prosperity and quality of life depend on this. Unfortunately, ongoing racial disparities compounded by high poverty rates are slowing progress toward the achievement of this ideal.

The One Community model guides the educational, service and applied research work of the Walker Institute.

The One Community model is intended to function simultaneously as:

  • A community indicators system highlighting indicators of well-being by race, ethnicity, and class.
  • A program of community-engaged research and service
  • A change strategy that engages persons of all backgrounds in a common conversation about:
    • Perceived impediments to better outcomes for children, families and community.
    • Overcoming differences in understandings and values across racial, geographic and class lines.
    • Policies and practices to more effectively promote the One Community ideal.