Diversity and Inclusion in Action

INSIGHT Into Diversity recognizes 92 institutions that put diversity and inclusion to work on their campuses by honoring them with the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award.

Diversity and inclusion are more than just words — they are actions.

Beyond the idea that people from all walks of life have something unique and valuable to offer, diversity and inclusion mean ensuring that they have the opportunity to do so.

At INSIGHT Into Diversity, we view diversity through many lenses: gender, race, ethnicity, religion, age, socioeconomic status, veteran status, individuals with disabilities, and LGBTQ, among others. And we are excited to honor schools that share our same broad definition of diversity and work hard every day to ensure that all students, faculty, and staff feel included and valued on their campuses.

This year, we are pleased to announce that there are 92 recipients of the 2015 INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award. These schools, from across the U.S., have demonstrated a strong and ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion. From their innovative programs to their hiring practices, training, curricula, and on-campus support systems, these schools exemplify the meaning of diversity and inclusion.

2015 HEED recipients represent all facets of higher education: baccalaureate-granting institutions, healthcare schools, law and graduate schools, and community colleges.

“Now in its fourth year, the HEED Award continues to grow and attract an increasing number of applicants, giving us the ability to recognize more schools for the outstanding work they are doing,” says Lenore Pearlstein, co-publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

“When reviewing applications, you can tell almost immediately which schools are doing great work in diversity and which ones are not or are doing minimal work,” Pearlstein adds. “We recognize that diversity work is never completely finished — as do HEED institutions — but by recognizing their efforts with the HEED Award, we know this has become a huge impetus for continuing and improving on those efforts.”

The HEED Award application also provides a means with which schools can assess their own diversity and inclusion efforts in order to identify and address areas for improvement.

“We hear that most of the schools are using the application as a self-assessment and benchmarking tool to see where they have made progress and where they have additional work to do,” Pearlstein says. “This is extremely gratifying to us as we feel the HEED Award is making a difference on college campuses everywhere.”

“We almost completely revamped our 2015 application,” she adds. “Instead of asking institutions to name programs they have in place, we named programs we feel they should have. This made it much easier for us to learn which campuses are doing diversity and inclusion right and are meeting our high standards.”

Through a holistic review, similar to that used by college admissions committees, INSIGHT Into Diversity rates each individual institution on the types of programs it offers, its capabilities, the diversity of the population it draws from, and the obstacles administrators have to overcome, such as geography, size, type of institution, budget, and the community culture.

Applicants must also have programs that support all underserved populations, including veterans, people with disabilities, and the LBGTQ community, among others.

As the HEED Award has evolved and grown, we have collected an abundance of data on institutions of higher education and their diversity and inclusion work. In an effort to provide this information to colleges and universities, earlier this year, we released the 2014 HEED Award Benchmarking Report, which was based on data collected from the 2014 HEED Award recipients.

This 52-page report — which serves as a resource on best practices for all types of institutions — includes information on demographics of students, faculty, and staff; diversity policies and practices; curricula; recruitment and retention; leadership commitment; affinity organizations; and more. The data is organized to allow for comparison of institutions by size, type, selectivity, and control.

The 2015-2016 HEED Award Benchmarking Report will provide an even more in-depth analysis of demographics, programs, recruitment and retention efforts, and other data. “We measured many more metrics this year to produce even more best practice tools for all institutions of higher education,” says Pearlstein.

The report will be available for purchase by Thanksgiving 2015.

See the full list of 2015 HEED Award recipients here.●