Diversity Leaders Share Why They Pursue the HEED Award

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The annual INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) recognizes colleges’ and universities’ dedication to a diverse and inclusive campus. Chief diversity officers and diversity leaders at several 2019 HEED Award-winning institutions shared why they applied for the HEED Award.

Adelphi University
“Adelphi is committed to diversity and inclusion as one of our core values, one which we like to convey in as many ways as possible. Winning the HEED Award last year helped us move closer to becoming a model of diversity and inclusion. Being a model requires constant efforts to push ourselves to become even more inclusive, something that led us to launch many new programs in the last year.”
Perry Green, PhD
Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion

Greenville Technical College
“We have applied for the HEED award because we are very proud of the culture change that has taken place and continues to grow at Greenville Technical College. We want other organizations to see what we have accomplished not for our own glory, but so that they can be inspired to dig into the hard work of change that can produce a more welcoming environment on campus. We also want potential students and employees to know that this is a place where they can feel a sense of belonging. The HEED Award is nationally recognized among two- and four-year colleges and universities, and we believe it to be the gold standard for institutions that not only believe in diversity and inclusion but also produce tangible results for employees and students.”
Wendy Walden
Associate Vice President for Executive Affairs

Seminole State College of Florida
“Since I first prepared the college’s application in 2014, the college has devoted the time to this comprehensive annual application for two reasons. First, a national assessment of diversity at no charge to the college is a tremendous asset for the program. It provides an endorsement of strength and a candid identification of areas that could be enhanced. And, of course, the stringent assessment may lead to the actual award, which is recognized nationally for credibility.”
Janet Park Balanoff
Associate Vice President, Equity and Diversity/Title IX

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
“We use the HEED Award application as a benchmark to guide us on our road to excellence. Each year we apply for the HEED award as this is an opportunity for us to take an institutional look at what we have accomplished. The application also has assisted us in setting institutional goals of truly embracing the concept of an inclusive campus community. The application allows me as the chief diversity officer to bring suggestions to other units on campus on how we can be more inclusive. I like the questions and that each year the questions seem to be more specific. This year we were able to highlight all of the new things we will be doing in our new Diversity Strategic Plan.”
Venessa A. Brown, PhD
Associate Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer

Union College, NY
“What is important about this award are the questions asked of the applicant. It allows for campuses to consider the demographics and retention rates that they may not have considered before completing the application. For our campus, winning past HEED awards has allowed us to increase budgets and staffing of offices that are responsible for diversity initiatives. In addition, looking at demographics allows for accountability for our entire senior staff to consider.”
Gretchel Hathaway, PhD
Dean of Diversity and Inclusion, Chief Diversity Officer

University of Colorado Boulder (CU)
“We believe the HEED Award can help us measure our progress and will encourage campus members to continue to keep diversity and inclusion efforts in the forefront of their work. Additionally, the HEED Award will allow CU Boulder to share information with other institutions that value diversity and equity and, more importantly, learn from their best practices.”
Alphonse Keasley, PhD
Associate Vice Chancellor

Texas A&M University
“The process of completing the HEED Award application has proven to be enormously beneficial in two ways: One, we deeply appreciate many of the questions posed. Several questions prompted to us to think in innovative ways about how we have moved the needle regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion on our campus. And two, the HEED Award application will provide essential guidance to the Office for Diversity as we write our State of Diversity report in the coming weeks. The data we have collected here will also inform future Diversity Plan Accountability Reports.”
Robin Means Coleman, PhD
Vice President and Associate Provost for Diversity

Princeton University
“Winning the HEED award shows the diligence and support for diversity and inclusion at the institutions that are selected. The application is comprehensive and assists us in providing a roadmap of best practices. Because it is so comprehensive, applying for it ensures that a broad cross-section of the university is involved in the application process. Thus, the process of preparing the application helps keep the subject of diversity and inclusion front and foremost among our colleagues.”
Michele Minter, MFA
Vice Provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity

School of the Art Institute of Chicago
“The HEED Award presents an opportunity for our institution to reflect upon past, current, and future efforts our school can take in advancing issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. It allows us to re-evaluate our current practices and provide insights into other initiatives or strategies our institution can implement. We use this application as a form of self-assessment.”
Christina Gomez, PhD, MBA
Director of Academic Affairs for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

University of Louisiana at Lafayette
“Receiving the HEED Award for the first time in 2018 was a catalyst for university-wide strategic planning to develop the institution’s first Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence. Based largely on an assessment driven by data collected for the 2018 HEED Award application, the new Strategic Plan is a bold and visionary step forward. We view the HEED Award not as an end in itself, but as motivation for continued improvement and sustained efforts toward increased inclusion on campus.”
Taniecea Arceneaux Mallery, PhD
Director of Equity, Diversity, and Community Engagement