Readers of INSIGHT Into Diversity are almost certainly aware that underrepresented groups in the United States will soon become the majority. Despite this fact, uncertainty and turmoil around diversity and inclusion continues to rankle in our country’s highest levels of government. But much of higher education continues to serve as a bastion of security and progress, providing underrepresented students and employees alike with the opportunities and support necessary to ensure their success on campus and off.
Now in its eighth year, the annual INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award continues to honor those institutions that are at the forefront of this mission. They educate and prepare future leaders who will seek stability, growth, and truth in their sectors. They ensure the campus environment is welcoming to all, and that attracting and retaining underrepresented employees is as much of a priority as graduating their diverse students.
This year, INSIGHT Into Diversity is proud to recognize 94 colleges and universities that have dedicated their time and efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout their campuses. Among those winners, 16 are also honored as Diversity Champions for excelling among the recipients.
All HEED Award-winning institutions have taken strategic and innovative steps toward reaching their goals. In the next section, we’ve organized their efforts into the following categories: innovative diversity education, strategic initiatives and policies, community outreach, social justice and activism, health and wellness, events and celebrations, recruitment and retention, support, and campus climate.
Awareness and recognition of the HEED Award continues to grow, making it an honor that institutions continue to seek year after year. The award will become even more relevant in the future as the conversation around diversity and inclusion grows in communities, on campuses, and nationwide.
Leaders at HEED Award-winning institutions know all too well the conversation is only the beginning. They navigate difficult dialogues, budget cuts, little buy-in, and sometimes even outward hostility on a daily basis. Therefore, their actions, programs, initiatives, and strategies are strategic and game changing. The programs described in the 2019 HEED Award section are just a sampling of the groundbreaking work they’ve accomplished. Please join us in honoring the 2019 awardees.
Kelsey Landis is editor-in-chief for INSIGHT Into Diversity. This article ran in the November 2019 issue.