U.Va. Wins an Inaugural National Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award

November 15, 2012

The University of Virginia has received an inaugural Higher Education Excellence in Diversity, or HEED, award this week from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

As a winner of the HEED award, a national award created to honor U.S. colleges, universities and community colleges that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, U.Va. will be featured along with 47 other recipients in the magazine’s December 2012 issue. 

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine selected U.Va. based on its exemplary diversity and inclusion initiatives, including all aspects of diversity in gender, race, ethnicity, veterans, people with disabilities and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and among the institution’s students, suppliers, faculty and administrative staffs.

“It is exciting and a real honor that the University of Virginia has been selected by INSIGHT into Diversity to receive the 2012 HEED Award,” Dr. Marcus Martin, U.Va. vice president and chief officer for diversity and equity, said. “At U.Va., diversity stands with ethics, integrity and academic excellence as a cornerstone of University culture.

“The HEED Award recognition could not have happened without the contributions of so many wonderful people at our University and within the community, so this recognition reflects the work of many.”

Others who worked on the award submission included Rachel Spraker from the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs, Kelley Tobler from Development and Public Affairs and Meghan Faulkner in the Office for Diversity and Equity.

The EOP office, Development and Public Affairs and the Office for Diversity and Equity worked with representatives in the offices of Admission and the University Registrar to prepare the submission, Spraker said.

The 2003 U.Va. President’s Commission on Diversity and Equity continues to serve as a framework from which programs have been initiated, evaluated and reconstituted with regard to diversity. The commission’s report, “Embracing Diversity in Pursuit of Excellence,” is revisited on an annual basis to review the progress made in furtherance of the diversity goals outlined in the plan.

Several other criteria INSIGHT looked for ranged from having a diversity officer to diversity recruitment to diversity-related activities and programs.

Of the 48 winners, U.Va. was in company with Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Texas-Austin and the University of California schools in San Francisco and Santa Barbara. For the full list, click here.

“We were overwhelmed with the amount of participation we got this year,” Holly Mendelsohn, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, said.

Co-publisher Lenore Pearlstein said, “We hope the HEED Award serves as a reminder that diversity and inclusion must remain priorities in the 21st century higher education landscape. Every college and university should recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion as being part of their everyday life on campus. Our students of today are the employees of tomorrow and the future of our country. As students begin to enter the workforce and a global society, they must first be surrounded by and supported by faculty and staff that understand the differences among cultures and their needs.”

For nearly 40 years, INSIGHT Into Diversity has been connecting employees with institutions and businesses that embrace a workforce that is reflective of the world around us. INSIGHT Into Diversity successfully connects employers to the most highly qualified individuals regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, medical condition or history, veteran status, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation.

Media Contact

Anne E. Bromley

University News Associate Office of University Communications