Penn State receives prestigious HEED Award for diversity

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State has received the 2015 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. The award, announced on Sept. 15, recognizes colleges and universities for their commitment to diversity and inclusion. This is the third straight year that Penn State has earned this distinction, and it will be recognized in the November 2015 magazine issue.

Only 91 institutions of higher education were selected as recipients of this year’s award. Penn State was selected because of its exemplary diversity and inclusion initiatives, and its broad concept of diversity.

“This designation is an objective and rigorous certification of the impact of our longstanding diversity and inclusive excellence efforts. The award is no rubber stamp; INSIGHT Into Diversity takes the award very seriously, which enhances its credibility,” said Victoria Sanchez, assistant vice provost for educational equity. “The application is lengthy and challenging; we took this opportunity to delve more deeply into many of the University initiatives we noted. We appreciate the comprehensive nature of the application, which results in an inventory of sorts of University initiatives and which suggests areas where we can and must improve in order to remain competitive.”

The HEED Award is open to all colleges and universities throughout the United States and measures an institution’s level of achievement and commitment to broadening diversity and inclusion on campus. It takes into account initiatives, programs and outreach; student recruitment, retention and completion; and hiring practices for faculty and staff. The 40-page application outlines diversity initiatives, such as Penn State’s "A Framework to Foster Diversity," which promotes diversity in areas including race, ethnicity, disability, women’s issues, veterans issues and LGBT issues across campus programs.

Penn State is one of only six institutions in Pennsylvania to receive the award, alongside the Community College of Philadelphia, Edinboro University, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Juniata College and Millersville University. Penn State also is among a number of Big Ten universities that were recognized, including: Indiana University Bloomington, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Maryland at College Park, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

“The HEED Award process consists of a comprehensive and rigorous application that includes questions relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees — and best practices for both — continued leadership support for diversity, and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “We take a holistic approach to reviewing each application in deciding who will be named a HEED Award recipient. Our standards are high, and we look for institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being accomplished every day across a campus.”

The HEED Award logo is available for use by the Penn State community, and can be found on the Educational Equity website.

Last Updated October 23, 2015