Union honored for its commitment to diversity and inclusion

Publication Date

Insight Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education, has again recognized the College for its commitment to diversity and inclusion.

The College is among 96 schools chosen as winners of the magazine’s HEED (Higher Education Excellence in Diversity) Award. This marks the fifth straight year Union has been honored. The winners will be featured in the magazine’s November issue.

“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, the magazine’s co-publisher.

Pride Walk is one of many programs in which the campus community celebrates diversity.

Pride Walk is one of many programs in which the campus community celebrates diversity.

“Nearly every school tells us they use the application itself as a tool to create new programs and to benchmark their accomplishments across campus. The process allows them to reflect on their successes and also determine where more work needs to be done.”

Diversity remains central to Union’s institutional identity and mission and is a key priority of the College’s Strategic Plan.

Since 2005, the percent of students in Union’s incoming class who represent domestic multicultural diversity has increased from 12 to 20 percent. International students have grown from 2 to 10 percent of the student body.

The College has taken significant steps to help the campus community develop cultural competency and embrace differences. This includes a diversity and inclusion course offered to all employees that is designed to expand an employee’s knowledge of issues related to diversity, and broaden the campus learning environment beyond the classroom. Workshops on cultural competencies are also offered to employees and students throughout the year.

A number of impactful diversity- and inclusion-related programs and policies are also offered to students, faculty and administrators through offices including Multicultural Affairs, Wicker Wellness Counseling Center, Student Support Services and Religious and Spiritual Life.

The College also hosts the Presidential Forum on Diversity, which brings in notable speakers on a wide range of topics that promote diversity and inclusiveness. Speakers have included poet Maya Angelou, journalist and television news anchor John Quiñones, Broadway star Anthony Rapp and actress Marlee Matlin.

“We are grateful once again to be recognized with a HEED award for our collective efforts toward diversity and inclusion,” said Gretchel Hathaway, the dean of Diversity and Inclusion and chief diversity officer. “This award is a testament to all who work diligently to make Union a welcoming community for all.”