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A-State Receives Insight into Diversity's 2018 HEED Award


JONESBORO – Arkansas State University today received the 2018 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from Insight Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

The HEED selection was the first by Insight Into Diversity for Arkansas State. The national honor recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.  A-State will be featured, along with 95 other recipients including universities like Clemson, Georgia, Indiana, North Carolina State, Oklahoma State, Texas and Tulsa, in the magazine’s November 2018 issue.  Arkansas State was the only university from the state of Arkansas in the 2018 award listing.

"We are committed to the principles of diversity and inclusion at Arkansas State," Chancellor Kelly Damphousse said.  "Being mindful of inclusion is an important part of making sure that Every Red Wolf Counts regardless of color or creed.  I am delighted A-State was selected for the HEED Award based on the advances we are making thanks to the leadership of Vice Chancellor Maurice Gipson.  I deeply appreciate the students, faculty and staff who have embraced our goals through their support of key initiatives in this area."

Insight into Diversity magazine selected A-State largely because of its achievements in attracting historically under-represented and first-generation students as part of the institution's renewed emphasis on retention, and for its efforts to recruit and support diverse faculty.

"The HEED Award is one of the most distinguished diversity awards in higher education.  A-State’s inclusion as an awardee for the first-time really demonstrates the substantial progress we have made and showcases our firm commitment to advancing diversity and community engagement," stated Gipson, who is vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement.  "It is my hope that we become a model of diversity best practices in the state and around the country.”

The HEED Award process consists of a rigorous application process that includes questions relating to the recruitment and retention of historically under-represented students and employees, as well as continued leadership support for campus diversity and inclusion.

Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of Insight Into Diversity magazine, explained, “We take a detailed 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 their campus.”

Highlights from A-State's diversity program nomination that contributed to A-State's recognition with a HEED Award include:

* A-State Connection is a recruitment initiative that introduces diverse high school students to college life.  Typically, this initiative hosts approximately 40-50 students from high schools located within the Delta region across three states.  They participate in enrichment activities and meet with current students, faculty and staff to discuss how to maximize their college experience.

* ACT Prep Camp is a free week-long intensive residential program designed to prepare rising high school seniors from underrepresented populations for the ACT.  Various campus departments orient participants, who also enjoy campus perks during their visit.

* Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (S.U.R.E.) Program is an annual five-week summer program, introducing exceptional undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds to the rigors of graduate study and preparing them for entrance to graduate programs.

* A-State INSPIRE, a four-day program, is offered for newly admitted freshmen who are members of an underrepresented population, helping equip the students for college and campus life through workshops, networking opportunities and creating lasting relationships.  Each INSPIRE scholar will be assigned a peer mentor to help guide them through their first two years of college.

* Student Diversity and Recruitment Team is a hybrid organizational initiative that brings the A-State experience to high school students where they are, assisting in recruitment as well as retaining and mentoring newly admitted minority students through their college matriculation.

* A-State Advance is a rigorous cohort-based program that assists faculty participants through the tenure-track process.  Cohort members receive programming and coaching from senior tenured faculty members, and they participate in enrichment activities with the campus community.  Cohort members are eligible to receive dedicated professional development, research and training support. 

More information about the 2018 HEED Award is online at insightintodiversity.com.

Insight Into Diversity magazine is the oldest and largest diversity publication in higher education today and is well-known for its annual Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, the only award recognizing colleges and universities for outstanding diversity and inclusion efforts across their campuses. In addition to its online job board, Insight Into Diversity presents timely, thought-provoking news and feature stories on matters of diversity and inclusion across higher education and beyond.  More information about the HEED Award as well as current, archived and digital issues of Insight Into Diversity magazine are available online at insightintodiversity.com.

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Maurice Gipson
Dr. Maurice Gipson
Vice Chancellor for Diversity and
Community Engagement