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Insight Into Diversity Recognizes A-State with HEED Award for Fifth Consecutive Year


JONESBORO — INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine has named Arkansas State University among 104 institutions of higher education selected to receive the 2022 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award.

The 2022 award marks the fifth consecutive year for Arkansas State’s selection, the only university in the state of Arkansas to receive the national award.  A-State is one of four Sun Belt Conference members recognized, repeating with Georgia State and Louisiana-Lafayette along with new league member James Madison.

“Earning the HEED Award speaks to the commitment to supporting students and employees from all backgrounds, and for a university to win it five consecutive years shows that commitment is deep and well established,” Chancellor Todd Shields said.  “In my first weeks here at A-State, I am constantly reminded of the great work done by our faculty and staff to support our students.  Kudos to the team led by Dr. Lonnie Williams for their hard work to uplift students and employees.”

Heading the A-State Division of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement, Williams noted that along with continuing work to expand opportunities for Latinx students, including helping foster the first Hispanic sorority at A-State, Hermandad de Sigma Iota Alpha, Incorporada (SIA), the division has strengthened local community ties through Neighborhood Red Wolves Community Engagement, the A-State INSPIRE program for first-year students, and the Student Diversity Recruitment (SDR) team for recruiting high school students.

“This award is proof that the programs and opportunities we have across campus are highly regarded compared to so many other institutions across the country,” Williams said.  “We are constantly revisiting and adding more services that put A-State in an elite category in advancing diversity and inclusion.”

Williams noted the important link from the neighborhood project to initiatives to encourage recruitment of students from diverse backgrounds.

“Diversity takes many forms and we must strive to embrace all individuals regardless of their personal background or situation,” Williams said.  “It can be the students we touch in junior high with neighborhood math tutoring.  It is the student who sees what coming to a university can do for themselves and their family through our targeted recruiting outreach. It can be support groups for faculty and staff to encourage them through their daily routines.”

The INSIGHT Into Diversity HEED Award, open to all colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada, measures an institution’s level of achievement and intensity of commitment in regard to broadening diversity and inclusion on campus through initiatives, programs and outreach; student recruitment, retention and completion; and hiring practices for faculty and staff.

“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 — leadership support for diversity, campus culture and climate, supplier diversity, and many other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “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 done every day across their campus.”

Notables among the honorees from our region were University of Alabama, University of Oklahoma, Indiana University, University of Missouri, Kansas State University and Texas A&M University.

This year's honorees will be featured in the November issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity publication in higher education.  The HEED Award is the only national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion across their campus.

For more information about the 2022 HEED Award, visit insightintodiversity.com.