November 15, 2012

SIU wins national honor for excellence in diversity

by Tom Woolf

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale this week received the inaugural Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award from INSIGHT into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

The national award honors colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.  The magazine’s December issue will feature SIU Carbondale and 47 other award recipients.

“Our University has a longstanding history of emphasizing and celebrating diversity and inclusion among our students, faculty and staff,” Chancellor Rita Cheng said.  “We appreciate this recognition because it tells us that we are moving in the right direction, and encourages us to accomplish even more.”

INSIGHT Into Diversity honored SIU Carbondale for its diversity and inclusion initiatives, which include all aspects of diversity: gender, race, ethnicity, veterans, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ community.

“This award emphasizes the fact that inclusive excellence is the message,” said Linda McCabe Smith, associate chancellor for institutional diversity.  “Inclusive excellence can be achieved if there is a recognition and celebration of our differences.  There is still work to be done, but we are moving forward, as this award acknowledges.”

Award recipients include community colleges, public and private schools, graduate and professional schools, and one school system.  Applicants received a comprehensive assessment by the magazine to determine each institution’s level of success with regard to diversity and inclusion among its students, suppliers, faculty and administrative staffs.

“We hope the HEED award serves as a reminder that diversity and inclusion must remain priorities in the 21st century higher education landscape,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity.  “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.”

HEED award winners include Georgia State University, Michigan State University, the Air Force Academy, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Virginia, and Wake Forest University.