September 12, 2017

SIU Carbondale earns national honor for diversity

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University Carbondale once again has earned national recognition for its commitment to diversity and inclusion. 

For a fifth time in six years, INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine has named SIU as a recipient for of its Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award. The magazine is the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. SIU will be among the 80 recipients featured in the magazine’s November issue. 

“This honor emphasizes the important message of inclusive excellence that has been a longstanding and fundamental component of our university’s mission,” said Chancellor Carlo Montemagno. “Earning this award again strengthens our resolve to continue improving upon those efforts.” 

INSIGHT Into Diversity honored SIU for several diversity and inclusion initiatives, including “Salukis United For Diversity,” a four-day event in April that included a unity march, opportunities to participate in ‘Safe Zone’ trainings, and a lecture by author, BET columnist and MSNBC commentator Keith Boykin. The university’s diversity initiative also extends to programs including Disability Support Services, International Affairs, Non-Traditional Student Services, Student Multicultural Resource Center and Veterans Center. SIU uses a variety of strategies to recruit historically underrepresented and first-generation students along with pre-college programs to aid in recruitment. 

Elizabeth Lewin, interim associate chancellor for diversity, said the award “affirms the good work being done to make our campus more diverse and inclusive.” She credited the work of the university’s Diversity Council, students, faculty, staff and her office for the award. 

“During the campus-wide Salukis United conference,” Lewin said, “every segment of the campus community demonstrated a desire to increase our collective cultural competence by sharing relevant research, experiences, and knowledge about the value of diversity and inclusion.” 

Recipients include universities, community colleges, and law schools. Other HEED award winners include Clemson University, Florida State University, Oklahoma State University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Cincinnati, University of Kentucky, University of Georgia, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and University of Texas. 

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,” magazine Publisher Lenore Pearlstein, said. 

“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 their campus,” she said.