Harper College has received the 2017 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.
As a recipient of the annual HEED Award — a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion — Harper and 79 other recipients will be featured in the November 2017 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.
“The HEED award signifies to our campus community that our efforts are having an impact. It recognizes our progress in the area of diversity and inclusion while giving us something to work toward as we continue to grow and improve,” said Vice President of Workforce Solutions and Associate Provost Michelé Smith, who recently completed a three-year term as Harper’s special assistant to the president for diversity and inclusion.
INSIGHT Into Diversity selected Harper for efforts aimed at improving retention and graduation rates for historically underrepresented and first-generation college students; programs and events that help students develop cultural competence; and a variety of accommodations for students with disabilities.
Harper was also recognized for instituting diversity and inclusion initiatives such as a diversity scorecard dashboard that serves as an accountability tool, diversity training programs, employee resource groups and strategies to recruit and retain diverse faculty.
Harper’s Diverse Faculty Fellows program, for example, is a paid fellowship initiative that opens the door to individuals of historically underrepresented groups so they can gain experience as a college faculty member. It provides opportunities for new master’s or doctoral degree recipients to gain exposure to a community college environment without prior teaching experience. The program has been instrumental in changing the campus conversation with regard to diverse faculty hiring.
“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, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “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.”
Smith said the HEED award is a testament to diversity and inclusion being the work of the entire college, not just one or two staff members.
“The award provides a place for Harper College to be recognized nationally for its campuswide commitment to diversity and inclusion,” Smith said. “As a named honoree, other colleges will have an opportunity to become familiar with our campus and some of the initiatives we have developed to improve diversity and inclusion on our campus. This is particularly important as we are one of very few community colleges on this year's list.”
For more information about the 2017 HEED Award and a complete list of recipients, visit insightintodiversity.com.