Augustana College has received the 2019 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.
This honor recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. This is the first year Augustana has been named as a HEED Award recipient.
“Receiving the HEED award from Insight into Diversity is a high honor for Augustana,” said Dr. Monica Smith, vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion at Augustana. “I was ecstatic because it is a testament to our appetite to do the work and confirmation of our commitments and competence in diversity, equity and inclusion.”
Steve Bahls, college president, says support at every level made this recognition possible — faculty, donors, staff and board of trustees. With 16 years as Augustana’s president, Bahls said he is personally touched that the college has received this award because it is a reflection of a long-standing commitment to the college’s mission and strategic plan.
Augustana is positioned to embrace the opportunities that accompany the changing landscape of higher education.
INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine selected Augustana for the work being done across campus to address issues around inclusion and equity. Twenty-three percent of Augustana’s student population is from a historically underrepresented background. Augustana’s international student enrollment is 12%, which is a 10% increase the over last five years.
With the rapid increase in campus diversity over the past 5-10 years, Augustana began adding resources, programming, mentorship and new staff, including Dr. Smith, who is serving as the college’s first vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion.
“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 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.”
Augustana cited three examples, among other efforts, to INSIGHT Into Diversity:
• Employee recruitment: Augustana instituted policies to enhance recruitment of employees from underrepresented groups. The policies require a diverse pool of candidates, an equity guide on search committees and diversity, equity or inclusion questions included in interviews. The guide's responsibility is to ensure issues of diversity, equity and inclusion are factored into Augustana’s recruitment and retention strategies. Equity guides have received training related to the influence of unconscious bias, myths about merit and fit, addressing microaggressions, and ground rules for search committees.
• Student Leaders for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (SLIDE): A leadership initiative that aims to unify students who are passionate about diversity, inclusion and equity. The program provides workshops and events designed to develop cultural competence, increasing students’ leadership skills, understanding of social justice and advocacy. SLIDE is the only leadership development program on campus that focuses on diversity and inclusion.
• PACE (Preparation, Awareness, Community, and Engagement) Multicultural Mentorship Program: A yearlong program for first-year historically underrepresented students. PACE begins with an orientation that gives students the opportunity to acclimate to campus, meet student leaders, faculty and staff mentors, and gain leadership skills. PACE goals are to prepare students for their college experience at Augustana by expanding awareness of their own identities as well as others. PACE seeks to build a supportive community and encourage engagement with other participants, campus offices, and key leaders at Augustana.
“Augustana is positioned to embrace the opportunities that accompany the changing landscape of higher education,” said Dr. Smith. “Thank you to INSIGHT Into Diversity for acknowledging our progress. We will continue to strive to be an example for inclusive excellence as we become a more diverse student body and workforce.”
Augustana will be featured, along with other recipients, in the November 2019 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.
About INSIGHT Into Diversity
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 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 news and feature stories on matters of diversity and inclusion across higher education and beyond.
Ashleigh Johnston, 309-794-7833