For second year, WMU earns diversity award from national publication

by Cheryl Roland
| WMU News
INSIGHT Into Diversity

INSIGHT Into Diversity award logo.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University has received a 2014 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity--HEED--award, marking the second consecutive year the University has been honored with this national award by INSIGHT Into Diversity, the nation's oldest and largest publication that focuses on diversity in higher education.

Recipients were announced Sept. 16 for the award that recognizes U.S. colleges and universities "that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion." WMU will be featured along with 82 other recipients in the magazine's November 2014 issue. In Michigan, four public universities were honored. The other three are Central Michigan, Grand Valley State and Michigan Technological universities.

"We're delighted that the University has once again received this award," says Dr. Martha Warfield, WMU vice president for diversity and inclusion. "The HEED award recognizes the accomplishments in the areas of diversity and inclusion, and we never stop adding new accomplishments and finding new ways to ensure we have a campus that feels welcoming to every individual. Our goal is always to foster an institutional culture that supports diversity and multiculturalism by nurturing an environment where diversity in all of its forms is celebrated, affirmed and pursued."

According to INSIGHT Into Diversity, WMU was selected for the award based on its "exemplary diversity and inclusion initiatives and ability to embrace a broad definition of diversity" that includes gender, race, ethnicity, veteran status and people with disabilities as well as members of the LGBT community and others.

“We hope the HEED award serves as a way to honor those institutions of higher education that recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion as part of their everyday campus culture,” says Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity.

WMU has had a Diversity and Multicultural Action Plan in place since 2006, and last year it conducted a campus climate survey to gather data that is being used to inform University-wide efforts to build and maintain a framework that enables equitable treatment of all members of the University community and beyond. Over the past decade, the number of minority students at WMU has nearly doubled to just under 5,000, and minority students now comprise nearly 21 percent of the WMU student body.

For more information about the 2014 HEED award, visit insightintodiversity.com