CHAMPION OF DIVERSITY
ECU honored for diversity, inclusiveness for 11th straight year
The magazine also recognized ECU with its Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award for the 11th consecutive year.
As a 2022 Diversity Champion, ECU is one of a limited number of colleges and universities across the nation selected for “unyielding commitment to diversity and inclusion throughout their campus communities, across academic programs and at the highest administrative levels,” according to the magazine.
Diversity Champion institutions rank in the top tier of HEED Award recipients and set the standard for others striving for diversity and inclusion through the development of successful strategies and programs that serve as models of excellence.
ECU is the only UNC System institution named as a 2022 Diversity Champion.
The HEED Award honors colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. The 2022 award winners were selected for initiatives that focus on all aspects of diversity including gender, race, ethnicity, veterans, people with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
“We are pleased to be recognized with the HEED Award for the 11th straight year for ECU’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion,” Chancellor Philip Rogers said. “We continue to develop, implement and monitor institutional strategies as we enrich a diverse, inclusive and equity-minded campus.”
ECU has a variety of programs, centers, events and initiatives that focus on inclusion and diversity that were recognized. Some examples include the following:
- In November, ECU dedicated a new space outside the Main Campus Student Center to honor and recognize the region’s Indigenous communities. ECU also issued a land acknowledgment in honor of the eight state-recognized tribes that include the Coharie, Eastern Band of Cherokee, Haliwa-Saponi, Lumbee, Meherrin, Occaneechi Band of Saponi, Sappony and Waccamaw-Siouan tribes.
- Rogers announced the Chancellor’s Commission on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. It is designed to engage a broad set of constituencies across the university community — including students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, administrators, community members and trustees — in a collaborative and comprehensive effort in addressing issues of race, diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice.
- Efforts to recruit historically underrepresented and first-generation students included the first diversity student panel during Pirates Aboard, an event designed for students who have been admitted to the university. In recognition of ECU’s commitment to first-generation student success, the university was selected as a member of the 2021-22 First-gen Forward cohort by the Center for First-generation Student Success. The national organization is an initiative of NASPA, which is the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education organization, and the Suder Foundation.
- The Partnerships for Diverse Graduate School Pathways Program develops mutually beneficial interinstitutional collaborations designed to provide undergraduate students at partnering institutions with informal and formal pathways to ECU’s graduate programs, with an emphasis on student success. Recent agreements with Fayetteville State University, a public historically Black university, and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, a minority serving institution, are part of the program and include development of mutually beneficial opportunities for research, scholarship, public service and creative activities, and shared experiences for students, faculty and staff.
- ECU is now a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities nonprofit organization that promotes Hispanic student success in higher education.
- ECU launched the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Experts webpage to highlight faculty and staff by area of expertise in race; ethnicity and national origin; bodies; health and age; learning and teaching about diversity, equity and inclusion; gender and sexualities; and economics, politics and environment.
“We are so pleased to receive the HEED Award for the 11th consecutive year and honored to be the only institution in the UNC System to be named a Diversity Champion,” said LaKesha Alston Forbes, chief diversity officer and associate provost for equity and diversity. “Receiving the Diversity Champion award this year is particularly meaningful as we continue the work of the Chancellor’s Commission on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion established by Chancellor Rogers last year. Through the charge of the commission, we are reflecting on our accomplishments over the years, but also recommending future strategic initiatives to address disparities across differences and establish institutional priorities designed to ensure all campus members are thriving.
With support from Chancellor Rogers, Provost (Robin) Coger and the senior leadership team, we are committed to developing systemic approaches to advance diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging for all.”
The HEED Award application process is comprehensive and rigorous, according to INSIGHT. Institutions must show student and employee recruitment and retention and the best practices for both, leadership support of diversity, and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion that are woven into the work being done daily across campus.