RIT receives Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award for second consecutive year

University’s Division of Diversity and Inclusion honored in November 2015 issue of ‘INSIGHT Into Diversity’




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Rochester Institute of Technology’s Division for Diversity and Inclusion received the 2015 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. This is the second consecutive year RIT has been named as a HEED Award recipient.

A national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, RIT’s Division for Diversity and Inclusion will be featured along with other recipients in INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine’s November 2015 issue. The magazine is the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

Kevin McDonald, vice president and associate provost for diversity and inclusion at RIT, said it was an honor to receive the HEED Award and to be nationally recognized among leading universities for its diversity and inclusion initiatives.

“RIT is truly a special place, and this award represents a collective effort of our community to weave diversity and inclusion into the very fabric of our institution,” said McDonald.

The INSIGHT into Diversity HEED Award measures an institution’s level of achievement and intensity of commitment in regard to broadening diversity and inclusion on campus through initiatives, programs and outreach; student recruitment, retention and completion; and hiring practices for faculty and staff. RIT was selected based on its diversity and inclusion initiatives, and ability to embrace a broad definition of diversity on the campus.

The Division for Diversity and Inclusion consists of the Office for Faculty Recruitment, the Multicultural Center for Academic Success, the McNair Scholars Program, the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, the Future Stewards Program, the Higher Education Opportunity Program, the I’m First Program, and the Office for Diversity and Inclusion.

The division’s key programs were noted in the award nomination as examples of how concepts of diversity and inclusion are incorporated into many aspects of campus life, and highlighted specifically its successful campus and community programming as well as its Inclusive Excellence Framework, a roadmap the university uses to incorporate diversity concepts into the institution’s recruiting, admissions and hiring processes; into its curriculum and co-curriculum; and into its administrative structures and practices.

Some examples of these are RIT’s inclusive hiring practices, cultural awareness month celebrations, outreach and recruitment marketing, special interest and social awareness projects, arts and cultural events, and a full array of student clubs and organizations that represent the diversity of the campus.

Other significant highlights include:

  • MOCHA-Men of Color, Honor and Ambition: A yearlong personal, professional, academic and leadership development initiative for RIT’s undergraduate male population.
  • Rochester City Scholars: Launched in 2010, RIT offers fully funded scholarships for high achieving students from the Rochester City School District.
  • I’m First: A support program that strives to ensure success for students who are the first in their family to attend college.
  • Partnership in Pluralism: An interconnected and welcoming program at RIT that utilizes dialogue to encourage interpersonal relationships between faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds.
  • Expressions of King’s Legacy: A campus and community celebration of Rev. Martin Luther King’s life. Last year’s event featured Soledad O’Brien, anchor and special correspondent for CNN/U.S.
  • Future Faculty Career Exploration Program: A national recruiting initiative to increase the number of diverse faculty being recruited, hired and retained at RIT.

“We take a holistic approach to reviewing each application in deciding who will be named a HEED award recipient,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “Our standards are high, and we look for institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being accomplished every day across a campus.”

For more information about the 2015 HEED award, go to www.insightintodiversity.com.