The University of Georgia has earned national recognition for its commitment to diversity and inclusive excellence for the 10th consecutive year.
The Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity is the only national recognition honoring colleges and universities that demonstrate outstanding efforts and success in promoting diversity and inclusion. UGA is one of 109 institutions nationwide to receive a 2023 HEED Award.
“The University of Georgia is honored to receive the HEED Award once again,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “Receiving this national recognition each year since 2014 reflects our strong and steadfast commitment to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment across our campus.”
The HEED Award process consists of a rigorous review of universities’ recruitment and retention of students and employees, leadership support for diversity, and campus culture and climate, among other criteria.
In the past year, UGA has launched several new initiatives designed to enhance its efforts in the area of inclusive excellence.
Among them, the Georgia Ready Summer Institute is a one-week residential program for high-achieving students from underrepresented and underserved backgrounds in Georgia who are entering their senior year of high school. This year, the institute focused on research and innovation.
During the program, students explored their research interests, discovered how researchers identify problems, collected and analyzed data and engaged in entrepreneurial exercises. Most importantly, they gained insight into life as a UGA student by living in a campus residence hall and getting to know the campus and its academic and research facilities. The institute is funded by the President’s Office and generous gifts from alumni.
The Office of Institutional Diversity’s new Lead@3 speaker series focuses on women’s leadership in higher education and beyond, with three speakers featured each semester. In addition to providing an opportunity for the campus community to hear from dynamic leaders, the series offers a networking opportunity for women across campus.
“As an institution, the University of Georgia has been intentional about creating an environment where students, faculty and staff from all backgrounds feel they can learn, grow and thrive,” said Alton M. Standifer, the university’s vice provost for inclusive excellence. “I appreciate each and every member of the Bulldog family who helps us in this important effort.”
Other successful initiatives focused on inclusive excellence at UGA have been in place for several years.
These initiatives include the Road Dawgs program, where UGA students visit high schools, community-based organizations and nonprofit partners across Georgia during the university’s spring break. The program aims to inspire the next generation of college students by encouraging those still in high school to explore the benefits of a college education and to consider becoming students at UGA.
The ALL Georgia program provides students from rural parts of the state with a network of resources and common experiences. The U.S. Department of Education-funded TRIO programs serve students from families with low incomes, first-generation college students and students with disabilities. The Georgia African American Male Experience offers students academic skill enrichment, support services, mentoring and leadership development.
In addition, UGA has partnered with leading national organizations to enhance inclusive excellence in the STEM disciplines through programs such as the student-focused Peach State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation and the DeLTA project, which are both funded by the National Science Foundation.
UGA’s commitment to serving diverse communities includes the Georgia Possible program, which provides Athens-Clarke County students hands-on, personalized training and resources to help prepare them for life after high school. The New Student Day of Service is another effort to strengthen partnerships that gives new UGA students an opportunity to serve the Athens-Clarke County community together.
“I am grateful to our outstanding students, faculty and staff for helping to make the University of Georgia a place that celebrates inclusive excellence,” said S. Jack Hu, the university’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “Earning the HEED Award for 10 consecutive years is a tremendous source of pride for the university community.”
Written by UGA's Mike Wooten