UNC Greensboro 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.

The annual HEED Award is a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. It’s the second year in a row UNCG has won this award.

UNCG is one of just four institutions in the 17-member UNC System to be honored with the HEED Award in 2019. Other recipients include: East Carolina University, NC State, and Winston-Salem State University. Nationally, 93 other recipients received the award, including Columbia, Princeton, Swarthmore, and William & Mary.

“We are proud that for the second straight year, UNCG has been recognized for our tenacious focus on student success,” said UNCG Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. “As one of the most diverse universities in North Carolina, we are leaders in creating opportunity and access for all our students. The HEED award reflects our dedication to providing an inclusive and vibrant campus learning environment for the vast array of students we serve.”

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine selected UNCG in part because of the University’s innovative programs in the areas of Recruitment and Retention, Campus Climate, and Innovative Diversity Education, each recognized as a model for schools nationwide.

“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.”

Recruitment and Retention

UNCG’s summer pre-college program for students from Latinx backgrounds, CHANCE (Campamento Hispano Abriendo Nuestro Camino a la Educación), provides first-generation, underserved Latinx high school students with a pathway to college. Through CHANCE, Latinx students engage in a weeklong college preparation and leadership skills development experience. The program offers faculty-led classes in a range of majors which track into professions following graduation. To date, 57% of participants have enrolled in college, with a retention rate of 92% for those who enrolled at UNCG. These students have also achieved an average GPA of 3.3. CHANCE has served over 341 students since its inception in 2017.

Support

Your First Year is a new programming and social media initiative at UNCG to connect with incoming first-year students and transfer students to build a sense of community and support. Your First Year offers a variety of programs and services to help students connect with each other, faculty, and staff, develop support systems for academic and personal success, and build a sense of Spartan pride. Students can rely on Your First Year to be a key starting point for help with any question or concern. UNCG established a New Student Transitions and First Year Experience Office to manage this and other programs, including NAV1GATE, the University’s daylong student success and new student welcome experience.

Campus climate

The Office of Intercultural Engagement provides programming for all students to promote a healthy, inclusive campus climate. The office works with student affinity groups, creating programs for LGBTQIA students and allies, such as Safe Zone and Trans Zone training and Lavender Graduation ceremonies. It also established a new Intercultural Council to partner in events such as Tunnel of Oppression, Spartans-in-Dialogue, House of Privilege, Civil Rights Pilgrimage, Intercultural Lecture Series, and Community Dialogues, among others. ALIANZA, UNCG’s faculty and staff organization for Latino and Hispanic issues, serves as a hub for faculty and staff who work on initiatives that support Hispanic and Latinx students. Recent projects and collaborations include offering Spanish language information sessions during summer orientation for Spanish dominant families, Spanish language community forums on DACA, and hosting the UNC System Latino Faculty and Staff annual meeting, among others.