UA wins national excellence in diversity award
Demonstrating “an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion,” The University of Akron was among a select group of colleges and universities to receive the first-ever Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award from INSIGHT into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.
In its December issue, the magazine explained that “it is not enough for these institutions to create a diverse environment—they need to strive to create an inclusive one as well so that everyone feels welcome and engaged in day-to-day campus life.”
Magazine publishers established the competitive application process this year to honor college campuses that “are getting it right."
Everyone on a campus needs role models and mentors and to be able to associate with others who share the same backgrounds and values they do—that’s the inclusive side of the equation,” according to publisher Holly Mendelson.
The magazine noted that diversity includes race, ethnicity, gender, age, veteran status, people from LGBT communities, people with disabilities and other areas of human diversity.
Forty-eight institutions of higher education were bestowed the 2012 HEED award, including three in the state of Ohio: The University of Akron, Case Western Reserve University, and University of Cincinnati.
July 2012 — For the second consecutive year, UA's Diversity Council has been selected as one of the top 25 diversity councils in the nation. The honor comes from the Association of Diversity Councils, a resource for diversity and inclusion council professionals.
"This year's honor is a testament to the continued efforts and commitment of UA administration, faculty, staff and community leaders to establish diversity and inclusion as a core value," says Lee Gill, associate vice president of inclusion and equity and chief diversity officer. "We are definitely moving in the right direction!" Full story.
Commission 50 Recognition
Members of the Commission 50 are recognized annually for progress in creating, enhancing and sustaining their diversity and inclusion strategies. This recognition is based on their responses to the Commission on Economic Inclusion’s annual Employers Survey on Diversity™. Their scores are tabulated based on four metrics:
The organizations are ranked by each of the four metrics, and the rankings are combined to produce a final score. The 50 Commission-member organizations (25 for profit, 25 nonprofit/government) with the highest combined scores receive this distinguished designation. We are pleased to announce that The University of Akron has been selected as one of the 2012 honorees. Congratulations on this achievement.
April 2012 — Lee A. Gill, J.D., associate vice president of inclusion and equity and chief diversity officer, has been appointed co-chair of the program committee for the National Conference for Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education. He will begin his tenure at the NCORE National Conference in June in New York City.
The NCORE conference series, begun in 1988 by The Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies at Oklahoma University, constitutes the leading and most comprehensive national forum on issues of race and ethnicity in American higher education. The conference focuses on the complex task of creating and sustaining comprehensive institutional change designed to improve racial and ethnic relations on campus and to expand opportunities for educational access and success by culturally diverse, traditionally underrepresented populations.
Gill also is president of the Ohio Chief Diversity Officers Collaboration and has served on the National Advisory Board of NCORE since 2010.
November 2011 — Thirty-six University of Akron students traveled to the nation's capital for a guided tour of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial days before it opened officially in 2011.
Lee A. Gill, UA's associate vice president for inclusion and equity and chief diversity officer and a member of the MLK Memorial design review and construction team, coordinated the trip.
Their first stop was the four-acre memorial, which conveys four themes from King's life – democracy, justice, hope and love. A wall inscribed with excerpts of his sermons, writings and speeches leads to the centerpiece of the memorial, the "Stone of Hope," which features a 30-foot likeness of King. This concept is based on King’s "I Have a Dream" speech, in which he said, "Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope." Memorial visitors pass through the "Mountain of Despair" before arriving at the "Stone of Hope."
UA has one of the best 25 diversity councils in the nation.
The list was compiled by the Association of Diversity Councils from applications submitted by corporations, governmental agencies and universities nationwide.
Lee Gill, UA's associate vice president for inclusion and equity/chief diversity officer, said the University was selected because of the concrete steps it has taken to move toward being a more inclusive campus.
"I'm told that two points stood out in our application," Gill said. "First, our council is comprised of decision-makers from across campus and the Akron community, which demonstrates a strong commitment by the administration. Second, the strategic plan for the Office of Inclusion and Equity is comprehensive and unusual in its reach and its depth."
Appointed by President Proenza in December 2008, the council — led by Gill and Marty Belsky, dean of the School of Law — is at the core of the strategic plan.
Early on, the council recommended that additional academic advisers were needed to increase the retention and graduation rates of students from underrepresented populations. The Office of Academic Affairs acted on the recommendation, and a number of new advisers have been hired.
The council also initiated the first Greater Akron Supplier Diversity Conference in May 2010. Relationships established during the conference — sponsored by UA, KSU, the city, Summa Health System, Bridgestone/Firestone and others — will help ensure that UA continues to purchase products and services from diverse suppliers.
UA and the other 24 organizations on the Association of Diversity Councils' list of the top diversity councils were honored at an April ceremony in Atlanta. (February 2011; updated November 2011)
The University of Akron will work to increase the recruitment, retention and graduation rates of black male students, with a $425,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Learn more.
Lee A. Gill, J.D., associate vice president and chief diversity officer, has been elected president of the Ohio Diversity Officers' Collaboration (ODOC) at its annual conference held July 22, 2011, at Ohio University. July 2011
ODOC is the principal organization of diversity officers and multicultural specialists at Ohio institutions of higher education. The organization was established in response to the growing need for higher education to leverage and maximize investments in diversity initiatives, provide opportunities for cross-institutional exchange, benchmarking and metrics development, and enhancing experiential standards among diversity professionals.
Gill, who joined UA in March 2008, will oversee the continued expansion and development of the organization. His major focus for the coming year will be to increase collaborations between the University System of Ohio institutions and developing strategies to improve retention and graduation rates among underrepresented student populations statewide.
UA President Dr. Luis Proenza (left) is profiled in the March 2010 issue of Diverse Issues in Higher Education.
Lee Gill, J.D.
Gill was also selected as a member of the >NCORE National Advisory Committee, (National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education). His appointment is for three years, beginning immediately as a non-voting ex-officio member, with a full membership term beginning at the end of NCORE 2010 (June 2010) and ending in June 2013.