UA honored for its inclusive excellence for fourth consecutive year


For a fourth consecutive year, The University of Akron is a recipient of the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award. The honor is presented by INSIGHT into Diversity magazine for “outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.” UA has received the honor annually since 2012, when the HEED award was first established.

2015 HEED Award logo

UA is one of 91 institutions across the country to receive the honor, and one of seven in Ohio. All will be featured in the November 2015 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

“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,” says Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

“We take a holistic approach to reviewing each application in deciding who will be named a HEED Award recipient,” adds Pearlstein. “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.”

Inclusion is core value

Lee Gill, UA’s associate vice president for inclusion and equity, and chief diversity officer since 2008, says inclusive excellence is a core value at UA.

“Our goal is to continually demonstrate to students – many of whom come from very homogenous cultures and backgrounds – what it means to engage with people of different races, genders, ethnicities, physical capabilities, life experiences and more,” notes Gill. “In doing so, we have built an environment that is inclusive of diversity and excellent in its outcomes.”

UA’s Office of Inclusion & Equity oversees many academic programs, events and services that contribute to matriculation, persistence and graduation. Among the most well known programs on campus and in the wider community are Rethinking Race: Black, White and Beyond Series, China Week and Black Male Summit, all held annually.

 “A truly inclusive environment leads to wider understanding and, of course, helps ensure success for all our students,” says Gill.”

 For more information about the HEED award, visit INSIGHT into Diversity magazine.


Inclusive excellence at UA

Media contact: Dan Minnich, 330-972-6476 or