University at Albany Honored for Commitment to Diversity

Purple graphic with words: 2021 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award Recipient (on the left), and the University at Albany logo on the right

ALBANY, N.Y. (Sept. 21, 2021) — For the fourth year in a row, the University at Albany has been awarded the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. The national award recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.

“Diversity and inclusion are of paramount importance to the University at Albany — one of the core priorities of our strategic plan and part of our mission as a public Research 1 University,” President Havidán Rodríguez said. “This award honors that ongoing commitment, and I am gratified that our work in this area is recognized, year after year.”

UAlbany’s commitment to diversity includes developing Climate Committees in all schools, colleges and divisions to develop inclusive practices; creation of a Bias Incidence Response Protocol for the University community to report suspected hate or bias incidents; and counseling, support and empowerment groups for victims of bias.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion also has a variety of training and education programs for faculty, staff and students. First-year students participate “Inclusive Danes,” a two-hour interactive session that covers topics such as oppression and discrimination, being an ally, and racism in the United States. Faculty and staff have new training opportunities as well, including “Inclusive Search Training,” which explores the impact of increased cultural competence on efforts to recruit faculty and staff who reflect the diversity of the student body.

In July, the University received a $1 million, three-year grant from the National Science Foundation aimed at creating gender equity among faculty in the STEM fields. And this fall, UAlbany welcomed its largest and most diverse class in the University’s history while maintaining high academic standards.

“Being honored with the HEED Award for four consecutive years is a testament to the continuing work the University is doing around diversity issues,” said Samuel Caldwell, chief diversity officer and associate vice president for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “This includes our most recent work with the Racial Justice Committee, renaming Indian Quad to Indigenous Quad, the Juneteenth Conference and this past Saturday’s Race for Equity 5K.”

As a HEED Award recipient, the University will be featured, along with 100 other recipients, in the November issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity.

“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. “Our standards are high, and we look for institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being done every day across their campuses.”