WMU honored for diversity, inclusion efforts for fifth year in a row

Contact: Deanne Puca

Insight into Diversity 2017 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award.KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Diversity and inclusion efforts underway at Western Michigan University helped it earn recognition for the fifth year in a row from a national publication that focuses on diversity in higher education.

WMU was one of 80 institutions from around the nation named an annual Higher Education Excellence in Diversity—HEED—honoree by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. WMU has been honored by the publication each year since 2013.

"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, co-publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. "As we continue to see a record number of HEED Award applicants each year, nearly every school tells us they use the application itself as a tool to create new programs and to benchmark their accomplishments across campus. The process allows them to reflect on their successes and also determine where more work needs to be done. We also continue to raise the standards in selecting HEED institutions."

The honorees will be featured in the November 2017 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine and at insightintodiversity.com.

Inclusion efforts are in alignment with and a major focus of WMU's Diversity and Multiculturalism Action Plan that has guided University efforts since it was adopted in 2006. The extensive application submitted by WMU for this year's HEED award included information on:

  • Some donor funds that are targeted toward scholarships for students with disabilities.
  • The Autism Services Center, which provides support for college students with autism spectrum disorder in addition to those provided by Disability Services for Students and provides services that are beyond the reasonable accommodations provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act, including weekly one-on-one meetings with the ASC coordinator or graduate assistant, workshops and informational sessions, organized social events, and increased communication between students and professors, staff and parents.
  • College success support provided through the College Assistance Migrant Program, or CAMP, which provides housing grants and in-state scholarships.
  • The Martin Luther King Jr. Student Scholars Academy, which is a comprehensive program designed to offer academic, social and professional development services.
  • The Kalamazoo Promise Scholars Program, which has implemented a weekly evening program for all students, but is targeted at Kalamazoo Promise Scholars for community building and increasing awareness of diversity topics.

Numerous professional development and training opportunities also are offered across campus including the Office of Faculty Development summer seminar for teaching inclusivity program; Lee Honors College Lyceum Lecture Series focused on lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender issues; and the Real Talk Diversity Series. All of those were items considered in the award process.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.