WMU programs recognized by national diversity magazine

Contact: Deanne Puca
Higher Education Excellence in Diversity

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University's diversity, equity and inclusion programs—including providing merit scholarships to honor students in need, enhancing business relationships with diverse or disadvantaged businesses and increasing campus awareness about inclusivenessreceived acclaim from a national diversity magazine.

WMU was one of 90 institutions from around the nation named an annual Higher Education Excellence in Diversity—HEED—honoree by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. The University was recognized for its efforts supporting diversity in higher education, an honor WMU has received each year since 2013 from the national publication.

WMU's application this year highlighted its Foundation Scholars program, Supplier Diversity Program and diversity education workshops as a few of the many efforts the University is undertaking.

"We are grateful to Insight Into Diversity magazine for honoring us with the HEED award for the eighth straight year," said WMU President Edward Montgomery. "We also understand that we have more work to do to enhance diversity and inclusion on the Western Michigan University campus. It's an effort that requires an ongoing, sustained effort, and we are committed to the journey."

The Foundation Scholars program is a merit-based scholarship established in 2015 for students who are high achieving despite having challenges such as being homeless, undocumented, a ward of the state or from families receiving free lunch. Each of the six entering cohorts have an average high school grade point average above 4.0, while the average GPA for Foundation Scholars is 3.6. These students also are admitted into Lee Honors College.

WMU's efforts to enhance successful business relationships with minority, women, veteran, LGBT and other diverse or disadvantaged business enterprises through the implementation of the Supplier Diversity Program across the University was another highlight of the HEED award. The purpose of this program is to increase business opportunities for these businesses through networking, outreach, education and communication. 

Additionally, WMU's Office of Diversity Education in 2019 developed three workshops for faculty, staff and students to improve awareness, knowledge and tools to assist in becoming an inclusive campus. Under the leadership of Lindsey Palar, former director of diversity education, the workshops focused on the intersection of identity, power and privilege, microaggressions and cultural humility for such units as the Bernhard Center, Residence Life, Admissions Ambassadors and First-Year Experience.

The honorees will be featured in the November 2020 issue of the magazine at insightintodiversity.com.

"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."

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.