Students walking around the Compass at Virginia Commonwealth University.
The HEED Award "affirms VCU’s innovative and concerted efforts toward a fair and just learning and working environment," said Aashir Nasim, Ph.D., vice president and vice provost for institutional equity and VCU’s chief diversity officer. (University Marketing)

VCU receives 2021 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award

The university is one of only 14 institutions to also receive the Diversity Champion distinction.

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Virginia Commonwealth University has received the 2021 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award, with special distinction as a Diversity Champion, from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine for the third consecutive year.

Of the hundreds of institutions that apply yearly, 101 institutions received the HEED Award in 2021. VCU is one of only 14 to have also received the Diversity Champion distinction.

The HEED Award is a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion throughout their campus.

“We created the HEED Award 10 years ago to highlight the difficult and often unrecognized work being done by diversity leaders across higher education,” said Lenore Pearlstein, co-publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

INSIGHT Into Diversity also recognizes selected institutions — those that rank in the top tier of HEED Award recipients — as Diversity Champions. These institutions exemplify an unyielding commitment to diversity and inclusion throughout their campus communities, across academic programs, and at the highest administrative levels.

“Known for their visionary leadership, Diversity Champions serve as models of excellence for others in their dedication, vision and commitment to ensuring [diversity, equity and inclusion] is in their very foundation,” according to INSIGHT Into Diversity. “They exceed everyday expectations, often eclipsing their own goals.”

“Diversity, equity and inclusion are at the core of VCU’s values,” said Aashir Nasim, Ph.D., vice president and vice provost for institutional equity and VCU’s chief diversity officer. “Receiving this award three years in a row, in addition to the distinction of Diversity Champion, affirms VCU’s innovative and concerted efforts toward a fair and just learning and working environment.”

Manuel Liban, director of communications and information management with VCU’s Office of Institutional Equity, Effectiveness and Success, highlighted the ways the office translates its value principle of diversity and inclusion into value practices.

“At VCU, it’s not about rhetoric,” Liban said. “It’s about our commitment to developing unique approaches and maintaining our pledge to deliver them in a way that creates positive, long-term impacts across the university.”

For more information about the HEED Award or the Diversity Champion recognition, visit insightintodiversity.com.