VCU awarded Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award

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INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine has selected Virginia Commonwealth University as a recipient of the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award.

The HEED Award is a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. VCU will be one of 96 recipients recognized in the November 2018 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

This is the second time VCU has been named as a HEED Award recipient. The first was in 2012, the inaugural year of the awards.

The HEED Award application includes questions relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees — and best practices, continued leadership support for diversity and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion.

“This national award recognizes our efforts to transform VCU’s institutional commitment to diversity and inclusion into policies, practices and programs that have a demonstrably positive impact on the lives of our faculty, staff, students and patients,” said Aashir Nasim, Ph.D., vice president for inclusive excellence. “The 2018 HEED Award represents a beginning, and not an end, to the work that still needs to be done to make certain that VCU remains a fair, open and empowering environment for everyone.”

The work referenced in application materials spans both the Monroe Park and MCV campuses and addresses specific efforts to recruit historically underrepresented and first-generation students, improve their retention and graduation rates, recruit and retain diverse faculty members and ensure accountability around institutional diversity and inclusion efforts.

Grants, scholarships, mentorship, a partnership with Richmond Public Schools and support from federal programs such as TRIO Student Support Services count when it comes to the success of underrepresented and first-generation students. The efforts are as diverse as bilingual information sessions; campus tours and financial aid counseling for Spanish-speaking students and families; one-credit courses from University Academic Advising addressing leadership development, civic engagement and social justice; and pipeline programs offered by the Division for Health Sciences Diversity that reach students from middle school to post-baccalaureate.

The Office of Faculty Recruitment and Retention, iCubed and the Division for Inclusive Excellence support the development and implementation of policies, procedures and programs related to diverse faculty recruitment and retention. They also develop strategies to ensure successful diversity planning and accountability.

For more information about the 2018 HEED Award, visit