Elon honored for diversity & inclusion programs

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine has recognized Elon with a 2014 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award, an accolade that reflects ongoing university efforts to celebrate and support students, staff, faculty and alumni of all backgrounds and beliefs.

Elon University has been recognized for its commitment to diversity and inclusion by the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication covering American higher education.

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine honored the university this month with a 2014 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award for what it describes as an “exemplary diversity and inclusion initiatives, and ability to embrace a broad definition of diversity on our campus, including gender, race, ethnicity, veterans, people with disabilities (and) members of the LGBT community.”

The university will be featured along with 82 other recipients in the magazine’s November edition. 

“We value a broad spectrum of experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives centered on our ethos of inclusive community,” said Brooke Barnett, Elon University’s interim associate provost for inclusive community. “At our core, our values demonstrate an unwavering commitment to close relationships between faculty and staff, a culture that supports constant innovation, and a strong sense of community focused on student learning and personal development.

“This reflects our conviction that students and colleagues learn and work best in an inclusive community that acknowledges, embraces and explores diversity in all its rich forms including disability, gender and sexuality, geographic background, national origin, race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status and worldview and religious identity.”

The award acknowledges a pledge to promote diversity and inclusion as outlined in the Elon Commitment strategic plan. Over the past five years, significant enhancements to student, alumni and employee curricular and co-curricular programming have fostered a spirit of respect and appreciation across all areas of campus.

“Elon University has an impressive number of new programs and initiatives in place that provide opportunities for students, faculty and staff from all underrepresented groups,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity. “It is apparent that the commitment to diversity and inclusion is there for the long term.”

Among the most significant successes of the Elon Commitment:

  • Construction or renovation of several campus facilities, including a multifaith center with the Numen Lumen Pavilion, the Sklut Hillel Center and the Catholic Newman Center on South Campus;
  • Creation of centers and/or additional Student Life staffing for LQBTQIA students, African and African-American students, Latino and Latina students, and Asian students, as well as new resources and facilities for the Multicultural Center;
  • Opening of the Center for Access & Success, which brings together under one director distinct programs that support higher education readiness for disadvantaged students from kindergarten through their senior year in college;
  • Committing to provide all students with access to a global engagement experience, whether through Study Abroad or Study USA, with the introduction of 47 new scholarships to support those students whose financial situation would otherwise prevent them from taking part;
  • Continued progress toward the goal of tripling by 2020 the number of international students that enroll each fall at the university;
  • Winter Term course and program themes related to issues of diversity and inclusion in a global context;
  • Creation of administrative positions, including an associate provost for inclusive community, and other advisory bodies to advise senior administrators and faculty on issues related to diversity; and
  • Fifty faculty and staff members have been trained to deliver the Anti-Defamation League’s “Campus of Difference” Program to university employees, half of whom have already participated in the program.

Now in its 40th year, INSIGHT Into Diversity is the largest and oldest diversity publication in higher education today known for its annual efforts to recognize colleges and universities for diversity and inclusion efforts across campuses. In addition to its online job board, INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine publishes news, interviews and viewpoints on matters of diversity and inclusion across higher education and beyond.

“We hope the HEED award serves as a way to honor those institutions of higher education that recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion as part of their everyday campus culture,” Pearlstein said.

Visit elon.edu/eloncommitment for more information on Elon University’s efforts to foster an inclusive campus community as well as other initiatives of the Elon Commitment strategic plan.