INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine has recognized Virginia Tech as one of 10 Diversity Champion colleges and universities.
The magazine, which is the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education, noted the champions “exemplify an unyielding commitment to diversity and inclusion throughout their campus communities, across academic programs, and at the highest administrative levels.”
“We are honored to receive this award, reflecting a commitment by the university to build a community where all feel welcome and supported,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. “Just two years ago, we launched InclusiveVT as a strategic way to advance inclusion and diversity efforts on this campus, building on our long-held Principles of Community and motto of service, Ut Prosim. This recognition is a reflection of the hard work of our faculty, staff, and students to continuously improve our community.”
In order to provide leadership and accelerate the aspirations of InclusiveVT, the university hired Menah Pratt-Clarke as vice president for strategic affairs and vice provost for inclusion and diversity earlier this year. InclusiveVT is the institutional and individual commitment to Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) in the spirit of community, diversity, and excellence.
“During my short time at Virginia Tech, I’ve have seen the depth and breadth of the campus’ commitment to diversity. It exists at all levels of leadership from the Board of Visitors, to the President, the Provost, the deans, and the vice-presidents. Equally important, the InclusiveVT model has ensured that the commitment extends to faculty, staff, and students who are active through formalized relationships like the campus caucuses and college diversity committees, but also informally through participation in diversity events, forums, and discussions,” said Pratt-Clarke.
“There is momentum to keep improving and focusing on sustainable transformation with new initiatives this fall related to increasing the recruitment and retention of diverse students and faculty; reviewing the curriculum; and engaging alumni."
One important change at Virginia Tech is an online DiversityEdu video module that all incoming first-year students and graduate students will take for the first time this year. The module will help students understand key diversity concepts and how to support an inclusive, welcoming, and affirming campus climate as part of InclusiveVT. (Read Pratt-Clarke’s update to the Board of Visitors in the March 2016 meeting.)
“Virginia Tech is a visionary leader among campus communities striving for diversity and inclusion,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity. “As a Diversity Champion school, Virginia Tech exceeds everyday expectations, often eclipsing even its own goals, and develops successful strategies that serve as models of excellence for other higher education institutions.”
Virginia Tech and the other nine institutions rank in the top tier of past Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award recipients from the magazine.