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Virginia Tech receives 2016 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award

September 1, 2016

Students work in a lab
Kathleen Alexander, a professor of fish and wildlife conservation in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, works in a lab with with undergraduate students Michelle Wright (left) and Madalyn Fox. Virginia Tech was selected for a recent Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award because of the university's many diversity and inclusion initiatives and ability to embrace a broad definition of diversity.

Virginia Tech’s inclusion and diversity efforts were again recognized, this time with a 2016 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

The award, announced today, recognizes colleges and universities in the United States that demonstrate an ongoing and outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. InclusiveVT reflects the institutional and individual commitment to Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) in the spirit of community, diversity, and excellence.

Virginia Tech received its first HEED award in 2013.

“Virginia Tech deeply values inclusion and diversity, and we are proud to encourage these values as an integral part of our land-grant mission,” said Menah Pratt-Clarke, vice president for strategic affairs and vice provost for inclusion and diversity. “Undergirded by our Principles of Community, we are committed to a campus that reflects the demography of the state, the nation, and the world we serve. To fully embrace our motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), we must prepare students to thrive and lead in a world of ever-increasing complexity and diversity.”

Virginia Tech was selected for the award because of the university’s many diversity and inclusion initiatives and ability to embrace a broad definition of diversity, including gender, race, ethnicity, veteran status, people with disabilities, and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

Last month, a diversity planning summit brought inclusion and diversity advocates together from across the university to discuss many new and future initiatives, including DiversityEdu training for undergraduate students and faculty search committees; dedication of additional resources for minority faculty recruitment; enhancing Virginia Tech’s regional admissions presence in such areas as Richmond and the National Capital Region; and the Hispanic/Latino, Native American and Black cultural centers, as well as the new LGBTQ Resource Center that are part of the Intercultural Engagement Center.

Other ongoing initiatives at the university include the Diversity Development Institute, a professional development program for faculty and staff that has served hundreds of employees, and multicultural programming that includes cultural celebrations and graduation ceremonies, such as Donning of the Kente, the Lavender Ceremony, the Hispanic-Latino Achievement Ceremony, and the International Street Fair.

The university also supports eight faculty and staff caucuses and has in place a vendor diversity policy. Virginia Tech is also a certified Virginia Values Veterans employer.

Virginia Tech will be featured along with other recipients in the November issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity.

In June, INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine also recognized Virginia Tech as one of 10 Diversity Champion colleges and universities.

For more information, and to participate in Virginia Tech’s ongoing inclusion and diversity efforts, visit InclusiveVT.

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