For the third consecutive year, The University of Tulsa has been honored with a Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity. As a recipient of the annual HEED Award, a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, TU will be featured along with 92 other recipients in the magazine’s November 2019 issue.
Inclusive, Safe and Diverse
Diversity and inclusion are not merely buzzwords at TU. When President Gerard P. Clancy joined the TU family in 2016, he had several strategic goals in mind. Ensuring an accepting, culturally diverse campus where students could be themselves was top of the list. “Safe is a big word. It means feeling physically and culturally secure as well as preserving free speech, encouraging civil discourse and fostering a climate of respect,” Clancy said.
In creating a diversity action plan, Vice President for Diversity and Engagement Jacqueline Higgs Caldwell focused on attracting and retaining diverse students, staff and faculty by developing initiatives and programming to address issues that affect underrepresented populations and cultivate resources that nurture an inclusive campus community.
“We are humbled by this national recognition of our accomplishments in the area of diversity and inclusion,” Caldwell said. “It is gratifying and inspiring to be counted among outstanding institutions across the country committed to the same goals.”
Last year, the Office of Diversity and Engagement launched a mentorship program — Mentors and Protégés (MAPs) — which pairs incoming multicultural freshmen with volunteer faculty mentors. One hundred percent of the inaugural MAPs freshmen from 2018-19 enrolled as sophomores at TU this fall, and this year, the number of students participating in the program has almost tripled.
“This speaks to the importance of fostering connections to the university community through mentor programs such as this,” Caldwell said. “We are grateful to faculty volunteers whose generosity and commitment have made this initiative possible. We also appreciate ConocoPhillips, which has kindly provided funding for this program in support of our inclusion and diversity efforts.”
A Diverse Student Body
TU recently welcomed the largest incoming domestic class in the university’s 125-year history. The class of 2023 — 820 students strong — is also the most diverse, with a 15% increase in first-generation students, a 17% increase in African American freshmen, a 20% increase in Native American freshmen and an 18% increase in Hispanic freshmen compared with last year’s incoming class.
“We are proud to receive the HEED Award,” Clancy said. “Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of TU’s mission by introducing different cultural perspectives, preparing students to participate in a global community and expanding our knowledge base.”