The University of Tulsa has received the 2020 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. 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 89 other recipients, in the November 2020 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity.
“Our city, like many others, has a history of intolerance. In May, we will commemorate the centennial of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. The thriving Greenwood District – just two miles from our campus – was burned to the ground when white mobs jealously targeted our city’s Black population. Lives and livelihoods were forever lost,” said TU Interim President Janet K. Levit. “Today, people of color continue to face systemic racism across the country. As Tulsa’s premier institution for higher learning, we condemn racism, fight prejudice and bias and ground our learning in equity as we grapple with ways to right long-standing wrongs. We have made progress but we, as a university, city and nation, still have more work to do.”
This is the fourth consecutive year TU has been named a HEED Award recipient.
“Our students, our faculty and staff, our alumni, our administration and our governing board are committed to raising the level of discourse on social injustice and actively addressing inequality,” said Dana Weber, chairwoman of the TU Board of Trustees. “This has been a painful year in many ways, but universities that are in a position to make a positive impact for future generations must persevere. We will have difficult conversations. We will face our shortcomings. We will do our part to encourage a more just society.”
The University of Tulsa was selected for the HEED Award for specific actions it is taking to increase diversity and improve engagement, including the Diversity Training and Bias Response team, which calls upon students, faculty and staff to cultivate a more equitable and inclusive campus community through education and accountability measures; the Community Advisory Council for Race Relations; and a series of Campus Conversations and educational opportunities, which began earlier this summer.
“The HEED Award process consists of a comprehensive and rigorous application that includes questions relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees — and best practices for both — continued leadership support for diversity, and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity. “We take a detailed approach to reviewing each application in deciding who will be named a HEED Award recipient. Our standards are high, and we look for institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being done every day across their campus.”