For the third consecutive year, UNC Greensboro has received the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.
The national honor recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. UNCG is among 89 institutions across the nation, and is one of just two UNC System institutions, to receive the award.
“We are at a national inflection point where the injustice of systemic racism and inequality has been firmly and forcefully elevated in the public conversation, and long-standing inequities in higher education are being addressed with vigor and direct action. In that context, it is incredibly gratifying to see that our intentional efforts surrounding equity, diversity, and inclusion at UNC Greensboro are being recognized for their excellence and high impact,” said UNCG Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. “Even as we celebrate this honor, we know that it is not nearly enough, and we are just at a starting point. UNC Greensboro and institutions like ours must actively fight racism and intolerance. We must stand together in solidarity to open up our learning communities, embrace the talents of a vast array of students, and support student success in all that we do. I feel a great sense of pride in our campus for upholding these principles, and I look forward to the work that we will continue to do together in the future.”
UNCG is a minority-serving institution, and approximately 50% of students are people of color. Over the past year, the University has focused its equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts in three primary areas: social justice, campus climate, and student success.
To intentionally address racism and the need for social justice, UNCG has created a new racial equity website, which serves as a launching pad for Spartans, community members, and prospective students and families to learn more about the University’s commitment to racial equity. The website features resources for learning, upcoming events, and news.
Additionally, UNCG’s new Triad Black Lives Matter Protest Collection is working to document the Black Lives Matter movement, police brutality protests, and race relations in the Triad region of North Carolina.
This year, the Office of the Chancellor expanded the Campus Climate Fellows program to provide guidance and to organize campus-wide activities and collaboration around equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts. The current fellows are Dr. Andrea Hunter and Dr. Julia Mendez Smith.
UNCG Cares, a Division of Student Affairs initiative, promotes a Culture of Care in the UNCG community by instilling care and support. UNCG Cares includes a network of campus resources, from diversity initiatives like Safe Zone and Trans Zone to health and wellness programs such as the Spartans in Recovery Program.
In fall of 2019, UNCG launched its “Spartan Essentials” initiative, part of UNCG Cares, to address food insecurity, as well as housing insecurity, among students.
UNCG’s Spartan Open Pantry (SOP), an on-campus food pantry for students and staff with food insecurity, has continued to meet the increased need this spring and summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the SOP, the Dean of Students Office provides emergency meals for students.
UNCG continues to stand out as a leader in student success.
In March, UNCG was recognized by the Center for First-generation Student Success for its commitment to supporting first-generation students. The First-gen Forward designation recognizes institutions of higher education who have demonstrated a commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes of first-generation college students. Selected institutions receive professional development, community-building experiences, and a first look at the center’s research and resources.
In early August, the U.S. Department of Education renewed UNCG’s TRiO Student Support Services Program grant, awarding $1.4 million over five years. 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of this program on UNCG’s campus.
UNCG also continues to excel in recruiting Latinx students, many of whom are first-generation college students, through its CHANCE program. The Alianza affinity group for Latinx students, staff, and faculty was honored earlier this year by the INSIGHT into Diversity magazine’s First Annual Inspiring Affinity Group Award. More than 10% of the student population is Latinx.
Photography by Grant Evan Gilliard, University Communications