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SIUE Achieves 8th Consecutive Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award

Higher Education

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has been honored with INSIGHT Into Diversity’s Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award for the 8th consecutive year, a distinct designation achieved by only 10 other universities nationwide.

“This highly-respected award underscores SIUE’s commitment to advancement in areas of equity, diversity, inclusion (EDI) and anti-racism,” said Chancellor Randy Pembrook. “We are acting with purposeful intention to integrate equity and diversity into our institutional structures, cultivate a sense of belonging for all campus community members and dismantle racism.”

“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 magazine. “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.”

“Receiving the HEED Award for the 8th consecutive year is evidence of the many contributions that SIUE faculty, staff, and students continue to make toward operationalizing inclusive excellence at all levels of the institution,” said Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Jessica Harris, PhD. “The award is also a testament to the leadership that Chancellor Pembrook and Dr. Venessa Brown have demonstrated over the years with respect to inclusive excellence.”

“The HEED Award application has been a model for SIUE to build its equity, diversity and inclusion framework,” added Venessa A. Brown, PhD. Brown became the first associate athletics director for diversity, equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer for intercollegiate athletics in March 2021 following her tenure as associate chancellor for the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion.

“It has been an honor to lead SIUE in these efforts for the past eight years,” Brown noted. “The University’s DEI efforts are now inclusive of anti-racism under a new division. I am excited to utilize my extensive leadership experience in my current role to develop SIUE Athletics into a model program within the DEI space.”

Under Harris’s leadership, the University is reformatting and expanding its EDI efforts through a new Division with focus areas in access and success, education and development, campus climate and community engagement. To help lead the amplification of inclusive excellence campus wide, the Division’s senior leadership team includes:

  • Jamie Ball, JD, director, Equal Opportunity, Access, and Title IX Coordination: Under Ball’s leadership, the Office for Equal Opportunity, Access, and Title IX Coordination will continue to promote and foster an inclusive campus environment by ensuring campus-wide compliance with various federal, state, and local fair employment laws and regulations; and create, revise, and implement policies, protocols, and practices supportive of belonging and the overall well-being of community members.
  • Earleen Patterson, PhD, associate vice chancellor for Student Opportunities, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: Patterson facilitates the University’s capacity to nurture an inclusive environment for racially minoritized and other historically underrepresented students, as well as address equity gaps in retention and graduation rates.
  • Lindy Wagner, assistant vice chancellor for Inclusive Excellence, Education and Development: Wagner leads and is setting the vision for the new Inclusive Excellence, Education and Development Hub (The Hub), which will create and maintain EDI and anti-racism training, programming, educational opportunities and initiatives, as well as EDI-related resources for students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members.

“As Chancellor Pembrook makes plans to retire in 2022, he leaves an indelible legacy of dedication to the values of diversity and inclusion that I am hopeful SIUE’s next Chancellor will build upon,” Harris concluded. “As I continue to ground myself in this new role as Vice Chancellor and work with colleagues to develop the EDI division, I am excited to do so upon the foundation established by Dr. Brown.”

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine is the oldest and largest diversity publication in higher education today and is well-known for its annual Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, the only award recognizing colleges and universities for outstanding diversity and inclusion efforts across their campuses. In addition to its online job board, INSIGHT Into Diversity presents timely, thought-provoking news and feature stories on matters of diversity and inclusion across higher education and beyond. Articles include interviews with innovators and experts, as well as profiles of best practices and exemplary programs. Readers will also discover career opportunities that connect job seekers with institutions and businesses that embrace a diverse and inclusive workforce. Current, archived, and digital issues of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine are available online at insightintodiversity.com.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville provides students with a high-quality, affordable education that prepares them for successful careers and lives of purpose to shape a changing world. Built on the foundation of a broad-based liberal education, and enhanced by hands-on research and real-world experiences, the academic preparation SIUE students receive equips them to thrive in the global marketplace and make our communities better places to live. Situated on 2,660 acres of beautiful woodland atop the bluffs overlooking the natural beauty of the Mississippi River’s rich bottomland and only a short drive from downtown St. Louis, the SIUE campus is home to a diverse student body of more than 13,000.