Written by: Marcus Nicholson
This year, The University of Akron received its first Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, announced by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.
Events such as China Week and Rethinking Race played a factor in UA winning this award. Another factor was the Black Male Summit, a conference that focuses not only on the needs of the black male community, but also on other race relations as well as personal and professional growth, according to their website.
“The Black Male Summit committee encourages African-American males to come to college, as well as educates them on succeeding,” said Lee Gill, the director of the Black Male Summit.
According to Gill, who was hired solely to focus on the Rethinking Race African-American chapter, INSIGHT Into Diversity is the the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. Factors included in deciding diversity are race, ethnicity, gender, age and many others.
“The earlier we get them inspired to go here, the better,” said Jim Tressel, co-head of the Black Male Summit. “It lets us use this as a recruiting tool.”
Tressel had the idea to invite even middle-school-age African-American males to the Black Male Summit.
“It is not enough for these institutions to create a diverse environment,” the magazine said in its December issue. “They need to strive to create an inclusive one as well, so that everyone feels welcome and engaged in day-to-day campus life.”
“Everyone on a campus needs role models and mentors, and to be able to associate with others who share the same backgrounds and values they do — that’s the inclusive side of the equation,” said Holly Mendelson, the publisher of the magazine.
The University of Akron is one of 48 institutions for higher education that received the award. According to the UA online newsroom, two other Ohio colleges, Case Western University and the University of Cincinnati, also won the award.
For more information, please visit uakron.edu/im.