SVSU wins diversity award

Saginaw Valley State University was recognized for a commitment to diversity and inclusion by a magazine that has focused on such distinctions for nearly 40 years. INSIGHT Into Diversity announced the institution received the first-annual Higher Education in Diversity award, considered for colleges and universities nationally. 
 
The recognition means SVSU will be featured in the magazine’s November issue, which was released Wednesday, Oct. 16. In all, 56 institutions earned the award.
 
“Saginaw Valley State University has an unprecedented number of programs and initiatives in place that provide substantial opportunities for students, faculty and staff from all underrepresented groups,” said Lenore Pearlstein, the magazine’s publisher. “It is apparent that under President (Eric) Gilbertson’s leadership, that diversity and inclusion goals have shaped the character of this university.”
 
The magazine’s producers say the award was based on SVSU’s “exemplary diversity and inclusion initiatives,” and considered services to groups based on gender, race, ethnicity, veteran status, sexual orientations, and people with disabilities.
 
“We hope the HEED award serves as a reminder that diversity and inclusion must remain priorities in the 21st century higher education landscape,” Pearlstein said. “Our students of today are the employees of tomorrow and the future of our country. As students begin to enter the workforce and a global society, they must first be surrounded by and supported by faculty and staff that understand the differences among cultures and their needs.”
 
One aspect of SVSU’s application that drew praise is the inclusion advocate program it has employed since 2009.
 
“Our hiring committees have trained inclusion advocates,” explained Mamie T. Thorns, SVSU’s special assistant to the president for Diversity Programs. “They ensure that all elements of diversity are considered throughout the hiring process.”
 
Thorns said applying for the award has proven useful in other areas.  
 
“The HEED application process has already aided our self-study work as we prepare for the upcoming reaccreditation visit from the Higher Learning Commission and review for the Carnegie Foundation’s community engagement classification,” she said.
 
For more information about the diversity award, visit the magazine’s website at www.insightintodiversity.com.

Reflections 2013 Magazine