Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

December 9, 2023

Augustana Receives Award For Diversity and Inclusion

The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (OSID) announced on Sept. 19 to the Campus Community that Augustana College received the 2019 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine. 
OSID announced this accomplishment on Sept. 25 in an email to campus.
 In the email, OSID said, “The Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award (HEED) is the only national award that honors individual institutions for outstanding examples of making diversity and inclusion a top priority across their campuses.”
“It’s a national award that is given to Colleges and Universities that are essentially doing a good job with diversity and inclusion on their campus,” the director of OSID, Michael Rogers said.
“I believe there were over 200 schools that applied and about 90 were selected, and Augustana was one of them,” Rogers said. “This is the first year Augustana has been named as a HEED Award recipient.” 
He also noted that this is an important award for Augustana to receive and indicates that the college is on the right path towards a more diverse and inclusive campus community.
Lenore Pearlstein is the publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. 
Pearlstein said, “The HEED Award process consists of a comprehensive and rigorous application.”
Explaining the application process, Pearlstein said, “It includes questions relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees, best practices for both continued leadership support for diversity and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion.
“We take a detailed approach to review each application in deciding who will be named a HEED Award recipient,” Pearlstein said. “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.”
However, there are mixed beliefs about Augustana having the award. Some students have expressed doubtful opinions about the level of diversity and inclusion on campus.  
“There’s a lot we have to work on compared to other schools,” Fatima Dominguez, president of Latinx Unidos said. 
Explaining what she meant, Dominguez said, “I went to the strategic plan meeting given by Dr. Monica Smith. It seems like a very good plan so far, but I feel like compared to other schools, we are not as diverse as we should be. 
“I personally don’t believe we deserved this award just yet,” Dominguez said. “I would’ve loved to see the strategic plan work first.”
Leoul Gezu is a student worker in the OSL and an international student from Ethiopia. “I would say yes, [Augustana] does deserve this award because, from all the colleges that I’ve visited and all other places I’ve visited in general, I feel the most comfortable here,” Gezu said.
Talking about how he feels about Augustana receiving the HEED award, Gezu said, “We claim to be a little more inclusive than we actually are, but I feel that’s more of a goal that we set for ourselves, kind of where we want to be but we are not there yet. That’s what we are working towards.”

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Augustana Receives Award For Diversity and Inclusion