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University Honored with HEED Diversity Award

Widener Pride statues

Widener University has been awarded a 2018 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

The HEED award is a highly competitive national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. Widener will be featured in the magazine’s November issue. This is the third consecutive year the university has been honored by the magazine and it is one of just 96 institutions recognized out of several thousand across the country.

“I am gratified to see Widener recognized nationally for its leadership in this important area," said Widener President Julie E. Wollman.

Diversity and inclusion are part of our culture at Widener. These values are demonstrated in the university’s platform principle, ‘We’re All Widener,’ a powerful statement about respect, mutual understanding, and unity. —Julie E. Wollman

In selecting award recipients, INSIGHT Into Diversity looked at recruitment and retention of students and employees, leadership support for diversity, and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion. The rigorous selection process took a detailed approach, said Lenore Pearlstein, magazine publisher.

“Our standards are high, and we look for institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being accomplished every day across their campus,” Pearlstein said.

Widener’s commitment to diversity and inclusion shines through in a multitude of its programs and practices, particularly the We’re All Widener pluralism campaign.

Political science student at Common Ground NCC
Political science students participated in the Common Ground Initiative at the National Constitution Center.

Wollman formalized that statement as a powerful representation of Widener’s values. The university launched the Common Ground Initiative under the umbrella of

We’re All Widener last year. That initiative has created opportunities for students, faculty, staff and alumni to talk about differences in open and respectful ways.

The university is also constantly striving to enhance the climate of diversity and inclusiveness on campus through the people it hires. Widener has strengthened its efforts to attract diverse pools of applicants for professional opportunities, tapping new organizations across multiple disciplines as it searches for prospective faculty and staff.

It launched a Diversity Advocate Program this spring to ensure diversity and inclusion are represented and valued throughout the hiring process.

The administration is also invested in creative and innovative approaches to retain the talented professionals who come to teach and work at Widener. Multiple affinity groups, such as the Faculty and Administrators of Color Network, and an LGBTQ group for faculty and staff, promote inclusion and acceptance.

Widener is also a leader in supporting principles of diversity and inclusion in the Chester community. The university created a Community Engaged Teacher Education program that teaches education students how to be culturally responsive in urban schools within racially, culturally and linguistically diverse settings. In a less formal setting, Widener students visit Chester High School regularly during the school year, where they provide tutoring and mentoring to teens after school.

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