by Colton Campbell
The University of West Georgia has received top honors from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine with receipt of the 2018 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award.
The award, open to all colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada, measures an institution’s level of achievement and commitment to broadening diversity and inclusion on campus through initiatives, programs and outreach; student recruitment, retention and completion; and hiring practices for faculty and staff.
“I am honored that the University of West Georgia has been recognized by INSIGHT Into Diversity for our efforts to show our commitment to diversity and inclusion,” said UWG President Kyle Marrero. “This is a product of the vast time and energy invested by our students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members to ensure a positive and welcoming environment for all students at UWG. We are excited to continue reaching new milestones as we remain focused on student success.”
UWG was one of only 96 institutions to receive the HEED Award, the sole national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion across their campuses.
Dr. Yves-Rose Porcena, chief diversity officer at UWG, said UWG has been “intentional and proactive” to address opportunities for growth identified in the diversity and inclusion areas.
“We are engaged in growing ourselves to grow others,” Porcena said. “Heightened awareness of our responsibility to create equitable learning and living environments and to eliminate barriers to student success has led to the development of some truly transformative programs on our campus at UWG.”
Programs facilitated by UWG’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion include the African-American Male Initiative (AAMI); the Diversity Champions Action Council; the Presidential Commission on Campus Inclusion; the Multicultural Achievement Program; and Interfaith Cooperation.
“We are fortunate at UWG to have diversity and inclusion woven into many initiatives that involve student, faculty and staff leadership,” Porcena said. “In order for UWG to fulfill its vision – to become the best comprehensive university in America, sought after as the best place to work, learn and succeed – we must intentionally strengthen actions that exemplify our core values, including diversity and inclusion. Receiving this award shows that the work we’re doing is being noticed.”
As the institution has grown, UWG has been steadily building a more equitable environment and culture, Porcena said.
“Being cognizant of changing global demographics, we are energetically working to bridge gaps in our community,” Porcena said. “Simultaneously, we understand that UWG is a positive and proactive catalyst, willing and able to aid in transforming our community and our students’ lives. Being recognized as a HEED Award recipient brings constructive attention to the existing and ongoing collaborative work necessary to cultivate a thriving, inclusive community.”
For more information on UWG’s efforts in diversity and inclusion, visit www.westga.edu/diversity.