UNC Charlotte has been recognized among the best in the nation for its outstanding diversity and inclusion efforts. The University is a recipient of the 2022 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.
“The HEED Award acknowledges UNC Charlotte’s long-standing commitment to be a place where students, faculty and staff of all backgrounds and experiences succeed academically and professionally,” said Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. “This accomplishment reaffirms our intention to advance inclusive excellence campuswide and encourages us to continue our efforts as we live our guiding commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion.”
One of the most diverse universities in the Carolinas, Charlotte is known widely for expanding access to high-performing students from traditionally underserved groups – among them first-generation college students, students from rural communities and those with disabilities – through specialized programming and targeted financial support. Tapped by U.S. News & World Report as a leader in social mobility, the University has made notable inroads in recruiting, retaining and graduating students of Hispanic and African American descent. Graduation rates for Black, Hispanic/Latinx and first-generation college students have increased over 20%, and the University has received national recognition for its successful approach.
Last year, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion was established to lead efforts to create and sustain a campus culture where all students, faculty, staff and visitors feel welcome and valued. Brandon L. Wolfe is the University’s inaugural chief diversity officer and associate vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion, a cabinet-level position that reports to Gaber.
“UNC Charlotte has worked hard for a long time to further diversity, equity and inclusion within and beyond our campus borders,” he said. “Our first HEED Award provides inspiration to continue toward our goal of becoming a national model for others to follow.”
Among Charlotte’s highlights recognized by the award are:
- Gaber became the first UNC System chancellor to join Excelencia in Education's Presidents for Latin Student Success
- Receiving the First-gen Forward designation from the Center for First-generation Student Success
- Relaunching the diversity and inclusion website that includes resources, including a DEI campus inventory and an interactive diversity dashboard
- Receiving the 2022 Military Friendly School Gold Award
- Entered a $5.3 million partnership with Truist Financial to support student success and a
- $2.5 million partnership with Bank of America to expand the University Transition Opportunities Program, a signature summer bridge program for historically underrepresented students
- Launching the School of Professional Studies to support learning opportunities for working professionals
The HEED Award process includes a comprehensive application with questions relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees, continued leadership support for diversity and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion, according to Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.
“We take a detailed approach to reviewing 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.”
INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine is the nation’s oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. The 103 recipients of the 2022 HEED Award will be featured in its November edition. Other UNC System institutions honored this year are UNC Greensboro and East Carolina University.
About INSIGHT Into Diversity
INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine presents timely, thought-provoking news and feature stories on matters of diversity and inclusion across higher education and beyond. Articles include interviews with innovators and experts, as well as profiles of best practices and exemplary programs. Current, archived and digital issues of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine are available online at insightintodiversity.com.