Topic: Inclusive Excellence

September 17, 2018

Ball State receives HEED award for committed efforts in broadening diversity
Ball State receives HEED award for committed efforts in broadening diversity.

For the third year in a row, Ball State University has earned the national Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

Each year, the HEED award recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. Ball State will be featured with 95 other HEED recipients in INSIGHT Into Diversity’s November 2018 issue. The magazine is the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

Melinda Messineo, Interim Associate Vice President for Diversity and Interim Director of the Office of Institutional Diversity at Ball State, said the award was “truly an honor.”

“It provides us with an opportunity to celebrate the many campus-wide efforts that are underway to create a more inclusive community,” Messineo said.

Diversity is a core value of the Ball State community as members vow “to value the intrinsic worth of every member of the community” in the Beneficence Pledge.

The magazine selected the university for its various efforts, including a decision to build a new Multicultural Center in the heart of campus. The Board of Trustees approved the $4 million design and construction project in May. The 10,500-square-foot facility will provide services closer to where students live and study and will feature amenities designed to support all students and promote diversity and inclusion.

The award also reflects the fact that the 2017-2018 freshman class was the most diverse in the school’s 100-year history.

The university continues to make enrollment of underrepresented students a priority and this year announced a new test-optional undergraduate admissions policy. The policy takes effect for the freshman class that will begin college in fall 2019. It is based on research that shows high school grade point averages are the strongest predictor for student success. The policy will enable Ball State to make exceptional educational experience accessible to more first-generation and minority students, for whom such tests can be an unwarranted barrier.

The future holds additional new initiatives aimed at increasing diversity and inclusion including leadership development programs, mentoring projects and more.

The HEED Award process involves a rigorous application that includes questions about recruitment and retention of students and employees, leadership support for diversity, and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion, according to Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity.

“We take a detailed approach to reviewing each application in deciding who will be named a HEED Award recipient. 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.