Colorado College has received the 2023 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. This is the first time CC has earned this distinction and is validation for extensive institutional work committed to antiracism, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
As a recipient of the annual HEED Award — a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion — Colorado College will be featured in the November/December 2023 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.
“We are honored to be recognized with this prestigious award, the only one of its kind in the country,” said L. Song Richardson, president of Colorado College. “At a time when we are seeing a problematic rolling back of important civil rights gains, preparing our students to create a more equitable and just society will take continued courage and commitment. I’m proud of our students, staff, faculty, and ADEI leadership team for their dedication to this important work.”
INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine selected Colorado College specifically because of the institution’s robust ADEI efforts. CC has made great strides in creating access for underserved populations and notes these recent accomplishments in the area of ADEI:
- Becoming the first college in the country to make a commitment to antiracism in 2019
- Hiring the college’s first Black and Korean president, Song Richardson, who took office as the institution’s 14th president on July 1, 2021
- Launching the Stroud Scholars college-prep program, which creates an academic pathway for high-promise, underrepresented high school students living in the Pikes Peak region
- Initiating the Healing and Affirming Village Empowerment Network (HAVEN) transfer program for students living in states that have passed anti-DEI legislation
- Addressing affordability concerns in higher education with CC’s statewide Colorado Pledge for families earning less than $250,000
- Returning indigenous artifacts from the Fine Arts Center to their communities
- Assembling a three-person ADEI team with expertise in different areas rather than one chief diversity officer
- Offering one-year fellowships to predoctoral and postdoctoral scholars through the Riley Scholars-in-Residence Program via the Consortium for Faculty Diversity
- Renaming Armstrong Quad to Tava Quad in response to indigenous and native peoples from CC
“As part of this commitment, we have dedicated our efforts to constantly learning and improving how we approach justice-centered work on campus, never shying away from making changes as we go,” said Rosalie Rodriguez, Associate Vice President for Institutional Equity and Belonging.
The HEED Award measures an institution’s commitment to diversity and inclusion through a comprehensive and rigorous application relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees — and best practices for both — leadership support for diversity, campus culture and climate, and many other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion.
“We take a detailed approach to reviewing each application in deciding who will be named a HEED Award recipient,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “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.”
CC effectively demonstrated how it provides support to marginalized populations including identity-based programming, interactive programming, affinity support resources, offices, curricula, and dedicated staff.
The application included questions about the percentage of full-time student enrollment, faculty, and staff based on race/ethnicity, gender identity, how many of the students are first generation (9.5%), * Pell Grant eligible (13.1%), * or have a disability (26%) * and how well the staff reflect the diversity of the student body.
CC was able to highlight the recent expansion of the Butler Center, named for one of the earliest Black alumni, which serves as the student center for antiracism, diversity, equity, and inclusion. It now includes the Rochelle T. Dickey Multicultural Lounge. The Butler Center most recently added the Queer and Trans Collective in September. There are also many new initiatives, such as the Peer Educators program, the Transition Closet Project, and Multicultural Student Leadership and Empowerment initiative.
In addition, CC continues to offer its Bridge Scholars Program, especially tailored to first-generation students and those from historically marginalized backgrounds, as well as Stroud Scholars and QuestBridge Scholars. The Bridge Scholars Program is a year-long program that offers a welcoming community, supportive mentoring, and engaging and challenging coursework for first-year students.
Other institutions are taking note. On October 20 and 21, diversity officers from ten Associated Colleges of the Midwest will visit CC to learn more about its ADEI programs. CC’s ADEI team will continue its work on campus this fall with a racial climate survey of faculty and the implementation of a new strategic plan.
In total, 102 American colleges and universities received the award this year. Nine are liberal arts colleges and Metro State University of Denver is the other four-year Colorado institution to win.
*Figures for CC based on academic year 2022-23