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Press Release for Wednesday, September 18, 2019

UNF Receives 2019 Higher Education in Diversity Award/Diversity Champion

Media Contact: Joanna Norris, Director

Department of Public Relations

(904) 620-2102

The University of North Florida received the 2019 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education, and was also recognized as a Diversity Champion. This is the fourth consecutive year UNF has been named a HEED Award recipient and the third year as a Diversity Champion.


As a recipient of the annual HEED Award-a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to inclusion-UNF will be featured along with over 90 other recipients in the magazine's November issue.


"The University has an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion on our campus and is honored to be among the top colleges recognized for excellence in this crucial area," said UNF President David Szymanski. "We strive to broaden diversity on our campus as we continue to build upon our successes."


INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine selected UNF based on its exemplary diversity and inclusion initiatives, which it continues to foster throughout all aspects of campus operations, programs, services and activities. "We take a holistic approach to reviewing each application in deciding who will be named a HEED Award recipient," said Lenore Pearlstein, INSIGHT Into Diversitymagazine 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."


The University continues to make great strides to foster its commitment to diversity and inclusion in employment, education and business in a variety of ways. One new initiative, Community Alliance for Student Success (CASS), was created to support UNF's commitment to building an inclusive, equitable and diverse university community by facilitating the recruitment, retention and graduation rates of traditionally underrepresented students.


CASS has a team approach for student success by partnering with other minority leaders in the community as mentors. Team leaders guide their group of students in professional, social and community development with a number of events and experiences during the academic year. Each community leader brings a network of their colleagues for students to interact and learn from at these events. The students admitted into this program also have on-campus events and resources available to them.


The Office of Equal Opportunity and Inclusion regularly conducts training for individuals who serve on search and screening committees as well as regularly reviews recruitment/personnel actions to foster diversity and inclusion. UNF also conducts programs representative of various faiths and beliefs, supports student veterans through its Military Veterans Resource Center and promotes student, faculty and staff accessibility in educational programs and in the workplace.


Additionally, the University hosts several events on campus for underrepresented populations, including C.A.M.P. Osprey, Role Models of Excellence, Girls Rock Symposium and Success by Design, to name a few. UNF also works to provide opportunities for all students to access scholarship monies in a fair and equitable manner.


"UNF is excited to be named a winner of the HEED award for the fourth consecutive year. This shows the commitment of the University to the overall inclusion of all members of the campus community by continuing to sponsor programs to make all students, faculty and staff feel valued and respected," said Marlynn Jones, director of Equal Opportunity and Inclusion and Title IX coordinator.


INSIGHT Into Diversity is known for its annual Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award, which is the only award recognizing colleges and universities for outstanding diversity and inclusion efforts across campuses. In addition to its online job board, INSIGHT Into Diversity magazinepresents timely, thought-provoking news and feature stories on matters of diversity and inclusion across higher education and beyond.


UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.