For the fifth consecutive year, Lehigh University is the recipient of a national award for its institution-wide commitment to diversity and inclusion.
The Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, presented annually by Insight Into Diversity, “recognizes colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.” The award underscores Lehigh’s commitment to fostering an inclusive environment where all who learn, live and work at Lehigh feel a sense of belonging.
“I am extremely proud to see Lehigh recognized for ongoing diversity efforts for the fifth year in a row,” said Vice President for Equity and Community Donald Outing. “Over the past few years, the university has made a great deal of progress toward creating an inclusive campus environment. It is rewarding to see Lehigh’s efforts acknowledged as we continue this important work.”
Lehigh’s 2021-2026 Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Strategic Plan outlines goals and actions that the administration is taking to create a more diverse community where all feel valued, opinions can be expressed freely, and all are treated equitably. Goals include being a leader among peers in the percentage of all students enrolled across the university by race/ethnicity and sex; ensuring that first-year retention and four- and six-year graduation rates and time to degree do not differ based by race/ethnicity and sex, and by Pell-eligible status; and demonstrating consistent increases in the diversity of faculty hiring pools at all stages, among others.
Lehigh continues to prioritize efforts to foster a diverse, inclusive campus. Inspiring the Future Makers, Lehigh’s new strategic plan that will guide the university’s path over the next decade, speaks to this commitment directly through its foundational initiative “A Lehigh for Everyone” and through campus-wide efforts and projects that align with several of the plan’s goals and initiatives. As outlined in the strategic plan, “A Lehigh for Everyone” focuses on Lehigh as a place where every individual feels valued and welcomed. The plan points to Lehigh “promoting and developing a community committed to cultural diversity as an essential part of the learning environment.”
Under the direction of the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity, Lehigh has five advocacy centers that advance the work in this realm: The Pride Center for Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, Center for Gender Equity, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Chaplain’s Office, and Center for Student Access & Success. Additionally, the Council for Equity and Community (CEC) is an independent co-creative advisory board to the vice president for equity and community. Membership includes faculty, staff and students dedicated to supporting the diversity, inclusion, equity and antiracist goals of the institution and to upholding the Principles of Our Equitable Community.