Welcome to Arkansas State University!

News Article

A-State Receives Third INSIGHT Into Diversity HEED Award


JONESBORO – INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine has announced that Arkansas State University is among 90 institutions of higher education selected to receive the 2020 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award.

The INSIGHT Into Diversity HEED Award, open to all colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada, measures an institution’s level of achievement and intensity of commitment in regard to broadening diversity and inclusion on campus through initiatives, programs, and outreach; student recruitment, retention, and completion; and hiring practices for faculty and staff.

This year's honorees will be featured in the November issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity publication in higher education.  The HEED Award is the only national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion across their campus.

"The HEED Award process consists of a comprehensive and rigorous application that includes questions relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees — and best practices for both — continued leadership support for diversity, and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion," said Lenore Pearlstein, co-publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. "We also continue to raise the standards in selecting HEED institutions."

This is Arkansas State's third consecutive year to receive the HEED Award, the only school in Arkansas and one of only two among Sun Belt Conference members to be recognized this year.  Louisiana-Lafayette is the other Sun Belt school to be recognized.

"We are pleased of the progress made by our Division of Diversity and Community Engagement over the past three years, and we are extremely proud that Arkansas State University is the only university in our state to earn the HEED designation," stated Dr. Kelly Damphousse, chancellor.  "That said, we know we have miles to go in addressing change for our students of color and promoting a positive living, learning, and working environment at A-State."

Dr. Lonnie R. Williams, special assistant to the chancellor and interim vice chancellor for diversity, inclusion and community engagement, noted "Most people think of diversity along the color line, but it is so much more than that and we have shown our awareness of this with our application for the award.  Two of the institution's programs developed within the last 24 months demonstrate that point."

First in the Pack was launched in the fall of 2019 with the intention to provide resources, mentorship and guidance to first-generation students. 

"Students who indicate they are the first in their family to attend college receive a welcome email from the administrative team of First in the Pack.  Students begin with a welcome mixer, followed by various other events throughout the year. This initiative is near and dear to our chancellor as he was a first-generation student," Williams continued.

The HOWL Transition Program, which held its open house in November, provides services to students with intellectual disabilities and/or autism who are transitioning out of high school into college and young adulthood. The program provides the A-State experience to students and supports to students who may need mentoring and assistance with social skills, career planning, and independent living.

For more information about the HEED Award, one may visit insightintodiversity.com.

# # #

HEED award logo