For Second Consecutive Year, Oregon State University Honored for Commitment to Diversity


(The Oregon State University Educational Opportunity Program’s Black Student Access and Success Initiative, College of Engineering and STEM Academy, partnered with Building Blocks 2 Successto bring middle school students from the Portland area to Oregon State for an overnight camp / Photo courtesy of Black Access & Success Initiative)

Oregon State University has been recognized for a second straight year with an award honoring colleges and universities that weave diversity and inclusion into their campus cultures.

Oregon State is the only Oregon university or college to be honored and one of only four institutions in the Pacific Northwest to receive the 2019 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

“We believe that excellence is achieved through diversity,” said OSU President Ed Ray. “This award recognizes our efforts to foster a more inclusive community, including in our enrollment, where the number of African American students applying to Oregon State has increased by 33 percent in three years. Yet, we know we have more work to do.”

As a recipient of the annual HEED Award, Oregon State will be featured, along with 93 other recipients, in the November issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

“We are very excited to receive the HEED award for the second year in a row,” said Charlene Alexander, vice president and chief diversity officer at OSU. “It points to Oregon State’s continued efforts to address diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. The award is a product of strong leadership from the president, provost and our partners across the university, to support diversity, equity and inclusion work.”

In recent years, Oregon State has engaged in a number of efforts related to diversity, equity and inclusion, said Alexander, who praised the staff of OSU’s Office of Institutional Diversity for their work. Such initiatives include:

  • Opening a new center to provide academic and community support for undocumented students, students with DACA status and students from mixed-status families.
  • Including an option to donate to diversity initiatives during a university-wide fundraising day known as “Dam Proud Day.”
  • Launching the Black Access & Success Initiative, which included strategic planning conversations with Portland-area black leaders, administrators and teachers, and hosting family nights for African American families and community members, to help with recruitment and outreach to African American students.
  • Hosting the African American Youth Leadership Conference at the university’s Corvallis campus. The event drew 325 pre-college youth from around the state.
  • Holding three Latinx family college presentations throughout the state and a Mi Familia Latinx family post-secondary literacy event on the Corvallis campus. The literacy event attracted almost 3,000 people.
  • Developing an online degree program for Native American students with a Native American advisor in subject areas deemed to be in high demand by tribal communities. The program is a partnership between Oregon State’s Office of Institutional Diversity and Ecampus, the university’s top-ranked online education provider.

“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, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “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 done every day across their campus.”


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