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Diverse group of students on a UD porch

University of Dayton receives national honor for excellence in diversity, inclusion

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine named the University a Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award winner for the third time in recognition of its outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.

UD also earned the HEED award in 2020 and 2021, and received the Jesse L. Moore Supplier Diversity Award in 2022 from the same publication

“Diversity, equity and inclusion are grounded in our Catholic, Marianist mission and identity at the University of Dayton, and are inextricably linked with excellence,” said UD President Eric F. Spina, who helped lead the development of the University’s anti-racism action plan, supported the establishment of the President's Commission on the Status of Women and has help lead the Greater West Dayton conversations with community leaders. “While we don’t engage in this work to win awards, we are appreciative that this award acknowledges the progress we’ve made and our continuing efforts to create a more inclusive campus for everyone.” 

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine selected UD for diversity and inclusion initiatives related to student body and workforce demographics, student and employee recruitment and retention, supplier diversity, the role of the office of diversity and inclusion, and leadership support and accountability. More than 20 UD faculty and staff participated in the application process. 

“Receiving the HEED award is a testament to our commitment to building a more inclusive campus community for our faculty, staff and students,” said Tiffany Taylor, vice president of diversity and inclusion. “We’re proud of the collaboration and partnership across the University in this continuing effort.”

In recent years, UD has positioned itself among national leaders in expanding its strategy to recruit and enroll more students from historically underrepresented and underserved groups. This fall, the University welcomed 41 new students in the seventh cohort of Flyer Promise Scholars, a program which removes financial barriers for high-achieving Pell-eligible students, many from historically underrepresented and underserved populations. About 92% of Flyer Promise Scholars graduate in four years, compared to 47% of students nationally.

Earlier this year, UD began the UD Sinclair Kessler Scholars program, a project supported by the Kessler Scholars Collaborative and the American Talent Initiative with funding support from the Judy and Fred Wilpon Family Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

The program provides financial aid, mentoring and other support to foster academic, professional and personal achievement for first-generation college students. It also supports the continued growth of the UD Sinclair Academy, which has nearly 290 students taking classes at Sinclair College and UD this fall.

Both programs support UD’s commitment as a national leader in the American Talent Initiative, a collaboration of high-graduation rate colleges and universities working to enroll more lower-income students.

The University also has strengthened its efforts to achieve greater diversity and inclusion in its workforce. The University offers bias training and support for search committees to make the hiring process as inclusive as possible, and each candidate pool also is analyzed for transparency throughout the process. Once hired, faculty and staff can join affinity groups supported through the office of diversity and inclusion, and take part in professional development programs including the Inclusive Excellence Academy.

Other notable diversity and inclusion efforts include the development of the University Inclusive Excellence Council, a permanent standing council overseeing UD’s diversity, equity and inclusion strategic plan. Since the council’s launch, UD has developed a diversity dashboard with demographic data about the student body, academic and administrative units; video training modules on the connection between UD’s Catholic and Marianist mission and inclusive excellence; and marketing and communications best practices for diversity and inclusion in the University brand guide.

“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.”

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine is the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. UD will be featured along with the other recipients in the November 2023 issue.


News and Communications Staff