FSU named diversity champion by Insight into Diversity

For a second consecutive year, Florida State University has been recognized by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine as a “Diversity Champion” in higher education.

FSU is one of only 10 colleges and universities nationwide receiving the award by the magazine, which is the nation’s largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education.

“Diversity enriches our academic environment and serves as a point of pride for Florida State University,” said FSU President John Thrasher. “This award is a testament to the efforts of faculty, students and staff across campus who are committed to nurturing a warm and welcoming atmosphere where everyone can thrive.”

Diversity Champion institutions are honored for their unyielding commitment to diversity and inclusion. INSIGHT Into Diversity has previously recognized Florida State with its Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award.

“We feel extraordinarily honored to be recognized as a national Diversity Champion for the second year in a row,” said Renisha Gibbs, assistant vice president for Human Resources. “Diversity and inclusion are central to Florida State’s mission. Every day we continue to look for new ways to build on our culture of civility and respect for all. I believe it’s the shared recognition that diversity strengthens the intellectual life of our institution that has contributed to our continued success in this arena. I know this accolade will propel us to keep striving for more.” 

The other institutions recognized by the magazine are Columbia University, Kennesaw State University, Kent State University, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Oklahoma State University, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Cincinnati, the University of Texas at Austin, University of Virginia and Virginia Tech.

“FSU is a visionary leader among campus communities striving for diversity and inclusion,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity. “As a Diversity Champion school, FSU exceeds everyday expectations, often eclipsing even its own goals, and develops successful strategies that serve as models of excellence for other higher education institutions.”

The university crafted a comprehensive plan in 2007-2008 to unite efforts for diversity and inclusion across all areas of the campus. Through that effort, the President’s Diversity and Inclusion Council was formed, comprising a group of faculty, staff and students committed to championing diversity, inclusion and social justice. Members of the council work on a number of initiatives, including efforts to recruit and retain a diverse faculty, staff and student body.

The university, with the help of the council, has implemented a number of initiatives to improve diversity and inclusion on campus. They include:

#PowerofWe: The Student Diversity and Inclusion Council, a group of diverse student leaders serving under the Office of the President, launched the #PowerOfWe campaign to inspire a campus culture that engages across different perspectives and identities. Throughout the 2016-2017 academic year, the group held a number of events that generated dialogue among faculty, students and staff about race, sexual orientation and other diversity issues.

Employee Resource Groups: The university currently has four employee resource groups – the Latin@Faculty Advocacy and Resource Group, the Black Faculty and Staff Organization, the LGBTQ+ Faculty Staff network and the Veterans Friends and Family Group. The university also created an Affinity Group Guide to provide general information for employees interested in establishing an affinity group.

President’s Diversity and Inclusion Mini-Grant Program: This program will launch in Fall 2017. To support efforts which align with the university’s new strategic plan, the Office of the President, through the Diversity & Inclusion Council, will solicit proposals for the implementation of diversity and inclusion initiatives and projects that further the diversity goals of the University. Awards may be up to $1,000 each. Faculty, staff and students will be eligible for the mini-grants.

Entrepreneurial Boot Camp for Veterans: For the past nine years, the university has hosted an entrepreneurial boot camp to give cutting-edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management for veterans disabled as a result of their service supporting post-9/11 operations.

Seminole Allies and Safe Zone Training: This program provides free workshops offered regularly throughout the academic year to students, faculty and staff. The trainings are presented as an intensive three-hour, in-house session focused on contemporary issues related to the LGBTQ community.

Diversity and Inclusion Certificate Series: Established in 2014, the training certificate creates an opportunity for faculty and staff to explore strategic areas around diversity and to learn more about the ways in which they can assist in creating a welcoming and inclusive campus for all. Fifteen faculty and staff have received the certificate and more than 210 faculty and staff have taken one or more courses toward completion of the certificate.

For more information on diversity resources and programming, please visit the Office of Human Resources website.