FSU receives fourth consecutive national diversity and inclusion award

College of Medicine Also Recognized for Diversity in Health Professions

Florida State University’s continuing efforts to promote diversity and inclusion have earned national recognition for the fourth consecutive year.

Florida State received the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. FSU also won the award in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

“Diversity and inclusion is more than just a strategic goal at Florida State University — it’s at the heart of everything we do as an institution,” said President John Thrasher. “Receiving this award for the fourth consecutive year reflects our ongoing university-wide efforts to further develop a welcoming, cohesive campus environment.”

Florida State’s comprehensive plan to unite efforts for diversity and inclusion began in 2007-2008 with the vision of being a university and workplace of choice. As a part of that plan, the President’s Diversity and Inclusion Council was created.

The council is made up of faculty, staff and students who have demonstrated a commitment to diversity, inclusion and social justice and is championed by a steering committee composed of division vice presidents and senior staff members. Members of the council work throughout the year on a number of initiatives, including efforts to recruit and retain a diverse faculty, staff and student body.

Among the steps the university has taken to implement its continuing initiative to improve diversity and inclusion are including it as a standalone goal in its five-year strategic plan; launching the #PowerOfWe, a student-driven, university-wide diversity and inclusion campaign; and contracting with the National Coalition Building Institute to establish the university as an affiliate and develop a campus team.

“This award is a testament to our university’s ongoing commitment to celebrating and valuing our community’s differences and similarities,” said Renisha Gibbs, associate vice president for Human Resources and the university’s chief diversity officer. “Being recognized for the fourth consecutive year inspires us to work even harder to realize our vision of a cohesive, diverse and inclusive community.”

In addition, Florida State’s College of Medicine earned distinction as one of 24 recipients of the Health Professions HEED Award — a national honor recognizing U.S. medical, dental, pharmacy, osteopathic, nursing and allied health schools that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. FSU is the only medical school from the state of Florida to receive the award.

Among the factors considered in the College of Medicine’s recognition are its successful outreach programs, created to help achieve its mission to “develop exemplary physicians who are responsive to community needs, especially through service to elder, rural, minority and underserved populations.”

The pipeline programs have been instrumental in producing a diverse student body — the College of Medicine is the only medical school in the United States among the Top 10 for enrollment of both black and Hispanic students. The pipeline programs also have helped FSU recruit medical students from rural areas, increasing the chances that alumni physicians will choose to practice in those Florida communities where recruiting new doctors can be a struggle.

“Everything we do starts with our mission,” said FSU College of Medicine Dean John P. Fogarty. “Our outreach programs have brought us many outstanding students who otherwise might never have found the path to medical school. They are excelling for us as both leaders in the classroom and as alumni who are meeting Florida’s health care needs. The HEED Award is a wonderful affirmation for all of the people here who are working so hard to achieve our noble mission.” 

The HEED Award is the only national honor for U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.

HEED Award institutions were selected based on their exemplary diversity and inclusion initiatives that focus on all aspects of diversity, including gender, race, ethnicity, veterans, people with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ+ community. As a recipient of the annual HEED Award, Florida State will be featured in the November 2017 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, while the College of Medicine will be highlighted in the December 2017 issue.

Earlier this year, Florida State was recognized for the second time by the magazine as one of 10 Diversity Champion colleges and universities in the nation. Diversity Champions exemplify an unyielding commitment to diversity and inclusion throughout their campus communities, across academic programs and at the highest administrative levels.

For more information about the 2017 HEED Award, visit http://www.insightintodiversity.com. For more information on Florida State’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, visit hr.fsu.edu/diversity.