Miami receives Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine

By Jessica Rivinius, university news and communications

heed award logoMiami University has been awarded a 2021 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

The only award of its kind, the national honor recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. Miami and other award recipients will be featured in the November issue of the magazine. This is the second year Miami has been named as a HEED Award recipient. 

“It is especially significant for Miami to receive this award this year, and for the second time, because it recognizes that with all the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has brought, we did not lose sight of our core diversity, equity, and inclusion institutional commitments,” said Cristina Alcalde, Miami Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion. “Instead, this past year we continued to build on longstanding commitments, moving quickly and intentionally, while continuously translating commitments into actions.”

 INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine recognized Miami for its commitment in envisioning a clear DEI model at Miami, being more accountable and transparent about DEI, creating sustaining DEI resources, and creating a pathway to implementing the model. Those efforts build on the work of the President’s Task Force for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), which last summer outlined an aggressive path to change based on five pillars: dialogue and allyship; advocacy and partnerships; cultural competency; structured support and focused resources; and inclusion and accountability.  

The university continues to make and report progress on the 44 recommendations issued by the task force. 

students walk through the seal atrium in armstrong

Students walk past the Miami Seal in the Armstrong Student Center Bicentennial Rotunda (image by Scott Kissell, Sept. 17).

“Our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion means we also openly recognize that there is a lot of work still to be done and commit to continue to work on improving,” Alcalde said. “Moving forward, we can support one another by identifying, building on, and scaling up successful approaches to diversity, equity, and inclusion across our units and exploring new ways to collaborate toward common goals.”

Alcalde said this includes drawing on Miami expertise and national best practices to re-examine the faculty and staff search and hiring process. The goal is to ensure all processes are inclusive and best reflect institutional commitments. She said Miami aims to better serve students of all backgrounds, alumni, and the broader community through increasingly inclusive practices and educational resources.  

“We are committed to ensuring that all voices are valued, and that our policies and structures do not unintentionally silence or make anyone in our community feel unwelcome,” Alcalde said. “In the coming years, we will continue to draw on our commitments to courageously recognize and engage in the work ahead.”

Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, said, “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.” 

“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,” Pearlstein said. 

Miami is one of only seven Ohio schools to have received this award. 

For more information about the 2021 HEED Award, visit