College of Nursing Awarded for Diversity Efforts

The College of Nursing received the 2016 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, which recognizes colleges’ and universities’ commitment to diversity and inclusion.


The College of Nursing was among 31 health professions schools across the U.S. this year to receive the award, issued by INSIGHT Into Diversity, an online and print magazine that focuses on the role diversity plays in higher education.


The College of Nursing’s efforts to promote diversity include two annual programs to encourage high school students to pursue the profession: The Summer Institute for Discovering Nursing (SIDN) and Future Nurse. Both programs are geared toward students from populations underrepresented in nursing. SIDN and Future Nurse are designed to give high school students hands-on experience in nursing as well as information about nursing careers.  Students and faculty from the College of Nursing volunteer their time over the summer to assist with the week-long program.


Another diversity initiative in the College of Nursing is the “Diversity and Inclusion in Healthcare Certificate” that faculty, staff and all students are eligible to receive by attending several events throughout the school year including lectures, clinics, diversity-related recruitment and outreach events, and community service.  The goal is for participants to gain the attitude, knowledge and skills necessary for providing quality care to diverse populations.  The College is also proud of its diversity committee comprised of faculty, staff and students.


“Diversity is a must for all of higher education. It’s especially important for all of the health sciences,’’ said Ken Sigler, assistant dean for Student Affairs, Culture and Diversity.


In health professions, a gap exists between the number of patients in underrepresented populations and the number of health care professionals from those populations, Sigler pointed out.


“In an effort to sustain excellence, we want to graduate healthcare providers that better reflect their patients and possess a high level of cultural competency,’’ Sigler said.


As a result of receiving the HEED award, the College of Nursing will be featured in the December 2016 issue of INSIGHT into Diversity magazine. The HEED award measures an institution’s level of achievement and intensity of commitment to broadening diversity and inclusion on campus through initiatives, programs, outreach, student recruitment, retention and completion as well as hiring practices for faculty and staff.