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Eastern Kentucky University has received the 2018 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from Insight into Diversity magazine for the third consecutive year.

The HEED Award recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. EKU will be featured along with 95 other recipients in the November 2018 issue of Insight into Diversity Magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

The award “measures an institution’s level of achievement and intensity of commitment in regard to broadening diversity and inclusion on campus through initiatives, programs and outreach; student recruitment, retention and completion; and hiring practices for faculty and staff,” the publishers said. “The HEED Award and the Health Professions HEED Award are the only national awards that honor individual institutions for being outstanding examples of colleges, universities or health profession schools that are committed to making diversity and inclusion a top priority across their campuses.”

EKU is again the only regional university in Kentucky to receive the award. Since last year, the diversity office was able to more than double the number of diversity scholarships available. Among students who have received those scholarships, retention from Fall 2017 to Fall 2018 was 100 percent.

The office has also introduced new programs, such as the Diversity Scholars Research Group, more faculty mini-grants, Pay it Forward scholarships and the Summer Scholars program.

“The HEED Award is the only application-based national recognition honoring colleges and universities that show an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion across their campuses,” said Dr. Timothy Forde, vice provost for diversity and chief diversity officer at EKU. “So, we are encouraged that EKU is embracing the challenge of providing a high-quality educational experience for all of our students.”

Scholarship recipients participate in a variety of programs designed to give them the tools for success, both inside and outside the classroom. “The purpose of the program is to expand and enrich campus life by recognizing and supporting outstanding students from first-generation, low income and various cultural, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds with diverse interests, perspectives, and life experiences,” said Forde. “Our office is committed to helping students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds achieve their academic goals, and this program promotes academic excellence through monthly workshops, mentoring and involvement in on-campus activities.”           

The University Diversity Office also sponsors:

  • inclusive excellence workshops for faculty, staff and students.
  • online professional development workshops on cultural competency.
  • diversity mini-grants for tenure and tenure-track faculty.
  • professional development opportunities.

For more information about the 2018 HEED Award, visit

For more information about programs and services offered by the University Diversity Office, visit