Western Oregon University receives excellence in diversity award

Western Oregon University received the first annual Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. The award recognizes WOU’s strong commitment, engagement, and success in creating a university teaching and learning environment that embraces and celebrates the many benefits of a 21st century diverse university.

As a winner of the HEED award—a national award honoring U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion—WOU will be featured along with a select group of other national recipients in INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine’s December 2012 issue.  WOU is the only college or university in the Pacific Northwest to receive this honor, and one of only three on the west coast, joining two University of California campuses.

“This recognition is a point of pride for the entire university since the award is an important acknowledgement of the overall level of commitment and excellence by WOU faculty, staff, administrators, and students. This honor is especially meaningful because the broad range of groups and efforts that were taken into consideration by Insight into Diversity in the selection process,” said WOU President Mark Weiss. “WOU’s success in supporting first-generation, minority, low-income and students with disabilities is well known nationally. This award also took into consideration other university strengths such as our support veterans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students, and our institutional planning and policies that support a diverse and supportive environment.”

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine selected WOU based on the institution’s exemplary diversity and inclusion initiatives, and include all aspects of diversity including gender, race, ethnicity, veterans, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBT community. Since 2007, WOU has become more diverse every year and has received awards for excellence from groups such as the Education Trust, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, National Academic Advising Association, and others for its commitment and success in educating students.

WOU is the only public college or university in Oregon to be a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. The retention and graduation rates of WOU students of color continue to be higher than the overall university retention and graduation rates. WOU remains committed to preparing students for a global society. In addition to study abroad and international internships,

“We hope the HEED award serves as a reminder that diversity and inclusion must remain priorities in the 21st century higher education landscape.  Every college and university should recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion as being part of their everyday life on campus,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.  “Our students of today are the employees of tomorrow and the future of our country.  As students begin to enter the workforce and a global society, they must first be surrounded by and supported by faculty and staff that understand the differences among cultures and their needs.”

For more information about the HEED award, visit INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine’s website at For more information about Western Oregon University, visit

About INSIGHT Into Diversity
INSIGHT Into Diversity is the oldest and largest diversity magazine and website in higher education today. For nearly 40 years, INSIGHT Into Diversity has been connecting employees with institutions and businesses that embrace a workforce that is reflective of the world around us.  Our decades of experience in recruiting employees from all underrepresented groups has earned us a reputation in higher education, business, and government  for finding the most dynamic talent in every field. INSIGHT Into Diversity successfully connects employers to the most highly qualified individuals regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, medical condition or history, veteran status, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation.

Interview contacts:
David McDonald
Associate Provost
503-510-6488 (cell) or

2 thoughts on “Western Oregon University receives excellence in diversity award

  1. I’m proud to be a WOU (actually it was OCE back then) alumnus. Receiving the HEED award is a great honor and achievement. Keep up the great work WOU!!!

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