For the fourth year in a row, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette has received the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award (HEED.)
According to the UL Lafayette website, “The University is among 103 universities to earn the 2021 HEED Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.”
INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, founded over 40 years ago, was launched to provide a valuable forum for readers to be included in national conversations about inclusivity and diversity. UL Lafayette is the only school in Louisiana to receive this award and will be featured in the November issue.
Over time, schools were evaluated based on many factors in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion. Other attributes such as campus involvement, organizations and leadership positions were also examined.
Taniecea Mallery, UL Lafayette’s executive director of Strategic Initiatives and chief diversity officer, said, “Receiving this award only motivates the University more. We want to continue to push boundaries and not get lazy after winning the award.”
Mallery described receiving the award as both humbling and heartening.
“It also says a lot about the University. We always want to improve and see what more we can do. Not only do we aim to improve the collegiate atmosphere, but we also think about what it does for the community. That plays a big role for us,” she said.
Mallery said that this type of work could not be done alone. A lot of institutional work was a commitment to improving diversity and the status of students is prevalent when it comes to specific ideas and situations.
A few programs at UL Lafayette that can be seen as the face of diversity are the LIFE Program, First to Geaux and the Women’s Leadership Conference.
According to The LIFE Program website, The UL LIFE (Learning is for Everyone) program has done a lot to help the University succeed, along with the amazing work of students.
“The University’s Program offers a basic 2-year program that incorporates functional academics, independent daily living skills, employment, social/leisure skills, and health/wellness skills in a public university setting with the goal of producing self-sufficient young adults,” says the website.
First to Geaux offers insight and teaches first-generation students the main things to know about college. This program is vital to students who do not have English-speaking parents but still want to attend college.
Finally, the Women’s Leadership Conference helps bring faculty, students and staff together to commemorate Women’s History Month. The conference aims to provide networking opportunities and professional leadership development ideas centered on women from various cultural backgrounds.
Mallery explained that the work does not stop here. Every day, the department looks for more ways to strive for greatness.