Rowan receives prestigious HEED Award for DEI achievements

Rowan receives prestigious HEED Award for DEI achievements

Dr. Monika Williams Shealey

Rowan University this month joined a select group of colleges and universities nationwide recognized for their commitment to equality and opportunity for everyone.

The publication INSIGHT into Diversity bestowed Rowan with a Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, which acknowledges colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.

The publication cited Rowan’s institution-wide efforts to combat racism and promote acceptance of every student, faculty and staff member, a drive led by the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

Founded in 2019, the Division, led by Senior Vice President Monika Williams Shealey, has been proactive in helping shape Rowan as a university that doesn’t just talk about diversity, equity and inclusion issues and goals but takes specific actions to achieve them.

In particular, the publication cited six key initiatives in naming Rowan a recipient of a 2021 HEED Award. They include a comprehensive data dashboard on strategic action planning that was created to help departments set and track DEI goals; a land acknowledgement on the DEI webpage that “recognizes and respects Indigenous Peoples as traditional stewards” of the land Americans call their own; extensive professional development for faculty and staff, including a popular DEI certificate program; the creation of a neurodiversity taskforce; U Good FAM, a network of Rowan faculty and staff that fosters and advances the mental health and emotional well-being among self-identified students of color; and the creation of the Law Enforcement and Community Collaborative, which engages Rowan faculty and staff with law enforcement professionals on DEI issues and professional development.

Shealey, who this summer was named one of New Jersey’s “most influential DEI leaders” by the magazine ROI-NJ, said the HEED award is further recognition of Rowan’s commitment to building a community where everyone feels welcome.

“Since the launch of our division in 2019, we have been actively engaged in developing systems and structures that support the sustainability of our DEI efforts,” Shealey said. “Receiving the HEED Award reaffirms that our transformative work has the potential to serve as a model for other institutions across the country.”

HEED Award recipients in 2021 include Swarthmore College, Columbia University, Clemson University and Texas A&M.

Shealey said Rowan will receive a formal letter this month from INSIGHT into Diversity announcing the award and that all recipients will be recognized in the magazine’s November issue.