Dr. James Jackson received a C in geography, but history put him on the map.
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is among 96 colleges and universities to earn the 2018 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award.
Award recipients were announced recently by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. It is the largest diversity magazine and website in higher education.
The publication evaluated colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada for bolstering diversity and inclusion. Recruitment and campus leadership were also considered.
“The honor recognizes a University-wide focus on providing underrepresented groups equal access to educational opportunities and resources,” said Dr. Taniecea Mallery, UL Lafayette’s director of Equity, Diversity and Community Engagement.
An example: The University launched the Louisiana Educate Program this semester to help academically-gifted, lower-income students stay in college. Students accepted into the program receive financial assistance with tuition and fees, housing, and books and supplies. It is funded by private gifts and supplemental grants from the University, said Dr. DeWayne Bowie, vice president for Enrollment Management at UL Lafayette.
The Office for Campus Diversity also started a “Courageous Conversations” series. Mallery said the talks are intended to encourage discussions. “Faculty and staff members gather to share experiences and ideas to enhance diversity and inclusion,” she said.
She also cited University campus organizations such as the Black Faculty and Staff Association and Project ALLIES, an acronym for Alliance Linking Leaders in Education and Services. Project ALLIES is a network of students, faculty and staff members who work to foster a campus-wide culture of acceptance and respect for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The University’s Office for Campus Diversity also hosts a range of programs geared toward promoting inclusion.
The annual Women’s Leadership Conference, for instance, brings together community leaders from education, business and nonprofits who direct workshops and breakout sessions that focus on topics such as empowerment, leadership and networking.
This isn’t the first time the University has been recognized for diversity efforts.
In a report released last year by the Brookings Institution, the University was named a national leader for providing access to higher education for lower-income students.
The nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, D.C., ranked UL Lafayette No. 9 among four-year, public universities in the U.S. for promoting social mobility.
The Brookings Institution evaluated 342 schools with selective admissions for the report. It recognized those which “manage to simultaneously produce important research while extending social opportunity to students from underprivileged backgrounds.”
In December 2015, the Education Trust ranked UL Lafayette No. 26 in the U.S. – and first in Louisiana – for its progress in improving graduation rates for minority students.
Learn more about diversity and inclusion at the University.
Photo: Dr. Taniecea Mallery, UL Lafayette’s director of Equity, Diversity and Community Engagement. Credit: Doug Dugas/University of Louisiana at Lafayette