By Laurie Kaiser
Over the years, Buffalo State has woven several diversity initiatives into the fabric of the campus. These efforts have garnered national recognition for the college, including, most recently, the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.
This is the sixth time that Buffalo State has been named a HEED recipient. INSIGHT Into Diversity is the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. The annual award recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Buffalo State will be featured, along with 95 other recipients, in the November 2018 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity. “At Buffalo State, we not only recognize the many facets of diversity we also celebrate them on a regular basis,” said Buffalo State President Katherine Conway-Turner. “Receiving the HEED award confirms what we already know—that Buffalo State is committed to being a place of inclusion, tolerance, and open-mindedness for our students, our faculty, and our staff. From thought-provoking film and discussion series to student-focused workshops, Buffalo State offers a number of exciting and unique initiatives that promote a diverse campus environment.”
Buffalo State initiatives that celebrate diversity in and out classroom include the Diversity Dialogue Speakers Series; the “I Love Consent” campaign; the Anne Frank Project, an annual two-day social justice festival; and the Beyond Boundaries Dare to Be Diverse film series. The newest addition is the Diversity Fellows program in which two minority doctoral candidates teach a class in their respective disciplines while completing their degrees.
Buffalo State also participates in numerous community partnerships through service-learning programs, the Global Book Project, and the Community Academic Center. Many of these community partners assist underserved populations, including
immigrants and refugees. “We encourage new ways of thinking about diversity,” said Karen A. Clinton Jones, Buffalo State’s chief diversity officer and director of the Equity and Campus Diversity Office. “From offering students service-learning opportunities to awarding minigrants to faculty that fund projects, workshops, and activities that have an institutional impact and support diversity, we ensure that our initiatives reflect our urban-engaged campus.”
Almost half of Buffalo State’s undergraduate enrollment is minority, while underrepresented groups make up about 20 percent of full-time faculty and staff. “The HEED Award process consists of a comprehensive and rigorous application that includes questions relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees—and best practices for both—continued leadership support for diversity, and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “We take a detailed approach to reviewing each application in deciding who will be named a HEED Award recipient. Our standards are high, and we look for institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being accomplished every day across their campus.”