Michigan Tech Receives Diversity Award for Second Year

By Jennifer Donovan | Published

Orientation team leaders learn and teach cultural awareness.
Orientation team leaders learn and teach cultural awareness.

For the second year, Michigan Technological University has been recognized nationally for its efforts to create a more diverse and inclusive campus. Michigan Tech received the 2013 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, one of only 55 universities honored.

The University will be featured with other award recipients in the magazine’s November issue.

Michigan Tech received the HEED award because of a number of initiatives. Several are described below:

  • Michigan Tech is actively working to increase the number of highly qualified women students who enroll. Historically, women have been underrepresented, but dramatic strides have been made especially in the College of Engineering, which reflected an all-time high of 906 women this semester. Fall 2013 overall enrollment numbers indicate that females now represent 26 percent of the entire student body. The University’s goal is to increase the number of women students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics areas to 35 percent by 2020.
  • Michigan Tech is committed to continuing to improve the environment on campus through a number of educational initiatives for faculty, staff and students. A bias literacy class is mandatory for faculty who participate on a hiring search committee.
  • Cultural competency training for student leaders (Orientation team leaders, residence assistants, etc.) makes students aware of their own attitude and behavior and encourages them to address their own biases in order to influence others. Topics include diversity, intercultural communication, power and privilege, and conflict management.

"Students learn to be change agents for the University, taking the lead to educate others and be an example," said Shezwae Fleming, director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. "That way, these students can continue to encourage an open culture on campus, setting a high standard for inclusion. Our efforts are truly campus wide and show the commitment the University has to enriching our campus environment."

Jill Hodges, director of the Office of Institutional Equity, said: "Our newly formed University Diversity Council, along with the work of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, enables all faculty, staff and students to continue to benefit from complex considerations of difference and to deepen understandings of the value of relationships forged through diversity work."

Fleming added, "The fact that we received this award for a second year indicates that we are making significant progress to make Michigan Tech a rich place to learn for all people."

The INSIGHT Into Diversity award is open to all colleges and universities throughout the US and measures an institution’s achievements and commitment to broaden diversity and inclusion on campus.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.