Stetson University College of Law received the 2020 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. 

As a recipient of the annual HEED Award — the only national honor recognizing U.S. colleges, universities and professional schools for outstanding diversity and inclusion efforts across their campuses — Stetson Law will be featured, along with other recipients, in the November 2020 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

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Michèle Alexandre

“At Stetson Law, we are committed to the work being undertaken here and university-wide to implement meaningful inclusionary practices among students, faculty and staff, and to continuing to foster an inclusive community where everyone is expected to lead with humanity and professionalism,” said Dean Michèle Alexandre. “So, we could not be more thrilled that our efforts thus far have been recognized nationally.”

Why Stetson Law

INSIGHT Into Diversity selected Stetson Law — one of only two law schools to receive the award this year — for increasing the diversity and representation of student and staff/tenured faculty communities, increasing the reach and structure of campus-wide diversity and cultural competence education and resources, and expanding the reach of its social justice advocacy program and initiatives to emphasize the importance of social justice in all that they do.

Stetson College of Law exterior buildings in Spanish Colonial style
Stetson’s College of Law

“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, co-publisher of the 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 done every day across their campus.”

Key Initiatives

Carmen Johnson

Specifically, Stetson Law accomplished the implementation of a concentrated effort to recruit and retain historically underrepresented and first-generation students through a pre-law pipeline program, personalized support and mentorship throughout their academic career, and specialized fundraising efforts for scholarships and endowments to ensure they have the financial wherewithal to complete law school. Also, Stetson Law launched an Inclusive Hiring Strategic Plan to provide a transparent framework to broaden the college’s continued advancements in increasing diversity and representation among faculty and staff.

“We are passionate about this work and have emphasized the importance of analyzing the impact of our inclusion and equity efforts to ensure we are accomplishing our action plans with intention and consistency,” said Carmen Johnson, co-chair of Stetson Law’s Diversity Committee and director of Diversity Initiatives and Recruitment. “Our Stetson Law community should be proud of this recognition and let it serve as inspiration to reinforce our long-term commitment to our goals.”

-Ashley McKnight-Taylor