Stetson College of Law receives 2021 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award
Stetson University College of Law received the 2021 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.
The magazine selected Stetson Law for its inclusive curriculum initiatives, including in Criminal Law and Research and Writing courses; Americans with Disabilities Act initiatives, such as the creation of the Disability Allied Law Student Association; and development efforts focused on diversity scholarship fundraising and alumni engagement.
“We are thrilled to be recognized for the second year in a row for our ongoing efforts to foster an inclusive community where everyone is expected to lead with respect, compassion and professionalism,” said Dean Michèle Alexandre. “We are committed to the university-wide work of meaningful inclusionary practices among students, faculty and staff, regardless of the national recognition, but the HEED Award offers encouragement for continuing to lead by example in this important area.”
As a recipient of the annual HEED Award — a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges, universities and professional schools that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion — Stetson Law will be featured in the November 2021 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.
“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 done every day across their campus.”
Last year, Stetson Law was recognized for concentrated efforts, among others, to recruit and retain historically underrepresented and first-generation students through a pre-law pipeline program that included mentorship throughout their academic career and specialized fundraising to ensure they had the financial wherewithal to complete law school.
Stetson Law continued to build on those efforts, this year adding greater focus on diversity scholarship fundraising and alumni engagement. Additionally, College of Law faculty leaders thoughtfully updated specific portions of their curriculum to integrate race and the law in course materials for Criminal Law and Legal Writing & Research courses – classes that all first-year law students are required to take.
“I am thrilled for this recognition and lift up of our faculty colleagues who collaborated to integrate race and the law in the research and writing and criminal law curriculum,” said Professor Lance Long, co-chair of the Stetson University College of Law Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
Orientation for all new students, including transfer and visiting students, features two separate training and community standards sessions on cultural competence. Last, but not least, the Accessibility Resource Office expanded its work to provide reasonable and effective accommodations or testing modifications, as well as monitored campus compliance with disability rights laws.
“We are so proud of this recognition, which comes just as we are putting the finishing touches on a two-year plan of action to tackle even greater initiatives at both Stetson University and the College of Law,” said Carmen Johnson, Stetson University’s executive officer for Diversity, Collaboration and Inclusion. “This is a galvanizing reminder that we are headed in the right direction and gives us additional motivation for the collaborative work ahead.”
For more information about the 2021 HEED Award, visit insightintodiversity.com.
For more information about Stetson University College of Law, visit stetson.edu/law.
Contact: Ashley McKnight-Taylor