PALO ALTO UNIVERSITY RECEIVES INSIGHT INTO DIVERSITY 2013 HIGHER EDUCATION EXCELLENCE IN DIVERSITY (HEED) AWARD
PAU’s Diversity Training for Faculty, Staff and Recruitment of Diverse Student Body Contribute to Winning this Award
Palo Alto, Calif. (November 7, 2013)—Today, Palo Alto University (PAU), a private non-profit higher education institution, received the 2013 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine and is featured in the November 2013 issue. This national award recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. PAU was selected based on its exemplary diversity and inclusion initiatives, and its ability to embrace a broad definition of diversity on campus, including gender, race, ethnicity, veterans, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBT community.
In 2005, President Calvin and PAU’s Board of Trustees deemed it important to formalize the PAU’s longstanding commitment to diversity. The Board asked the University’s CFO, June Klein, Ed.D., and its Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Leonard Beckum, Ph.D., who was then a Board member, to plan for a more systematic and formal implementation of diversity at PAU. One year later, the PAU Diversity Committee was formed, comprised of African American, Asian, Hispanic, Caucasian and LGBT representatives from PAU’s faculty, staff and student populations and chaired by PAU’s Lynn C. Waelde, Ph.D.
Dr. Beckum attributes the diversity program’s success in large part to PAU’s adoption of three guiding principles. “We knew that in order for this initiative to be successful, three things needed to happen,” says Dr. Beckum. “The committee needed to report directly to the President, we had to get the faculty’s ‘buy-in’ and make sure they approved all the planning, training, and implementation of the program, and last, we needed to continuously implement efforts to recruit under-represented faculty, students and staff. We hope to share our best-practices with other universities seeking to improve diversity in their academic and administrative settings.”
“I am incredibly proud of Dr. Waelde’s leadership and for the strategic planning by Dr. Beckum and Dr. Klein when forming the committee,” said Allen Calvin, Ph.D., President of PAU. “PAU has always been committed to diversity as reflected in the faculty and staff we hire, but Dr. Waelde and her team have enabled us to integrate this further into the coursework we offer to students and the training we deliver to all our employees.”
On the administrative side, PAU’s Provost, William Froming, Ph.D., supports training for faculty every two years regarding how to meet cultural competencies in their courses as well as biannual training on how to do a cultural clinical formulation. “We’ve made diversity education a priority for all PAU faculty and staff,” adds Provost Froming, “and for our students too.”
On the academic side, diversity is integrated throughout PAU’s curriculum for university degree programs and competencies are assessed in coursework, practicum training, on exams, internships and research. “Our students come away with an understanding of diversity issues that is rarely seen at other institutions,” says Dr. Waelde.
PAU also has an aggressive recruitment program to attract a diverse student body. Through PAU’s Admissions Office, PAU’s Diversity Committee has implemented a systematic program for outreach to diverse potential students through graduate recruitment fairs and fellowship offerings.
“Of the 56 schools chosen nationwide, PAU is one of just two San Francisco Bay Area-based universities selected,” notes Megan O’Mahony, PAU’s Director of Advancement who spearheaded the HEED application process for the university. “And PAU is one of just eight private universities nationwide to earn this award. This is quite an accomplishment and really reflects PAU’s commitment toward diversity.” The only other California-based recipients of the 2013 HEED award were Alliant International University; California State University Los Angeles; San Diego State University; University of California, San Francisco; and University of California, Santa Barbara.
“We hope the HEED award serves as a way to honor those institutions of higher education that recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion as part of their everyday campus culture,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.