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Salem State Receives 2017 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award

Salem State One of Two Universities in Massachusetts to Receive Award

INSIGHT into Diversity magazine has awarded Salem State University with the 2017 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.

As a recipient of the annual HEED Award, Salem State will be featured, along with 79 other recipients, in the November 2017 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. Salem State is one of two recipients of this award in Massachusetts.

“We know that being a welcoming campus is crucial to allowing students to learn and grow to their full potential. Our faculty, staff and administrators have been unwavering in their efforts build an inclusive environment,” said John Keenan, president of Salem State. “We’re honored to have these successes recognized by this award, and we also know that striving for the highest level of inclusivity takes ongoing work and commitment, which we’ll continue working together to provide.”

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine selected Salem State for its commitment to diversity and inclusion in every aspect of the university, from its recruitment efforts, to its academic offerings, to addressing issues of social justice and advocacy on and off campus.

“Salem State is proud to be the most diverse state university in the Commonwealth. We have been focusing our efforts on promoting inclusion, diversity, and acceptance throughout our campus and will continue striving to make our campus as welcoming as possible to all students, faculty, and staff,” said Lisa McBride, PhD, vice president of inclusive excellence at Salem State. “We also recognize that the historical exclusion and marginalization of specific individuals must be addressed to promote equity.”

In August 2016, Salem State hired an inaugural vice president of diversity and inclusion, now the vice president for inclusive excellence. The university also launched a campus climate study last year to capture the thoughts and experiences of members of the campus community. The study’s results will be distributed to campus in the coming months and discussions regarding the results will be held on campus. Along with the study, McBride in conjunction with the provost’s office have launched efforts to increase the number of faculty members of color by partnering with the Institute on Teaching and Mentoring—which is the largest gathering of minority PhD scholars in the country designed to provide workshops, recruitment and networking opportunities to give PhD scholars the tools to enter higher education.

“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. We take a holistic 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 a campus,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

For more information about the 2017 HEED Award, visit

Kimberly Burnett
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