CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has received a national award for the fourth straight year that honors colleges and universities for having a campus culture committed to diversity and inclusion.

Oregon State was one of two institutions in Oregon and one of only three Pacific Northwest institutions and 101 nationally to receive the 2021 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

“Oregon State University is committed to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the university and addressing racism within OSU and higher education,” said Interim President Becky Johnson. “We are very pleased that our efforts to advance a welcoming environment and success for all students have been recognized for a fourth straight year. We know there is more work to do, and OSU is committed to continue progress in these efforts.”

The University of Oregon and Central Washington University are the other Pacific Northwest universities to receive the award this year.

Many initiatives related to diversity, equity and inclusion are underway at OSU. These include:

  • Moving Forward Together, a presidential initiative launched last year that focuses on rapidly advancing anti-racist initiatives at OSU. It has already led to many changes, including:
    • Launching the President’s Commission on the Status of Black Faculty and Staff Affairs, which is charged with advocating for the well-being and success of Oregon State faculty and staff who identify as Black or of African heritage or descent.
    • Creating a Racism and Antiracism Curriculum Task Force comprised of faculty, students and academic leaders that review and recommend changes to advance antiracism principles in the university’s curriculum.
    • Hiring two coordinators of Black and African-American student mental health and wellness to support the success of students through Counseling & Psychological Services’ consultation, outreach, programming and advocacy. A national search for a coordinator of Indigenous student mental health and wellness has also been launched.
  • A Pre-Doctoral Scholars Program, a collaboration between the Office of Institutional Diversity, the Office of Faculty Affairs, colleges and faculty mentors, is focused on developing pipelines into OSU for faculty focused on advancing diversity, equity and inclusion. During the first cohort of the weeklong program this summer, OSU faculty mentors from the Colleges of Agricultural Sciences and College of Liberal Arts hosted scholars from Cornell University, Morgan State University, North Carolina State University and Purdue University.
  • The OSU-Cascades campus is engaged in advancing equity and inclusion initiatives, including the launch of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Lab. Erika McCalpine serves as the inaugural executive director of strategic diversity initiatives on the Bend campus, and a multicultural center at OSU-Cascades will be located in a new student success center to be opened in the 2023-24 academic year.
  • Conference on Anti-Racist Teaching, Language and Assessment, a free, online conference that allows secondary and college-level educators nationally to learn about advancing antiracist teaching practices and connect with community members working to implement those practices. The conference takes place in September and October and is hosted by OSU’s School of Writing, Literature and Film in collaboration with the newly established Asao and Kelly Inoue Antiracist Teaching Endowment within the College of Liberal Arts. More than 3,500 people registered for the conference this year, drawing attendance from at least 36 states and three other countries.

“Motivated by calls for racial and social justice, and aligned with the university’s strategic plan, the Oregon State University community made rapid and impressive progress to advance inclusive excellence over the last year,” said Scott Vignos, interim vice president and chief diversity officer at OSU, “The many efforts of OSU’s students, faculty, staff, volunteers and stakeholders to create access, belonging and success are recognized by this year’s HEED Award. We’re honored to receive this recognition and look forward to continuing this important work.”

As a recipient of the HEED Award, Oregon State will be featured, along with 100 other recipients, in the November issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused national publication in 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 – as well as 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 campus.”

General OSU

About Oregon State University: As one of only three land, sea, space and sun grant universities in the nation, Oregon State serves Oregon and the world by working on today’s most pressing issues. Our more than 36,000 students come from across the globe, and our programs operate in every Oregon county. Oregon State receives more research funding than all of the state’s comprehensive public universities combined. At our campuses in Corvallis and Bend, marine research center in Newport, OSU Portland Center and award-winning Ecampus, we excel at shaping today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders.

Story By: 

Sean Nealon, 541-737-0787, [email protected]


Scott Vignos, 541-737-4113, [email protected]


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