Stockton University Awarded National Honor for Diversity, Inclusion

Sep 07, 2016

Stockton University has been selected as one of 83 U.S. colleges and universities to receive the 2016 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award for its successful endeavors to expand the diversity of its students, faculty and staff and to offer educational, economic and cultural support to diverse students. The national honor comes from INSIGHT Into Diversity, the oldest and largest diversity-directed publication in higher education. Stockton will be among those highlighted in the magazine’s November issue.

“Stockton is extremely honored to receive this award recognizing the university’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, which are among the institution’s most cherished and deeply held principles,” stated President Harvey Kesselman, who received INSIGHT’s 2016 Giving Back Award this year. “Since our founding, Stockton has always valued differences and promoted mutual respect, fairness, community outreach and the open exchange of ideas.”

According to Lenore Pearlstein, INSIGHT publisher, the award process involves an extensive application, including questions regarding the recruitment and retention of students and employees as well as best practices and ongoing leadership support for diversity.

“Our standards are high, and we look for institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being accomplished every day across their campus,” she stated.

During the past five years, Stockton has increased the diversity of its administrative leadership team to 20 percent, with 56 percent of those in leadership positions being women, according to Valerie Hayes, Stockton’s Institutional Diversity and Equity chief officer. She noted the school’s racial and ethnic diversity has also increased 16 percent for both full-time non-tenured faculty and women full-time non-tenured faculty. Of course, she said, she’s aware that further actions must take place to continue to expand the applicant pools.

Hayes noted the university has also increased the number of women faculty in the science technology, engineering and mathematics field by over 16 percent as well as funding for a STEM collaborative to improve the pipeline between Stockton and talented STEM students, especially individuals from traditionally underrepresented groups.

During a five-year period, she added, the diversity of full-time staff has increased by over 16 percent, with male- and female-identified staff split 50/50. The university hired more than 1,120 full-time faculty and staff in 2015-16.

“Under President Kesselman’s leadership, Stockton has strengthened its system of shared governance, which is perfect for diversity and inclusion work,” Hayes said, noting diversity goals are rooted in the school’s budget, including campus-wide diversity incentive grants, scholarships and a diversity-themed alumni fundraising program.

She also noted the school has two affirmative action plans focusing on the inclusion of women, racial/ethnic minorities as defined by the federal government, and veterans as well as individuals with disabilities in Stockton’s workforce. A steering committee of faculty and staff helps ensure the campus is accessible. The school’s Diversity Committee, led by faculty, staff and students, also supports campus diversity and inclusion efforts by addressing race, sex and gender identity matters that arise on campus. —K.A.E.

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