Texas Tech University

Texas Tech Named Diversity Champion, Receives Seventh Consecutive HEED Award

Amanda Castro-Crist

September 19, 2018

Given annually by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the accolades recognize colleges and universities for outstanding diversity and inclusion efforts across their campuses.

Texas Tech University continues to be a leader in diversity and inclusivity, earning a seventh consecutive Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award and its third consecutive recognition as a Diversity Champion. The accolades are presented annually by INSIGHT Into Diversity, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

As a recipient of the annual HEED Award, Texas Tech is one of 95 winners that will be featured in the November 2018 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.


“Texas Tech is committed to educating and empowering a diverse community of students, faculty and staff by providing the services and resources they each need to be successful,” said Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec. “I look forward to working with our new vice president, Carol Sumner, her staff in the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DDEI) and all students, faculty and staff as we continue to promote and foster a diverse and inclusive environment for the university community.”

Texas Tech has received the HEED Award every year since its inception in 2012. Institutions receiving the award feature innovative and impactful diversity and inclusion programs, initiatives, policies and practices that make a campus a welcoming and diverse place to work, study and thrive for students and employees.

“It is an incredible honor that Texas Tech University would continue to be recognized in such a way,” said Sumner, who began serving as vice president of DDEI on June 18. “The fact that this distinction has been awarded to the university consistently for seven years is a statement to our Texas Tech community. It reflects our genuine commitment to inclusive practices and increasing and celebrating our diverse community, while focusing on our practices to ensure equity.”

In 2016, the magazine began recognizing institutions in the top tier of HEED Award recipients as Diversity Champions. Known for visionary leadership, Diversity Champions are institutions that serve as role models and set the standard for thousands of other U.S. college campuses striving for inclusive excellence. Texas Tech has received the award every year since its inception for exemplifying an unyielding commitment to diversity and inclusion throughout campus communities, across academic programs and at the highest administrative levels.

Working collaboratively with other campus and community groups, DDEI provides services and resources for an increasingly diverse community of faculty, staff and students to provide an environment in which they can develop professional skills, individual creativity, personal excellence and social awareness.

Initiatives like the Institute for Inclusive Excellence, a partnership between DDEI and the Teaching Learning & Professional Development Center (TLPDC), provide opportunities for faculty and staff participants to consider inclusive pedagogies and best practices in the classroom and university settings. The TLPDC also hosts New Faculty Orientation, a workshop series on the academic and professional climate at Texas Tech. 

In fall 2017, the university met the enrollment criteria to qualify as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, with 27.8 percent of undergraduate students identifying as Hispanic. That semester, DDEI also was awarded a five-year Ronald McNair Post-Baccalaureate Scholars Program Grant, which provides graduate school preparatory services for students from historically underrepresented groups.

This spring, Texas Tech hosted its inaugural “I'm First-Gen” Summit, aimed at promoting access in higher education for first-generation college students and was the site of the first Big 12 LGBTQIA Summit. The latter brought together universities from the Big 12 and beyond to acknowledge the need for representation of LGBTQIA issues in higher education.

“Texas Tech is a place that doesn't live to brag about its accomplishments,” Sumner said. “However, when it comes to our students, faculty and staff, we won't be shy. There are plenty of points of pride. This ranks among the top because it is through their efforts that this recognition is possible. It's what makes Texas Tech special and what will continue to be an uncompromising principle. All who choose to call Texas Tech home will be valued for who they are, for what they bring and for their contributions to the Texas Tech and greater Lubbock communities. Texas Tech is a great place made better because they were here.”

DDEI continues to expand services and resources within an ever-broadening definition of diversity on campus, which includes, among other areas of diversity, race and ethnicity, gender, age, veteran status, the LGBTQIA community and people with disabilities.

Texas Tech has earned several additional accolades for these efforts, including a 4.5-star rating on the 2018 Campus Pride Index for its work on LGBTQIA inclusivity and recognition as a top-10 Military Friendly School, a top-10 most affordable college for students with disabilities and a top university for international students.

The division includes 12 units:

For more information about the HEED Award, including a full list of recipients, visit the INSIGHT Into Diversity website.

For more information about the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, visit the website.