Texas Tech University

A Decade of Excellence: Texas Tech Earns HEED Award for 10th Straight Year

George Watson

September 23, 2021

The university also earned designation as a Diversity Champion for the sixth time.

Texas Tech University's growth over the last decade in ensuring opportunities for underrepresented students seeking a college degree has led to numerous designations and achievements. One of the most prestigious is being named a top university in the U.S. for diversity and inclusion efforts.

For the 10th straight year, INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine has named Texas Tech a Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) winner, and for the sixth time Texas Tech was named a Diversity Champion. Texas Tech has earned both honors in each year they've been awarded by the magazine and is one of just seven schools to be named a 10-time HEED award winner.


Presented each year by the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education, these honors recognize U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. Texas Tech is featured, along with 101 other recipients, in the November 2021 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

“Texas Tech is better able to recruit and retain students, faculty and staff when we provide an environment that is supportive and inclusive,” said Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec. “It is gratifying to be recognized for those efforts.”

The HEED Award recognizes colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion through initiatives, programs and outreach; student recruitment, retention and completion; and hiring practices for faculty and staff. The award's comprehensive application process takes into account factors relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees and continued leadership support for diversity and inclusion initiatives throughout the university.

The HEED Award is the only national award that honors individual institutions for prioritizing diversity and inclusion throughout their campuses.

Since 2016, top-tier HEED Award recipients also receive recognition as Diversity Champions. These recipients serve as role models of excellence for other institutions by setting the standard for thousands of other campus communities striving for diversity and inclusion. Diversity Champion schools exceed everyday expectations, often eclipsing their own goals.

“We couldn't be more proud to be one of the seven institutions in the country to have earned this distinction for 10 consecutive years,” said Carol Sumner, chief diversity officer and vice president of the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DDEI). “We have continued to challenge ourselves to do more, extend our reach and leverage each year's efforts as building blocks for the next. Texas Tech remains committed to fostering a welcoming, diverse, supportive and inclusive campus community.”

DDEI includes 12 divisional units that strive to increase programming and services in all areas of diversity, with programs that support students across race and ethnicity, gender, first-generation status, veteran status, the LGBTQIA community and people with disabilities. The division has created an environment conducive to the development of professional skills, individual creativity, personal excellence and social awareness for all students, faculty and staff.

Most recently, DDEI celebrated a week honoring Hispanic-Serving Institutions, of which Texas Tech is one, with a week-long series of events that also kicked off Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month.

This summer, Texas Tech earned a spot in the 2021 Military Times' Best for Vets: Colleges Rankings for the ninth straight year. Additionally, Texas Tech's Military & Veterans Programs (MVP), a unit within DDEI, recently introduced a new graduation cord for military dependents to wear during graduation ceremonies. The new cord can be worn by family members such as spouses and children.

Each year, DDEI and the Office of the President present the President's Excellence in Diversity and Equity Awards to honor the commitment of those who advance diversity and promote equity and inclusion excellence at Texas Tech.

The President's Excellence in Diversity & Equity Award recognizes individual contributions to academic activities, inclusive environments and programs that enhance Texas Tech's institutional culture. The President's Excellence in Gender Equity Award recognizes faculty and staff for their substantial contributions to activities and programs that advance the academic and professional climate of gender equity at the university.

In June, Texas Tech was one of 12 First-gen Forward institutions elevated to Advisory Institution status by the Center for First-generation Student Success and The Suder Foundation. The designation recognizes higher education institutions that are committed to improving and advancing the experiences and outcomes of first-generation college students.

To learn more about the university's diversity, equity and inclusion programs and initiatives, visit the DDEI website.

About INSIGHT Into Diversity

In addition to an online job board, INSIGHT Into Diversity presents timely, thought-provoking news and feature stories on matters of diversity and inclusion across higher education and beyond. Articles include interviews with innovators and experts as well as profiles of best practices and exemplary programs. Readers also will discover career opportunities that connect job seekers with institutions and businesses that embrace a diverse and inclusive workforce. Current, archived and digital issues of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine are available online at insightintodiversity.com.