Kennesaw State honored for excellence in diversity and inclusion

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University is among INSIGHT into Diversity magazine’s 2015 HEED Award recipients KENNESAW, Ga…

Georgia (Sep 15, 2015)University is among INSIGHT into Diversity magazine’s 2015 HEED Award recipients

KENNESAW, Ga. (Sept. 15, 2015)Kennesaw State University has been selected as a recipient of the 2015 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

As a recipient of the only national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate “an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion,” Kennesaw State will be featured along with 91 other recipients in the magazine’s November 2015 issue.

“Kennesaw State has been working hard at diversity and inclusion initiatives for many years, and now it’s nice to be recognized for innovative programs and services and for the University’s commitment to becoming a national model of diversity and inclusion for metropolitan comprehensive universities,” said Erik Malewski, Kennesaw State’s chief diversity officer.

An assessment of Kennesaw State’s campuses in Kennesaw and Marietta during 2014 and 2015—the first of its kind on either campus—revealed that a large majority of students, faculty and staff on both campuses felt positive about the University’s overall climate.For example, 83 percent of those surveyed at the Kennesaw campus, and 75 percent of those at the Marietta campus, said they were “comfortable or very comfortable” with the overall climate.

Malewski said the use of the climate assessment to drive department- and office-level action planning is among several factors contributing to Kennesaw State’s innovation in diversity and inclusion. He noted the addition of six new diversity fellows positions for faculty who will conduct research and develop programs that ensure faculty, staff and student inclusion and support. In addition, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion has implemented diversity forums, an interpersonal violence prevention initiative, bias-motivated incident reporting, Presidential Diversity Awards, and From These Arches, a historical collection of the untold stories and narratives of individuals who form part of KSU’s diverse community.

With more than 33 percent underrepresented minorities among its student body, Kennesaw State’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion relies on input from six presidential commissions that advise the administration on diversity issues and policies. Faculty, students and staff compose the commissions, which address racial and ethnic dialogue; disability strategies and resources; gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and questioning initiatives; gender and work life issues; and sustainability and veterans affairs.

Kennesaw State was cited for its approach to diversity and inclusion, which positions those institutional goals as a function of “offering a premier, personalized educational experience for leadership and engagement within a diverse nation and world,” according to the University’s diversity statement.

“There is a very strong connection between Kennesaw State’s diversity goals and its academic mission,” Malewski said. “We strongly believe that sensitivity to diversity, equity, and global interdependence is central to fostering supportive living, learning, and working environments. Creating a welcoming and inclusive climate helps assure that the University attains its goals for research, scholarship, teaching and engagement.”

Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity, said the magazine takes a holistic approach to reviewing applications to determine HEED Award recipients.

“The 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,” Pearlstein said. “Our standards are high, and we look for institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being accomplished every day acrossa campus.”                                                

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering nearly 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive university with more than 33,000 students from over 130 countries. In January 2015, Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic State University consolidated to create one of the 50 largest public universities in the country. 

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine is the largest and oldest diversity publication in higher education. Its annual Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award is the only award recognizing colleges and universities for outstanding diversity and inclusion efforts across their campuses. In addition to its 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. Current, archived and digital issues of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine are available online at



A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit