9-16-2014: GTC receives national diversity award

Greenville Technical College today received the 2014 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 annual HEED Award—a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion — GTC will be featured along with 82 other recipients in INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine’s November 2014 issue.

“We have worked hard to create a college culture that reflects genuine appreciation for diversity and inclusion,” said Dr. Keith Miller, president of Greenville Technical College. “This award, which is based on a very thorough application process, recognizes the progress we have made, and receiving it is a great honor.”

In September 2012, a 14-member task force was formed to take Greenville Technical College’s commitment to diversity to a higher level. Juan Johnson, senior fellow and facilitator for the Diversity Leaders Initiative in the Riley Institute at Furman University, served as consultant to the group. The task force conducted a situational analysis, identifying gaps, and developing a Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan to address those gaps.

During this time, Wendy Walden was named Associate Vice President of Executive Affairs at the college with responsibility for leading implementation of a strategic diversity plan, among other duties. She established a college-wide Diversity & Inclusion Employee Council to assist with implementing the plan and brought together an outside Diversity Board of community leaders to provide guidance. Currently, she is developing a Student Diversity Council as a third tier in the intentional improvement of diversity and inclusion at the college.
Based on goals outlined in the strategic plan, the college implemented a carefully planned diversity training program through which 90 percent of all college employees have completed Civil Treatment Training. The training, aimed at teaching participants to treat each other respectfully and inclusively, is offered by Employment Learning Innovations, Inc., a company based in Atlanta.

“We hope the HEED award serves as a way to honor those institutions of higher education that recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion as part of their everyday campus culture,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

The 83 recipients of 2014 HEED awards included Cornell University, Cuyahoga Community College, Georgia Institute of Technology, Northern Virginia Community College, and University of South Carolina.
Past winners have included Community College of Alleghany County, Emory University, Moraine Valley Community College, Princeton University, University of Virginia, and many other institutions.