UVA School of Nursing has been honored by a national magazine for its “outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.”
For the first time, UVA School of Nursing earned the Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity, a monthly online magazine focused on diversity issues in higher education. UVA School of Nursing is one of 35 health-focused institutions to receive the 2018 award, a list that also includes the UVA School of Medicine.
1/3+More than a third of nursing students hail from under-represented groups, including men and first-generation students.
“The HEED Award is truly an honor,” said Dean Dorrie K. Fontaine, “and acknowledges the comprehensive, deliberate and strategic approach our school has taken in this important domain. From admissions to hiring, clinicials to curricula, everything we do is examined through this important lens.”
Since establishing the Initiative on Diversity, Inclusion and Excellence Achievement (IDEA) in 2014, the School has shifted its recruitment, admissions and retention strategies to welcome more under-represented and first generation applicants, established affinity groups for students of color, initiated expansive diversity training for faculty and staff, and urged professors to incorporate diverse perspectives and inclusive content into their courses. While faculty and graduate teaching assistants attend trainings across a variety of diversity-related topics, all nursing students also take part in cultural humility training, and a plethora of regular activities – from classes, simulations, lectures, and other experiential learning opportunities – that drive the message of inclusivity home.
Given the School’s “success for all” model, and a rich variety of tutoring and course support, UVA Nursing students across the board are well-mentored during their tenures. Additionally, specially-trained Faculty and Staff Allies offer support to underrepresented students as they navigate a historically white and predominantly heterosexual institution. As a result, nearly 100 percent of students across all racial and ethnic group categories graduate from UVA Nursing’s many programs, and a growing array of minority and other students under-represented in nursing are applying and accepting admission at UVA. For 2018, nearly a third of enrolled students are from groups under-represented in nursing, and more than 17 percent are male.
The School has also declared the recruitment and retention of faculty members from diverse backgrounds a key priority, an effort that’s informed everything from its inclusivity statement in position descriptions and advertising strategies to its deepening engagement with UVA graduate nursing students of color who are urged to consider teaching and research careers at UVA.
Finally, in fall 2018, the School’s senior leaders took part in an eight-week equity institute delivered by the Center for Race and Equity at the University of Southern California. Through winter 2018 and spring 2019, those lessons will be shared with the balance of faculty and staff through regular trainings and equity projects developed in the institute.
Each year, INSIGHT Into Diversity receives nominations from colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada that seek to illustrate their commitment to broadening diversity through teaching, mentoring, hiring initiatives, student recruitment, retention and outreach. Editorial board members and a HEED Award advisory board review and evaluate all applications for the award, determining those institutions that earn the distinction. The Health Professions HEED Award is the only national award honoring health professions institutions with a core focus on diversity and inclusion.
“So many individuals deserve praise for their part in transforming the culture of our nursing school,” reflected Susan Kools, associate dean for diversity and inclusion. “It truly takes each community member to commit to creating a place of learning where all feel affirmed and respected.”