UC among national universities honored for diversity, inclusion

UC is one of only 92 universities honored by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. In addition to the university award, three colleges — Allied Health Sciences, Nursing and Pharmacy — were also recognized.

October 15, 2019

The University of Cincinnati has been honored with the 2019 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

According to publisher Lenore Pearlstein, the magazine recognizes institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being done every day across their campuses, and only 92 U.S. colleges and universities received the award.

As a HEED winner, UC will be highlighted in the magazine’s November issue. The publication will make note of a new equity and inclusion offering at the university called “Don’t Cancel Class!”

The new program was developed and recently launched by Bleuzette Marshall, vice president of Equity, Inclusion & Community Impact, and Dy’an Marinos, assistant director of the division. For faculty members or instructors who might need to be away from the classroom in order to attend presentations, engage in research or take part in professional development opportunities, “Don’t Cancel Class!” offers an alternative educational experience during the class period when the faculty member is away.

The university Equity & Inclusion training team will instead use the class time to offer educational sessions covering a wide range of topics when faculty and instructors might need to be away. These discipline-specific workshops include activities designed to make learning about diversity, equity and inclusion engaging and informative.

According to UC President Neville Pinto, “Being a HEED Award recipient sparks our desire to be even more innovative and more impactful in our efforts. A great example is our ‘Don’t Cancel Class!’ program… . Through this effort, we are preparing our students to be successful in a global workforce.”

faculty, staff and students to advance equity

Contact Equity & Inclusion if you are interested in the “Don’t Cancel Class!” program.

Marshall agreed, saying, “The new ‘Don’t Cancel Class!’ program is just one of the many integrated efforts among our faculty, staff and students to advance equity, inclusion and our collective community impact. I consider the award as an acknowledgement for all of us involved in collaborative partnerships throughout campus. It’s recognition that we are advancing in providing programs, resources and initiatives that make a difference, foster progress and embrace and support our students, faculty and staff.

This commitment to inclusion and innovation drives UC’s entire strategic direction, Next Lives Here, bridging and integrating each platform and pathway to the others. The ‘Don’t Cancel Class’ initiative and the other advances recognized by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine foster personal and professional development of students as well as other members within the campus community and lay the groundwork for future progress.

In addition to the university’s HEED honors, three UC colleges have just been selected among the recipients for the prestigious INSIGHT Into Diversity Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity awards. The awards recognize those colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.

“On both the university and college levels, it is such an honor that UC and our allied health, nursing and pharmacy programs are nationally recognized for tireless work in providing inclusive opportunities to our students, faculty and staff as they continue to create pathways to develop culturally competent healthcare providers,” stated Vice President Marshall . “Kudos to deans Tina Whalen, Greer Glazer and Neil MacKinnon and the countless members of their respective college communities who constantly advocate for and advance learning, growth and continued success. They demonstrate that together, we can achieve so much.”

College of Allied Health Sciences

This is the first year that the College of Allied Health Sciences has won the HEED Award. Included in the college strategic plan is a goal of fostering a culture of inclusion and community to attract diverse students, faculty and staff, whose knowledge, skill and perspectives enhance their ability to provide health care, education and social services.

“The college, through the implementation of diversity programming, marketing and recruitment, is very intentional in its effort to reach underrepresented, first-generation and under-resourced student populations,” says Tina Whalen, dean. “A major component of our strategic mission is to successfully prepare and develop a more diverse health care workforce positioned to serve a more diverse world.”

CAHS works in partnership with university Admissions to engage in outreach to students in both inner-city public and suburban schools with diverse student populations. Programs and events are offered to welcome and engage students at UC. One example of this is the area of medical terminology. The college has offered a medical terminology course to senior students in the health pathways program at a nearby STEM high school. These students are able to obtain college credit for successful completion of the course while achieving a jump-start in college-level coursework in their areas of medical interest.

In an effort to improve retention and graduation rates for historically underrepresented and first-generation students, the college established the Connections mentorship program which is now in its eighth year.

“Our mentoring program partners underrepresented students in the college with professionals including alumni and community partners in the students’ respective disciplines with a goal of providing academic, social, pre-professional/professional role modeling, job shadowing, networking and support,” says Monica Wilkins, director of diversity initiatives and recruitment for the college. “The program has seen notable success with most of those graduating having been in the program two or more years. We have also seen a growing number of past mentees come back to ‘pay it forward’ as mentors in the program.”

The diversity council at the college is entering its third year and has been very intentional in taking the time to understand what progress has been made and laying the foundation for its priorities. The Global Diversity Inventory Benchmark tool was used to assess where the council perceived the college is in its diversity focus and has identified three key areas of focus moving forward:

  • Transparency in communications
  • Increase equity and inclusion topics in curriculum
  • Exit interviews of graduating students

In addition, the council recommended and established the development of a diversity program inventory which lists all of the diversity-related programs, research, publications and efforts taking place throughout the college. This inventory will be published and shared in various formats with faculty, staff and students and updated annually.

College of Nursing

This is the fifth year in a row the College of Nursing has won the HEED Award.

The college uses extensive recruitment efforts to increase the number of underrepresented and first-generation nursing students. It also works to implement lasting, sustainable initiatives that are expanded over time to increase educational opportunities for talented and diverse students in order to graduate a health care workforce that reflects the diversity of the population in the local urban community. It has established partnerships with several local high schools that serve a large percentage of underrepresented racial/ethnic minorities, economically disadvantaged and rural individuals.

“Our ultimate goal is to improve health care outcomes, reduce health disparities and increase the diversity in the health care workforce,” says Greer Glazer, who has served as dean since 2012. “As the only nursing college to receive this award five times, we are as committed as ever to leading the way in diversity and inclusion within nursing and health care education.”

Under Glazer’s leadership, the college adopted holistic admissions strategies that incorporate personal student characteristics and attributes to augment grade point average and test scores for admissions decisions. The process values intellect, life experiences, motivation and character, which exemplify the core values of the college. Candidates are selected using broad-based admission criteria to create a diverse student body.

Admissions data show that using the holistic admissions process increased ethnicity/race and gender diversity, as well as first-generation college offers. Of applicants who were accepted under the holistic admissions review process, 28 percent would not have received an offer had admissions decisions considered only quantitative data. And the quality metrics for the college remain sound—the average GPA for admitted first-year students is 4.01, while the average ACT score is 26.

The college recently implemented multiple mini interviews as part of its admissions strategies. Multiple mini interviews consist of a series of short, structured interview stations used to assess non-cognitive attributes important for professional success, including ethics, self-awareness, diversity, self-directed learning, communication, collaboration, leadership, critical thinking and situational awareness. This large undertaking involved faculty, staff and community members as raters of over 200 applicants.

The College of Nursing also supports a wide variety of diversity and inclusion efforts outside of the admissions process as well. A Committee for Equity and Inclusive Excellence within the college sponsors several events throughout the year providing awareness and a platform for discussion among college faculty, staff, students and alumni. In addition, the college’s pipeline diversification efforts are represented by such programs as Leadership 2.0 and HealthPath Summer Bridge, which are designed to support underrepresented individuals throughout their education.

The college has among its strategic priorities the effort to “Promote Diversity and Inclusion” in alignment with its vision statement: “Through creative leveraging of technology, innovation and inclusive excellence, the UC College of Nursing will lead the transformation of health care in partnership informed by the people we serve.”

The diversity plan includes goals for increasing the diversity and retention of faculty, staff and students; ensuring cultural competency as a construct throughout the curriculum; and increasing scholarship activities on concerns related to diversity, cultural competence and health disparities.

James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy

This is the second year in a row that the James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy has won the HEED Award. In 2018, the Winkle College was notable as the only college of pharmacy among the HEED recipients.

The college established its diversity council in 2003, inviting faculty, staff and students as well as representatives from retail and industry to participate in order to increase the pipeline of diverse applicants to the college; increase engagement among faculty, staff and students; and explore potential scholarship and other funding opportunities.

Shortly after his arrival, MacKinnon created a new shared position with The Kroger Co. – the  Director of Equity and Inclusion, currently held by Pat Achoe, a Kroger associate for 29 years in clinical pharmacy and pharmacy management. The position is co-funded by Kroger, where Achoe spends part of her time working on diversity training and recruitment. She chairs the college’s Council on Diversity, serves as advisor to the Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) and assists the college in meeting targets related to equity, inclusion and diversity as outlined in the college’s strategic plan, “We Are Pharmacy: Rx for the Future.”

“Our intent at the college,” said Achoe, “Is to develop a culture of inclusion by embracing the differences in our thoughts and ideas and by encouraging collaboration and active involvement with everyone.”

Diversity and inclusion are embedded into the college’s strategic plan, with goals of improving recruitment and retention, assisting in admitting diverse students and providing support to our current students. According to Achoe, initiatives are designed to “embed diversity in the classroom, case studies, and research so that students are well equipped to practice diversity and inclusion as health care practitioners.”


Some of these initiatives include


  • The annual “Magic of Cosmetic Science” workshop is designed to foster interest in the sciences and give urban high school students an inside look at how cosmetic lotions, creams, body washes and lip gloss are made. The program, part of the CPS Strong pathway within UC’s Next Live Here strategic direction, is also a collaborative with Breakthrough Cincinnati.
  • The Pharmacy Technician Program builds awareness around pharmacy as a career choice and has grown from 4 to over 30 student participants at two urban high schools. Plans call for program expansion to another school this spring.
  • An expanded Council on Diversity representing faculty, staff, students and alumni as well as student leaders from Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA); Diversity Committee; LGBTQ; Tribunal (Student Government) and GAPSS (Graduate Association of Pharmacy Science Students).
  • The college has started Diversity and LGBTQ sub-committees.  The Diversity group is a multicultural group that is charged with celebrating different cultures in the college.  The LGBTQ group will work with other similar organizations in the Academic Health Center.
  • A “Getting to Know” the faculty/staff initiative profiles photos and fun facts about members of the college community displayed on college monitors and shared internally.

Next Lives Here

iscover UC’s commitment to Next Lives Here, the strategic direction with designs on leading urban public universities into a new era of innovation and impact.

Become a Bearcat

  • Apply online or get more information about undergraduate enrollment by calling 513-556-1100.
  • Learn more about UC’s many undergraduate and graduate programs.

– By M.B. Reilly Email M.B.Email M.B. 513-556-1824

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