College of Nursing wins prestigious award for its diversity, equity and inclusion efforts

UC College of Nursing’s efforts to create opportunities for historically marginalized students and graduate nurses who reflect the broader U.S. population have been nationally recognized for a ninth consecutive year.

The college received the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, reinforcing the continued success of the college’s strategic community partnerships, holistic admissions practices, student support programs and faculty and staff engagement initiatives.

"We remain as committed as ever to preparing nurse leaders educated and ready to provide care to an increasingly diverse population in an ever changing and complex health care system,” says Gordon Gillespie, PhD, interim dean. "Our goal is to improve health care outcomes, reduce inequities and increase the diversity in the health care workforce.”

Research shows increased diversity and cultural competency in the health care workforce helps improve outcomes for people from racially and ethnically diverse groups, who are at a disproportionate risk of being uninsured, lacking access to care and suffering worse outcomes from preventable and treatable conditions.

Insight into Diversity HEED badge

The college has 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, and selects candidates using broad-based admission criteria to create a diverse student body. Educational and social support programs to support student retention and graduation are also offered by the college, including Leadership 2.0 and iLead.

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 admitted in 2023 under the holistic admissions review process, 39% would not have received an offer had admissions decisions considered only quantitative criteria. For the last seven years, the college has added social/behavioral interviews to assess noncognitive attributes important for professional success to its admissions’ strategies.

The college’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives also extend to faculty and staff with goals to increase the diversity and retention of faculty, staff and students; promote cultural sensitivity and cultural humility throughout the curriculum; and increase scholarship opportunities related to diversity, cultural sensitivity and health equity. Led by the college’s Greer Glazer Endowed Chair for DEI Ann Gakumo, PhD, faculty and staff actively participated in the design of a college-wide DEI strategic plan and are now part of accountability groups created to ensure the plan’s successful implementation.

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine is the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. As a recipient of the annual Health Professions HEED Award, the College of Nursing will be featured in the annual HEED Award issue.

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