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Hudson County Community College Receives INSIGHT Into Diversity 2022 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award   

This is the second year in a row that the College has received the prestigious national honor

Hudson County Community College President Dr. Christopher Reber (top row, center) with students and staff from the College’s award-winning “Hudson Scholars” program

Hudson County Community College has once again received the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

The annual award recognizes colleges and universities in the United States that demonstrate outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. HCCC is one of just seven community colleges among the 103 colleges and universities to receive this year’s award. The recipients will be featured in the November 2022 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine.

“We are very proud to accept this national award for the second year in a row,” said HCCC President Dr. Christopher Reber. “The 2022 HEED Award honors the College’s collective efforts and best practices in support of student success and diversity, equity, and inclusion. This recognition of excellence is the result of the entire College family’s dedication and contributions, and the strong support of our Board of Trustees.”

“The HEED Award 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 — such as leadership support for diversity, campus culture and climate, supplier diversity, and many other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine.

“We take a detailed approach to reviewing each application in deciding who will be named a HEED Award recipient. Our standards are high, and we look for institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being done every day across their campus.”

The 2022 HEED Award recognizes HCCC for its efforts to recruit historically under-represented and first-generation students and its initiatives to recruit and retain a diverse faculty. The award also honors the College for its programs dedicated to student success and retention, including the ground-breaking “Hudson Scholars” program.

“Hudson Scholars” is a tripartite model of student support providing proactive advisement, financial support, and early academic intervention that received the League for Innovation in the Community College “2021-22 Innovation of the Year Award.” The other categories that earned HCCC this national recognition are excellence in diversity planning and accountability; diversity-focused financial strategies; diversity and unconscious bias training; multicultural branding and communications techniques; supplier diversity; development of cultural competency; and understanding and addressing issues of campus climate.

Hudson County Community College serves one of the most ethnically and racially diverse communities in the United States. In 2019, Dr. Reber established the President’s Advisory Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (PACDEI), a team of 40 students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, and external community members.

PACDEI, through collaborations and partnerships, has played an essential role in the organic development of an inclusive institutional climate. At the time of PACDEI’s inception, HCCC administered a College-wide climate survey. The survey results informed the development of four Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) overarching goals that served as the foundation of PACDEI’s comprehensive DEI Action Plan.

These DEI goals are interwoven in the College’s updated Mission, Vision, and Values statements, and the Board of Trustees’ Goals, Academic Master Plan, 2021-24 College Strategic Plan, and Student Success Action Plan.

Led by Yeurys Pujols, the College’s Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the HCCC Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion includes Accessibility Services, Cultural Affairs, and oversight of Title IX operations. The Office of DEI is charged with promoting an institutional climate that embraces and celebrates differences while championing equitable and inclusive practices, policies, and procedures in all activities for all community members.

This includes support for HCCC offices and divisions in establishing guidelines and practices for recruitment and hiring, screening committee policies, promotion considerations, and succession planning; creating clear and transparent processes for safety, security, and incident reporting that are free of intimidation and respectful of confidentiality; and building community and a sense of belonging for students by advancing their academic development, professional growth, and personal transformation.

Hudson County Community College has also been recognized recently with other national and regional DEI awards including the “2022 Great College to Work For” Award from the Great Colleges to Work For® program; the “2022 Most Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges” from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) in collaboration with Diverse: Issues in Higher Education; 2021 INSIGHT Into Diversity HEED Award; and Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) 2021 Equity Award for the Northeastern United States.

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