Texas Tech recently received the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award, which was presented by the INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine.
Juan Munoz, senior vice president for institutional diversity, equity and community engagement, said this is the first time the magazine has presented this particular award. Tech is one of 48 institutions nationally and one of four institutions in Texas to receive the award. Some of the other Texas schools include the University of Texas at Austin and the University of North Texas.
The magazine is highly reputable and is the first of its kind, he said. The entire list of institutions that received the award will be featured in the December issue of the magazine. There is no order to the list of winners.
According to its website, the magazine has more than 125,000 monthly visitors to its website. Its mission is to promote educational and work environments that reflect what the real world resembles.
“INSIGHT Into Diversity is the oldest and largest diversity magazine and website in higher education today,” according to the website. “For nearly 40 years, INSIGHT Into Diversity has been connecting employees with institutions and businesses that embrace a workforce that is reflective of the world around us.”
The award is based and measured on how successful universities are in efforts to increase and promote diversity in the student body, staff and faculty, Munoz said. Receiving the award will increase national awareness of Tech.
“We are located in semi-rural West Texas,” he said. “We’re not in Los Angeles, Chicago, or Austin or Houston. We are not surrounded by masses of students. Yet, in Lubbock, we are competing with schools like Michigan State to create an environment that regardless of your background, economic status and immigrant status of your parents, you’re able to succeed at Texas Tech. Especially, if you have the personal commitment to be successful.”
Alex Alston, Student Government Association president, said having diversity is important for many reasons. One of those reasons involves Tech and its goal of achieving tier-one status.
“Honestly, I think diversity is important because it really shows a caring aspect of the university,” he said. “It also allows us to really get a sense of each culture and allows us to embrace what each student wants and what they think they need the university to do to accommodate their culture and their religion.”
The SGA is actively involved in making the university more diverse, Alston said. This year, SGA created a position called the diversity director, which is within the executive cabinet. Libby King currently occupies the position, and serves as a voice and representative for the diverse groups on campus.
Jobi Martinez, director of the Cross-Cultural Academic Advancement Center, said they, too, contribute in many ways to making the university more diverse. They have what is called the Mentor Tech program, which works directly with first-year students from underrepresented populations by pairing them up with faculty and staff who know how to navigate the university.
The Cross-Cultural Academic Advancement Center is a part of the Division of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement.
The division also offers Military and Veterans Programs, she said. For the last three years, the programs have been recipients of the Military Friendly School award.
“One of the things that the selection committee pointed out is that we serve the entire campus community,” Martinez said. “We also have Faculty Diversity Development grants, where we assist faculty in their research and their creative scholarship based on not necessarily their diversity, but the diversity of their research and the populations they work with.”
She said in the next five to 10 years, she hopes Tech continues to receive awards related to diversity.
“I hope that we have greater effort and strength in the work that we do for all students,” Martinez said. “But I think I’d like to see a bigger division committed to institutional diversity. It’s not just that; I’m really pleased with the campus as a whole and their contributions to institutional diversity. I think when you look at TechAnnounces and even The Daily Toreador, you see more and more announcements and articles related to diversity.”