UCF continues to be recognized by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine for its dedication to inclusive excellence. The university has earned its eighth consecutive Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from the magazine, which is the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.
As a recipient of the annual HEED Award — a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion — UCF will be featured, along with 102 other recipients, in the November 2022 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. UCF is among impactful institutions such as Johns Hopkins University, Princeton University and the University of Texas at Austin recognized this year.
“The HEED Award is reflective of our steadfast commitment to inclusive excellence, which allows us to put our values into practice and fulfill our mission.”
“We believe that every individual who chooses to enroll, work or partner with UCF should have the ability to achieve their goals and reach their fullest potential,” says Andrea Guzmán, vice president for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “The HEED Award is reflective of our steadfast commitment to inclusive excellence, which allows us to put our values into practice and fulfill our mission.”
UCF has made efforts to ensure students of all backgrounds, including those who are first-generation or from underserved communities, have access to a quality college degree — and the resources and tools needed to succeed for over a decade. This month, U.S. News & World Report has ranked UCF No. 59 across all institutions in the nation and 41st among public schools for Top Performers on Social Mobility. Washington Monthly magazine also ranked UCF No. 37 ranking among national universities for Social Mobility — 21 spots up from the previous year. The university is 19th among public universities on Washington Monthly’s 2022 College Guide and Rankings.
U.S. News & World Report recently ranked UCF among its Best Colleges for Student Veterans. Military Times’ 2022 Best for Vets: Colleges list also ranks UCF No. 76 nationally. The honor is largely based on student success metrics, including completion and retention. It also accounts for military-specific resources, such as UCF’s Office of Military and Veteran Student Success (formerly known as the Veterans Academic Resource Center). In June, UCF earned a Silver Award on the 2022-23 Military Friendly Schools list, which measures commitment, effort, and success in creating sustainable and meaningful benefit for the military community.
In February, UCF was awarded $5 million from the Ginsburg Family Foundation to establish a center focused on fostering inclusion, building cross-cultural and global competencies, and serving the local community. UCF’s Ginsburg Center for Inclusion and Community Engagement serves students, faculty and staff at the university, as well members of the greater Orlando community. UCF has amplified the Ginsburg Family Foundation’s gift with a university investment of $2.5 million from the UCF Challenge. The Challenge provides matching funds for key UCF initiatives from the $40 million gift made in 2021 by philanthropists MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett.
As of Fall 2022, 29.8% of UCF’s undergraduate study body identify as Hispanic/Latino/a/x. In 2019, UCF was designated a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), which is a U.S. Department of Education classification awarded to institutions with at least 25% full-time-equivalent undergraduate students. In 2021, UCF was one of 10 institutions nationwide to earn the Seal of Excelencia, which has been awarded to a total of 24 institutions that provide intentional service to Latino students and demonstrate positive momentum for Latino students’ progress.
Within the past year UCF has been selected as a preferred partner for several initiatives dedicated to fostering inclusion through academic and research opportunities. This includes selection for NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) Space Technology Artemis Research, or M-STAR, initiative, which UCF’s HSI designation makes it eligible for. Last year, the university is one of seven national institutions awarded $500,000 to provide interdisciplinary research experiences — which includes intentional opportunities to recruit and retain underrepresented and underserved students — to support the space agency’s return to the moon.
In April, UCF and the Helios Education Foundation co-invested $3.25 million to launch the UCF Downtown Scholars Initiative to create new pathways to success at the university for qualified students at Jones, Evans and Oak Ridge high schools, where the majority of students are Black, in Orlando. The initiative offers pre-collegiate programming and support, first-year student mentoring and a summer bridge program where students will live on-campus at UCF Downtown.
UCF was also tapped earlier this year to participate in a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation- funded national training program that strengthens the capacity for data-based research among Historically Black Colleges and Universities and HSIs.
UCF joined more than a dozen other institutions in June to form the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities, which aims to double the number of Hispanic doctoral students and increase the number of Hispanic faculty at member institutions by 20%.
This summer, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and Google, selected UCF the new Hispanic-Serving Institutions Career Readiness Program, which aims to grow an excelling workforce by assisting college students at HSIs in developing the digital skills they need to find and secure internships and jobs that will help them build successful careers.