Florida Coastal receives prestigious HEED Award for diversityJacksonville-based law school recognized for third year in a row
As the U.S. transitions from a majority Caucasian society to a racial plurality society, the number of diversity initiatives nation-wide grows, and with it, the promise of a more inclusive future.
Florida Coastal School of Law (Florida Coastal) recently received the 2017 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. This national honor recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.
INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine selected Florida Coastal as a recipient of the HEED Award based on the institution’s exemplary diversity and inclusion initiatives, and ability to support a broad definition of diversity on campus, including gender, race, ethnicity, veterans, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ community, as well as all others.
More than 20 years ago, Florida Coastal’s founding leaders’ awareness of the lack of racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession, coupled with their vision of a future in which lawyers accurately reflected the racial and ethnic diversity of society, inspired the establishment of the Jacksonville-based law school.
America is getting more diverse every year and is on a trajectory to become a majority-minority nation by mid-century. Yet, the underrepresentation that prompted the founding of Florida Coastal in 1996 persists today. The current legal field is comprised primarily of white males and females, with the American Bar Association reporting 5 percent African American and 4 percent Latino lawyers in America.
“We maintain our deep commitment to training a diverse body of lawyers because our nation’s larger problems will not be resolved until we have a legal profession that is as diverse as the population it serves,” said President Dennis Stone, founding member of the school.
While of national importance, the benefits of diversity and inclusion also exist at an institutional level. The opportunity for students to engage with other students and faculty with varying viewpoints, different life experiences and cultural backgrounds broadens the perspective of students and leads to more well-rounded, empathetic humans.
“The school hosted approximately 15 events during the year addressing issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. I believe the forum on Islamophobia had the greatest impact because it came at a time when many Americans were calling for a ban of Muslim majority countries access to the U.S.,” said Dr. Tammy Hodo, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Florida Coastal.
This is the third year in a row that Florida Coastal has been named a HEED Award recipient. The school will be featured along with 79 other recipients in INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine’s November 2017 issue.
The HEED Award process measures an institution’s commitment to diversity and inclusion through a comprehensive and rigorous application relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees, and best practices for both.