Case Western Reserve receives Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award

Train the Champion, a diversity-training program, aims to recruit and retain employees and students. Above are Train the Champion graduates Angela Lowery, student service coordinator for the Center for Civic Engagement and Learning; Stephanie Hall, CWRU Police Officer; and Dan Anker, associate dean for faculty affairs and human resources at the School of Medicine.

Case Western Reserve University has received the inaugural Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award from Insight Into Diversity magazine, a publication focused on diversity in higher education.

The national award recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. Case Western Reserve and 47 other recipients will be featured in the magazine’s December issue.

“This award represents positive feedback on the impact we are having to advance diversity and inclusion on our campus,” said Marilyn Sanders Mobley, Case Western Reserve’s vice president for Inclusion Diversity and Equal Opportunity—a cabinet-level position university President Barbara R. Snyder created in 2008 to foster diversity and inclusiveness campus-wide.

Under Mobley, the university in 2011 introduced “Train the Champion,” a diversity-training program aimed at recruiting and retaining faculty, staff and students by working to sustain a nurturing campus. The program, coordinated by Robynn Strong, manager of faculty diversity and development, and faculty diversity officer Melissa Burrows, covers the spectrum of diversity, from disability issues to cultural, racial and intergenerational differences.

“We see our ‘Train the Champion’ initiative, in particular,” Mobley said, “as an example of the buy-in we have from the top from President Snyder and the difference we’re making with our faculty and staff to create meaningful learning opportunities across the campus. Our goal is to move beyond talking about diversity to living it and having it inform our decisions and the way we operate. We’re grateful for the recognition and the encouragement such an award provides even as we continue the work we know we need to do as a campus community, not only for faculty and staff, but also for our students and alumni.”

Insight Into Diversity chose its award winners based on “exemplary diversity and inclusion initiatives, and include all aspects of diversity including gender, race, ethnicity, veterans, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBT community.”

“We hope the HEED award serves as a reminder that diversity and inclusion must remain priorities in the 21st-century higher-education landscape,” said Lenore Pearlstein, the magazine’s publisher. “Every college and university should recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion as being part of their everyday life on campus.”

For more information about the HEED award, visit