University of Vermont

University Communications

VP for Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Receives Diversity Visionary Award

Julian Bond, Heading-Grant
Among the programs Wanda Heading-Grant oversees is the University of Vermont's annual Martin Luther King celebration. Keynote speakers in recent years have included Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, bestselling author Wil Haygood, and Civil Rights icon Julian Bond, pictured here with Heading-Grant in 2014. (Photo: Sally McCay)

Wanda Heading-Grant, UVM vice president for Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, is a recipient of a Diversity Visionary Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. As a recipient of the award — a national honor recognizing individuals who have made significant past and present contributions to diversity in higher education — Heading-Grant is featured along with three other recipients in INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine’s April/May 2015 issue. Also featured in this issue of the magazine: a cover story on how the University of Vermont's College of Medicine is working to diversify the physician workforce in the state.

During her more than 20-year tenure at the University of Vermont, Heading-Grant has provided vision, leadership, and coordination for major programs, curricular initiatives, services, and institutional efforts that have changed the culture and climate at the University of Vermont. The programs that she has created and major initiatives she has led have brought together members from all areas of the university (including faculty, staff, senior administrators and students) to build and sustain a more diverse, inclusive, and academically and socially dynamic institution.

Some of her accomplishments include: leading the implementation of a six-credit diversity course requirement for all undergraduate students; providing the vision, coordination, and leadership for Blackboard Jungle, which is a major annual diversity professional development symposium; designing and coordinating the annual weeklong Martin Luther King celebration, education and learning program for the campus and surrounding community; and building a stronger partnership with the Flynn Theater to use the arts to teach social justice.

Heading-Grant first came to the University of Vermont as an undergraduate student. At that time, she was one of the few people of color at the institution. Despite the lack of diversity during her early years as a student, Heading-Grant has chosen to devote her life and career to creating a more inclusive university.

“Her gifts of bringing people together from all areas of the institution and her political acumen have enabled her to create powerful and sustained change at the University of Vermont," says Lacretia Flash, senior adviser and chief of staff for the Office of the Vice President of Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. "She has helped to change the institutional culture at the University of Vermont for current and future generations of students, faculty, and staff.”

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine selected Heading-Grant for this national recognition because she has made an indelible mark in broadening diversity and inclusion at her university. In response to receiving the Visionary award, Heading-Grant said, “I am so honored to receive this award. I care deeply about the UVM community and will continue to work hard to ensure that UVM is a place where all members, regardless of background or identity, can thrive.”