Wanda Heading-Grant, vice president for Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs at the University of Vermont, has received an Inclusive Excellence Award in the Individual Leadership category from the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE), one of only two awards the organization grants annually.
NADOHE recognized Heading-Grant at its annual conference recently in Washington, D.C.
The Individual Leadership Award is presented to a NADOHE member for outstanding contributions to research, administration, practice, advocacy and/or policy, and whose work informs and advances the understanding of diversity and inclusive excellence in higher education.
“We are very proud of Wanda,” said UVM President Tom Sullivan. “She is a truly visionary leader who, for 28 years at UVM, has developed and implemented a wide variety of innovative strategies and programs on diversity and inclusion that have engaged and united both UVM and our surrounding communities.”
“The intent of NADOHE's Inclusive Excellence Awards is to recognize and promote innovative strategies and tactics designed to achieve inclusive excellence in higher education,” said NADOHE president, Archie W. Ervin. “We are delighted to recognize this year's Inclusive Excellence Award recipients and their institutions for their stellar accomplishments with moving the needle toward inclusive excellence practices within American higher education."
“Dr. Heading-Grant’s contributions as a change agent in the advancement of diversity and inclusive excellence in higher education are unparalleled,” wrote one of her nominators. “She has a universal ability to connect people, irrespective of issue, audience or venue, and this skill has enabled her to effectively transform the State of Vermont’s principal, and predominantly white, flagship institution.”
In her three decades of service to the University of Vermont, Heading-Grant has served in a broad range of academic and administrative roles including executive director, associate dean, associate provost, chief diversity officer and vice president. Her professional experience and volunteer service on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations and civil rights advisory committees have earned her a reputation as a cultural architect able to build and sustain real and lasting change.
Examples of her leadership include the relocation of the Mosaic Center for Students of Color from a remote part of the campus to a centrally located and larger space; the establishment of UVM’s first Interfaith Center offering space, programs for reflection, worship, and learning; increasing the university’s staff performance review process participation from 40 percent in 2015 to over 90 percent in 2017; the development of the UVM’s Women’s Summit; and the launch of the Blackboard Jungle Symposium, an annual professional development event designed to support UVM faculty, staff, and all others seeking to develop skills, knowledge, and a deeper understanding of diversity that supports excellence in learning, teaching, service and research.