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University of Maryland School of Nursing Receives Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award

November 12, 2018

Annual award issued by INSIGHT Into Diversity names top colleges for diversity nationwide.

Insight Into Diversity | Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award 2018 | Top Colleges for DiversityBaltimore, Md. – The University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) has been selected to receive the annual Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, the only honor recognizing U.S. and Canadian health schools and centers that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion across their campuses.

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education, received a record number of nearly 175 applications this year and selected only 35 institutions for the award.

Forty-six percent of UMSON students identify as racially and ethnically diverse, and 12 percent of our student body is male — both figures that are above average for schools of nursing nationwide. Diversity and inclusion are key priorities for the School and are among the seven core values of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB). UMSON works to integrate these values fully and authentically into all aspects of its work and community.

“As we prepare our students to be the next generation of nursing leaders, to be ready to contribute to a diverse and complex health care system, the School of Nursing must model the benefits of diversity and inclusion every day,” said Jeffrey Ash, EdD, assistant professor and associate dean for diversity and inclusion. “We believe every interaction matters and encourages and grows a sense of community that values empathy and civility.”

The School of Nursing was the first school on the UMB campus to devote a full-time associate dean position to diversity and inclusion. Ash serves on the School's leadership team and on UMB's Diversity Advisory Council and consults with other schools on campus that do not have a chief diversity officer. He also heads the UMSON Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the School’s hub for collaborative and innovative thinking about diversity and inclusion. The office offers individual and departmental support with a focus on relationship and community building and advocacy, efforts aimed at ensuring fairness in policies and practices at all levels. It has developed activities, events, and affinity groups to engage faculty, staff, and students in thinking more broadly about diversity and in working toward a more inclusive community. For example, it offers biannual professional development opportunities for all faculty and staff that focus specifically on enhancing understanding of the multiple aspects of diversity and inclusion.

“We are honored to be recognized with this prestigious award. The application process touched upon every aspect of our institutional life and provided an important opportunity for us to assess our progress,” said UMSON Dean Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Although our work is far from done, I sincerely thank our faculty, staff, and students for their deep commitment to ensuring that we live the values of diversity and inclusion every day in everything that we do.”

The magazine said it measures an institution’s level of achievement and intensity of commitment in regard to broadening diversity and inclusion on campus through initiatives, programs, and outreach; student recruitment, retention, and completion; and hiring practices for faculty and staff. The honorees will be featured in the December 2018 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

UMB was recognized with a HEED Award in 2015, and UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, was awarded the 2016 Giving Back Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.


The University of Maryland School of Nursing, founded in 1889, is one of the oldest and largest nursing schools in the United States and is in the top 10 nationally for all of its ranked master’s and DNP specialties. Enrolling nearly 1,900 students in its baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs, the School develops leaders who shape the profession of nursing and impact the health care environment.