The College of Nursing at Augusta University was awarded the Diversity, Inclusion, and Sustainability in Nursing Education Lectureship Award at the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s 2021 Diversity Symposium, held virtually Nov. 9-10.
Dr. Pam Cook, interim associate dean for academic and student affairs, submitted the nomination, which won the category for public colleges and universities.
All 840 AACN member institutions have the opportunity to apply for award selection. To win, institutions must demonstrate an organizational culture committed to diversity, inclusion, cultural humility and community outreach; recruitment, development and retention of individuals from all populations; development and implementation of effective diversity initiatives that foster a more inclusive and equitable learning environment; and advocacy for diversity, equity and inclusion at the interpersonal, unit and institutional level.
“This is among the most prestigious awards given to an AACN member college. The sustained efforts by many individuals and engaged community partnerships culminated in the receipt of this award,” said Dean Tanya Sudia.
The College of Nursing’s diversity endeavors began in 2006 when an aggressive strategic plan was written to cultivate and sustain a more diverse, equitable and inclusive college. These efforts included celebrating diversity as a strength of the college and recruiting and retaining a talented and diverse student body and workforce.
During the last 15 years, the college has received numerous grants to develop and encourage its diversity efforts, including from the Nursing Workforce Diversity Program and the Robert Wood Johnson New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program. During this time the college implemented a holistic admission process that helped increase qualified applicants from diverse backgrounds, including ethnic and racial minorities, from 14% to 30%, and enrollment from diverse backgrounds from 15% to 35%.
In 2010, the college developed a diversity statement that asserts its beliefs, values and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusivity. The statement sets standards for faculty, staff and administrators, raises awareness of the need to promote DEI and communicates the CON’s commitment to advancing and sustaining DEI to all stakeholders, including campus-wide activities focused on diverse populations. This statement was updated in 2018 to align with AACN’s commitment with equity in addition to diversity and inclusion.
The college provides DEI opportunities for faculty, staff and students, including seminars, a diversity certificate program, faculty development, a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee and a monthly book club.