Stetson University College of Law receives INSIGHT Into Diversity 2021 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award

Contact: Ashley McKnight-Taylor

GULFPORT, Fla. — Stetson University College of Law received the 2021 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

Dean Michèle Alexandre
Dean Michèle Alexandre

The magazine selected Stetson Law for its inclusive curriculum initiatives, including in Criminal Law and Research and Writing courses; Americans with Disabilities Act initiatives, such as the creation of the Disability Allied Law Student Association; and development efforts focused on diversity scholarship fundraising and alumni engagement.

“We are thrilled to be recognized for the second year in a row for our ongoing efforts to foster an inclusive community where everyone is expected to lead with respect, compassion and professionalism,” said Dean Michèle Alexandre. “We are committed to the university-wide work of meaningful inclusionary practices among students, faculty, and staff regardless of the national recognition, but the HEED Award offers encouragement for continuing to lead by example in this important area.”

As a recipient of the annual HEED Award — a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges, universities and professional schools that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion — Stetson Law will be featured in the November 2021 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

Lance N. Long
Lance Long

“The HEED Award process consists of a comprehensive and rigorous application that includes questions relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees — and best practices for both — continued leadership support for diversity, and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “We take a detailed approach to reviewing each application in deciding who will be named a HEED Award recipient. Our standards are high, and we look for institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being done every day across their campus.”

Last year, Stetson Law was recognized for concentrated efforts, among others, to recruit and retain historically underrepresented and first-generation students through a pre-law pipeline program that included mentorship throughout their academic career and specialized fundraising to ensure they had the financial wherewithal to complete law school.

Stetson Law continued to build on those efforts, this year adding greater focus on diversity scholarship fundraising and alumni engagement. Additionally, College of Law faculty leaders thoughtfully updated specific portions of their curriculum to integrate race and the law in course materials for Criminal Law and Legal Writing & Research courses – classes that all first-year law students are required to take.

“I am thrilled for this recognition and lift up of our faculty colleagues who collaborated to integrate race and the law in the research and writing and criminal law curriculum,” said Professor Lance Long, co-chair of the Stetson University College of Law Diversity and Inclusion Committee. 

Carmen Johnson
Carmen Johnson

Orientation for all new students, including transfer and visiting students, features two separate training and community standards sessions on cultural competence. Last, but not least, the Accessibility Resource Office expanded its work to provide reasonable and effective accommodations or testing modifications, as well as monitored campus compliance with disability rights laws.

“We are so proud of this recognition, which comes just as we are putting the finishing touches on a two-year plan of action to tackle even greater initiatives at both Stetson University and the College of Law,” said Carmen Johnson, Stetson University’s Executive Officer for Diversity, Collaboration, and Inclusion. “This is a galvanizing reminder that we are headed in the right direction and gives us additional motivation for the collaborative work ahead.”

For more information about the 2021 HEED Award, visit

For more information about Stetson University College of Law, visit

About Stetson University College of Law

Stetson University College of Law, Florida’s first law school, has prepared lawyers and leaders since 1900. Today, Stetson leads the nation in blending legal doctrine with practical training, evidenced by its top-ranked programs in advocacy and legal writing. Through its academically rigorous curriculum and commitment to social responsibility, Stetson produces lawyers who are ethical advocates ready to succeed in the legal profession.  

About INSIGHT Into Diversity

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine is the oldest and largest diversity publication in higher education today and is well-known for its annual Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, the only award recognizing colleges and universities for outstanding diversity and inclusion efforts across their campuses. In addition to its online job board, INSIGHT Into Diversity presents timely, thought-provoking news and feature stories on matters of diversity and inclusion across higher education and beyond. Articles include interviews with innovators and experts, as well as profiles of best practices and exemplary programs. Readers will also discover career opportunities that connect job seekers with institutions and businesses that embrace a diverse and inclusive workforce. Current, archived, and digital issues of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine are available online at