SRJC receives third Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award

September 29, 2021, Santa Rosa, CA —Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) 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. As a recipient of the annual HEED Award — a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion — SRJC will be featured, along with 101 other recipients, in the November 2021 issue of INSIGHT into Diversity magazine.

“This is the third year in a row that SRJC has been recognized with this award,” said SRJC’s Human Resources Director Sarah Hopkins. “I would like to recognize Manager of Human Resources, Employment Equity Sussanah Sydney for her significant contributions to the district’s diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism efforts since she started in her position over five years ago. She has made this initiative a priority and was critical to our success in being selected as a recipient.”

“The HEED Award process consists of a comprehensive and rigorous application,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT into Diversity magazine. “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.”

INSIGHT into Diversity magazine selected SRJC partially because of its hiring, outreach, and retention practices, which include:

  • Advertising all external recruitments in diversity publications and job boards to attract underrepresented candidates for employment opportunities
  • Assessing each candidate’s demonstrated commitment to diversity in the application screening and at all levels of interviews
  • Providing professional development opportunities and retention programs like “Embracing a Culture of Inclusion” (ECI) to provide a welcoming and equitable work environment with opportunities for all cultures and perspectives to thrive
  • Training for the Board of Trustees about non-bias hiring and employment practices every two years
  • Implementing a Diversity Mentorship Program for Administrators in Summer 2021 to provide opportunities for UC Berkeley students interested in community college administration careers
  • Increasing efforts to recruit historically underrepresented and first-generation students
  • Offering race-conscious and economic-conscious scholarships through The Santa Rosa Junior College Foundation Scholarship Program
  • Using diversity-focused financial strategies, including the Title V Developing Hispanic Serving Institutions (DHSI) $2.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education – SRJC’s Title V Lanzamiento Program is designed to strengthen and enhance the academic pipeline of Hispanic low-income students from early engagement to engaged alumni

During COVID-19, the District made the following efforts to support underrepresented students and employees:

  • Offered additional mental health support for student employees through the District’s Employee Assistance Plan
  • Ensured that food-insecure students received free food regularly
  • Confirmed that all students had access to computers and the internet for online learning
  • Provided accessible online learning for students with disabilities
  • Offered free COVID vaccines and testing to all employees and students living in areas disproportionally impacted by COVID-19

For more information about the 2021 HEED Award, visit

For more information about SRJC, visit



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