Dr. Craig Hillemeier, dean of Penn State College of Medicine, CEO of Penn State Health, and Penn State's senior vice president for health affairs, has received the 2017 Giving Back Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, for his contributions to increasing diversity and promoting opportunities for students and faculty.
“No one deserves this honor more than Dean Hillemeier, who encourages a broad sense of inclusion and also embraces the breadth of diversity within the education realm,” said Lynette Chappell-Williams, chief diversity officer and associate dean of diversity and inclusion. “He has been a role model of inclusivity and has advanced the vital mission of creating a more diverse environment at the College of Medicine.”
One of Hillemeier's goals for the upcoming Penn State capital campaign is to increase scholarship funding for students, largely to increase the College of Medicine's ability to attract more students from diverse backgrounds who might not otherwise be able to afford medical school. Hillemeier also supported establishment of the first alumni of color organization at the College of Medicine.
Hillemeier has made the greatest contribution in the recruitment and support of underrepresented faculty and staff. To make sure that the commitment to diversity and inclusion becomes part of the fabric of the organization, he established an executive-level chief diversity officer position that is part of his leadership team.
Hillemeier charges every chair search committee with the importance of creating a diverse pool of applicants. In fall 2016, the dean implemented a sort of “Rooney Rule” for all executive and chair positions. As a result of this rule, no external search for these positions would go forward unless there is at least one individual of a diverse background (racial/ethnic minority, veteran, or individual with a disability) in the interview pool, and for some positions, female representation.
In the spring of 2016, Penn State Health established affinity groups for employees of color, individuals with disabilities, and those with military service to supplement an existing group for LGBT employees. During employee meetings and other venues, the dean talks about the value of these affinity groups and encourages membership. In addition, the dean meets periodically with the leads of each group to understand how he can support their initiatives.
The dean also worked with the chair of the Board of Directors to identify and recruit diverse individuals, which lead to increasing the gender diversity of the board.
“When we seek and value diverse perspectives, we see the world in broader strokes, and are better able to achieve excellence in patient care, education, research and service,” Hillemeier said. “I am proud that our organization strives to be an employer, health care provider and educational institution of choice and to create a welcoming environment for all patients and their families, learners, and faculty and staff.”
The Giving Back Award honors college and university administrators who go above and beyond their everyday leadership duties and “give back” to their campuses and communities. Hillemeier is featured, along with 38 other recipients, in the April 2017 Leadership Support and Giving Back issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.
Giving Back Award recipients were nominated by their colleagues and selected by the publication based on their outstanding demonstration of social responsibility; involvement with students, faculty, staff and the community; and commitment to serving underrepresented populations. Each honoree is recognized for his or her passion, dedication, and support for diversity and inclusion.
William Easterling, dean of the College of the Earth and Mineral Sciences, was also selected to receive a 2017 Giving Back Award. University President Eric Barron received the honor in 2016.
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