Oxford College named winner of residence life diversity award


East Village, Murdy and Elizer Residence Halls

Oxford College has been recognized for its ongoing commitment to creating a positive residential experience for students.

In June, Skyfactor Benchworks, a division of MacMillian Learning Company, awarded Oxford a 2021 Assessment & Impact Award in Housing and Residence Life. Oxford was among seven national winners recognized for data-driven programs to keep students connected and engaged.

While living on campus looked different this past academic year, Oxford adapted to keep students informed and involved during the COVID-19 pandemic. Skyfactor honored Oxford for high performance on survey scores related to diverse interactions and satisfaction with student staff. They highlighted the commitment of Oxford’s Residential Education and Services (RES) team to embed values of diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the campus housing program — including residential education, student staff training, and community-building.

A distinctive part of Emory University, Oxford College offers a two-year residential liberal arts experience to over one-quarter of Emory’s undergraduates. The focus on residence life, campus community, and leadership opportunities plays an intentional and integral role alongside a rigorous academic program defined by small classes and faculty mentoring of students. Ninety-nine percent of students live on campus.

“We are honored to be recognized for creating a diverse and inclusive community that is reflected in our residential life program and embedded in every aspect of our liberal arts education,” says Oxford Dean Douglas A. Hicks. “At this moment of national reckoning on race and equity, we are pleased that our students recognize that Oxford is a place where they both learn about themselves and come to know and appreciate people from different backgrounds.”

RES has used Skyfactor’s national survey annually to assess student attitudes about their residential community. For over six years, the survey has ranked Oxford No. 1 among approximately 300 U.S. colleges and universities for diverse interactions among students. 

“It’s hard to take credit for this recognition as much of it is due to our student community,” says Michele Hempfling, associate dean of Campus Life and director of RES. “They’re open to learning about diversity, sharing their stories, and allowing us to be part of their journey.”

Hempfling commends the RES professional and student staff who demonstrate the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion through daily interactions with Oxford’s residential community. She credits the Residence Life Coordinators (RLCs) and RES Assistant Director Carlos Northern with creating intentional training opportunities to establish these values, and RLCs and student staff who create a community that supports those ideals.

“When students express high satisfaction with diverse interactions, they’re really commenting on their total experience at Oxford — the way the entire community embraces human difference as a strength and the way Oxford provides care and support to those who may need it,” says Dean of Campus Life Joe Moon. “Moving forward, this award inspires us to continue to embrace interactive diversity as a core value and to continue to expand and ‘raise the bar’ on our efforts in our residence halls and elsewhere.”

Skyworks established the Assessment and Impact Award for Residence Life in 2019 to recognize colleges that demonstrate intentionality in using insights from data to improve their residence life programs. The other 2021 winners are The University of Tampa, Millersville University of Pennsylvania, University of Alaska Southeast, Miles Community College, University of Central Florida, and University of Northern Colorado.

Learn more about Oxford’s residence life and diversity initiatives.

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