Miami University honors those who promote diversity and inclusion
President Gregory Crawford said, "Senior leaders, faculty, staff, and students have done so much, and we want to celebrate it.”
Miami University honors those who promote diversity and inclusion
Miami University faculty, staff, and students who embrace diversity and inclusion in their positions and across campus were honored with Diversity and Inclusion Awards on Oct. 13.
“We know that working to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion and belonging is not always — or generally — easy, and that there is always more to be done,” Cristina Alcalde, vice president for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion and professor of Global and Intercultural Studies, said at the event. “So we want to acknowledge and celebrate what has been done and is taking place thanks to all of your efforts and accomplishments.”
President Gregory Crawford said everyone is responsible for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), and he appreciates the effort across campus. “Senior leaders, faculty, staff, and students have done so much, and we want to celebrate it.”
Ray of Light
This award recognizes members of the Miami University community who have demonstrated, advanced, or promoted activities, programs, or actions supporting campus efforts to help enrich the experiences for faculty, staff, and students.
Fauzia Ahmed (associate professor, Department of Sociology and Gerontology and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program)
Her approach to diversity, equity and inclusion work addresses concerns surrounding gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, diverse religious, sexual orientations, and international status. Her investment in DEI shows in her courses and community building with Miami students and in her engagement in the community and scholarly work. Ahmed is the founder and chair of Akota, a Bangladeshi non-governmental organization, which strives to create communal harmony between Muslims and Hindus in specific villages.
Akanksha Das (Doctoral student, Department of Psychology)
Nominators noted her commitment to DEI work through her facilitation of workshops, advocating to advance social justice, and reminding colleagues on research teams to discuss findings from a strengths-based approach. She co-founded and co-facilitated the Diversity Interest Group in Psychology a few years ago to support fellow graduate students. She also mentors and supports undergraduate students through the facilitation of intergroup dialogues and workshops and is a member of the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion student DEI Student Advisory Council.
This award recognizes the creative/academic contributions of a unit steeped in a consistent record of service that has highlighted or supported diversity and inclusion or directly shaped and positively affected the meaning and understanding of diversity and inclusion on campus. This award considers efforts by the unit over the past two years.
In the past few years, they have used data to inform the intentional expansion of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts through creating two new positions focused on this work and helped to educate the entire team around inclusive excellence. The nominator noted Diversity and Equity Network Event (DINE) and ELEVATE as especially influential events in supporting students. At DINE, employers who are committed to DEI in the workplace are able to connect with students, who are prepared beforehand to support their networking and connections with recruiters.
Miami University Libraries DEI Committee
This group is action-oriented and constantly reassessing how it can continue to improve its DEI efforts for Miami and the broader community. They created an internal DEI grants program, upportingvarious projects. The Libraries DEI Committee collects data for both the DEI Grant projects and page views with resources, created to help improve services and resources.
Diversity Event of the Year
This award recognizes an individual or group who hosted an event or series that engaged the campus community in a meaningful diversity and inclusion experience. The event was a collaborative effort with various campus stakeholders to extend the scope and impact of the event on campus.
UniDiversity Festival (Jacqueline Rioja Velarde, associate director, Center for American and World Cultures)
The Annual Latin American and Caribbean UniDiversity Festival was started in 2003 by the Center for American and World Cultures. The event is a cross-institutional and multidisciplinary initiative that includes the Miami and Oxford communities. Hundreds of attendees come to the event every year to celebrate and enjoy the music, dance, and resource sharing about the Latinx community. The planning committee over the years has encompassed student leaders, faculty, staff, and community members.
A Day of Reflection: 175th Anniversary of the Miami Tribes’ Removal from their Homelands event was held Oct. 11, 2021. The nominator spoke of the continued silence and erasure many Native American communities experience around their removal from their lands by the U.S. government. This event was an opportunity for Miami to reflect on the removal of the Miami Tribe and affirm our commitment to acknowledge this forced removal and support efforts of culture and language revitalization. The University Communications and Marketing (UCM) team worked closely with the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, the Myaamia Center, and various offices across campus to implement this meaningful event, which encompassed three parts and attracted more than 400 people. The nominator also shared that there was an intentional effort by everyone involved to ensure the program was curated to fully and accurately tell the story of the Miami Tribe’s removal. Every detail of this event mattered — from the speeches down to the colors of the ribbons tied in the trees.
Institutional Inclusive Excellence
This award recognizes trailblazers on campus who have led or impacted a policy shift, innovative programming, or demonstrated scholarly opportunities for the Miami community to engage in diversity and inclusion activities directly on campus.
Rose Marie Ward (former dean of the Graduate School)
Ward served as a professor of Kinesiology, Nutrition, and Health and as associate dean of Miami’s Graduate School. She is now the vice provost and dean of the Graduate School at the University of Cincinnati. Her nomination notes that she has consistently been a trailblazer for committed action towards equity, inclusion, diversity, and belonging at Miami. She championed diversity through the Diversity Enhancement Program and Ronald E. McNair Graduate Assistantship Program, both of which support the recruitment of domestically diverse graduate students. More recently, she created the International Graduate Student Association to offer international graduate students a space for community building and a greater contributing voice.