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Fall Diversity Champions Named; Spring Nominations Open

Twelve members of the Old Dominion University community recently were presented with President John R. Broderick Diversity Champion Awards for the fall 2015 semester, in recognition of their commitment to advancing the University's values of diversity, inclusion and equity.

Nominations for the spring 2016 semester are now being accepted by ODU's Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity until March 18. From the spring and fall honorees, a recipient will be chosen to receive the University's Diversity Champion Award that will be presented on April 19, at an end-of-the-year ceremony.

The award is designed to honor, celebrate and recognize individuals from four categories - administration and employees; faculty; students and alumni; and Hampton Roads residents - who advance principles of diversity, inclusion and equity.

"Presentation of this award clearly illustrate that the work of diversity, inclusion and equity is the work of everyone, not just a select office," said Stephanie Sanders, director for diversity initiatives. "While leadership from the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity is important, championing these ideas will certainly take all of us working together - faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members - to create and sustain the successful systemic change we desire."

Nominations can be submitted by anyone. Nominators should explain how the nominee demonstrates an exceptional understanding of diversity, inclusion and equity beyond the call of duty. Nominations can be submitted ONLINE to the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, or delivered in person to 1301 Spong Hall at Old Dominion University.

For the fall semester, the President John R. Broderick Diversity Champion Award recipients are:

  • Avi Santo, associate professor of communication and theatre arts in the College of Arts & Letters, for planning and hosting "Birth of an Answer," a multimedia project that focused on 100 years of African American creative resistance to stereotypes and misrepresentations in popular media.
  • International student, Stephanie Flores, for her advocacy with human rights and race relations, as well and her advocacy concerning youth development and education with International Children's Outreach.
  • Edward Neukrug, professor of counseling & human services in the Darden College of Education, for his leadership as a Faculty Diversity Leader who chairs the Colleges' Faculty Diversity Committee. He also promotes diversity and inclusion-related issues through his scholarship and research on men's health, workplace diversity and understanding cultural diversity.
  • Luisa Igloria, professor of English, in the College of Arts & Letters, for her promotion of diversity as co-director of the Literary Festival.
  • Bruce Rubin, associate professor of finance in the Strome College of Business, for his role as a Faculty Diversity Leader who chairs the college's Faculty Diversity Committee and for developing a comprehensive and supportive infrastructure for the success of junior and underrepresented faculty.
  • Shelley Mishoe, dean of the College of Health Sciences, for her effective leadership and innovative thinking related to the strategic goals for Interprofessional education, for regularly assessing the college's progress for CORE2 related to the recruitment, retention and success of underrepresented faculty and for creating the new Center for Global Health designed to improve people's health and quality of life.
  • M'Hammed Abdous, assistant vice president for Learning and Teaching, for his leadership in promoting an inclusive working and learning environment among his staff and throughout the Hampton Roads Community and for developing innovative frameworks, tools and best practices that advance and improve on-line education. As a John R. Bourne Outstanding Research Achievement Award recipient, his work has been lauded nationally and internationally.
  • Debra Major, professor of psychology and Eminent Scholar, in the College of Sciences, for her research and scholarship on effective strategies for women overcoming career barriers, gender in organizations, work-life integration among professionals and the experiences of women in male-dominated STEM fields. Her work has been supported by the National Science Foundation grants. As the provost's fellow for Diversity and Inclusion, she also guides the six College Faculty Diversity Leaders in framing a plan to enhance the recruitment, retention and success of underrepresented faculty.
  • International student, Sailee Deshpande, for promoting and restructuring the Global Monarch Club's mentorship program for the international student population.
  • Jeffrey Toussaint, lecturer of sociology and criminology, in the College of Arts & Letters, for advancing diversity, inclusion and intercultural relations as demonstrated through his pedagogy, course development and cross collaborative efforts with the College of Education, Intercultural Relations, Counseling Services and Institutional Equity & Diversity.
  • David Kidd and Elizabeth Johnson, Literacy Fellows at Norfolk Academy and co-directors of The Literacy Fellows Program, for their dedication to equipping "at-risk" students so they can understand, communicate and solve national and global issues inextricably linked to literacy. The Literacy Fellows Program serves to advance literacy as a way to break cycles of poverty in Hampton Roads and beyond.

The Diversity Champion Award has been presented at ODU since the 1990s, and President John R. Broderick was one of its earliest recipients.

The annual award was renamed for President Broderick, starting with the 2014-15 school year. The renaming was decided upon by ODU's Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity after an overwhelming positive response from the campus community to Broderick's support of diversity, inclusion and equity.

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