Indiana State University Newsroom



Inaugural ‘Inclusive Excellence Awards’ presented

November 28, 2017

Indiana State University furthered its commitment to inclusive excellence and diversity with a presentation of the inaugural Indiana State Inclusive Excellence Awards this fall.

Designed to recognize significant contributions toward creating a diverse, inclusive, equitable and socially just Indiana State community, winners were selected in several categories: Bayh College of Education, administrative/academic unit category; Jennifer Christian, faculty/staff category; Kirk Moore, student category; Aaron Slocum, faculty/staff category; and Spectrum, student organization category.

"The diversity awards recognize people who are working to achieve one of our institutional goals ‘inclusive excellence' and remind everyone that it is a priority," said Indiana State President Dan Bradley.

The Bayh College of Education was nominated by Denise Collins, associate dean in the college. Her nomination offered an abbreviated history of the college's inclusion efforts, including drafting its first diversity plan in 1999 and participation in and establishment of numerous diversity-related activities within the college.

"We continue to assess our progress and revisit our work," Collins wrote. "Although we still have a long way to go to achieve our vision of an inclusive environment, we continue to strive for this and keep it at the forefront of our work."

Janet Buckenmeyer, dean of the Bayh College, said the college's faculty and staff "recognized years ago that inclusive excellence began with us. We knew we needed to honestly examine and challenge our own beliefs and practices, and we have been proactive in our approach to our own growth ever since. Our goal is to become the college that is a model of what inclusive excellence looks like - where every person matters."

Christian, who is the Sycamore Community Work program director, alternative breaks coordinator and Service Learning Scholar coordinator for the Center for Community Engagement, said she tries to "live each day by being inclusive of all people and ideas.

"With today's climate in our country, I think it is important now more than ever to show everyone that they are important and valued," Christian added. "No matter your race, religion, gender, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, etc., it should be celebrated and appreciated."

Christian was nominated by Jessica Starr, program coordinator for the Center for Community Engagement.

"Jennifer was instrumental in starting ISUnity. ISUnity was created in response to various tragedies happening around the United States, and Jennifer felt it was important for our campus community to come together to show awareness," Starr wrote in her nomination. "Unlike many, Jennifer took action when the unthinkable happened. Her efforts resulted in welcoming as many people as possible to participate rather than limiting who was involved. She considered the opinions of many people when developing the events and used all resources available to unify campus during turbulent times."

Moore, a graduate student from Ghana, said the award is an expression of the university's efforts to build a culture of teamwork.

"It feels like the problems of the world keep getting worse by the day, and to fix it will take teamwork. It is important to know that teamwork is only effective if everyone on the team feels like they belong and are valued," Moore said. "Receiving this award speaks to the fact that Indiana State University really values teamwork and is willing to create a better environment where leaders can thrive and grow. I am just happy to have received this award, because it makes me feel that I am a piece of that development. My goal over the years was to make sure every student on this campus gets that Sycamore experience."

Nominated by Zachariah Mathew, associate director of the Center for Global Engagement, Mathew's nomination letter described Moore's work in establishing the International Student Leader Council, starting and instructing a Ghanaian drumming program organized by the Community School of the Arts and beginning the Heritage Fair on campus.

"Kirk is an outstanding student who has made significant contributions to student engagement among international students and the purpose of student programming," Mathew wrote. "Kirk was never employed in our office. All his contributions have been as a student leader who believes in serving and caring for others and making sure every student has an opportunity to an enriched education experience."

Creating an environment that is inclusive of everyone is simply the right thing to do, said Slocum, 21st Century Scholars Corps coordinator.

"Everyone is welcome and invited to participate and be part of the campus community at Indiana State," he said. "With everything that is going on in our world today with exclusion, whether it be because of race or religion, Indiana State is an environment where we all need to be open to different cultures and backgrounds."

Slocum was nominated by Corry Smith, Indiana State's testing coordinator, who wrote in his nomination letter that Slocum has facilitated several short film presentations for the Office of Diversity and the Office of Multicultural Programs and Services. Slocum also is Safe Zone-certified and assisted in training faculty. He conducts diversity training presentations for both Indiana State Public Safety officers and the Terre Haute Police Department. In 2016, he assisted the Office of Multicultural Programs and Services and the Brotherhood of Successful Scholars with a conference, and he also created and assisted with two learning communities while working with the Office of Residential Life.

"(Slocum) has worked very hard to assist students in adjusting to the college environment," Smith wrote. "His continued efforts to make Indiana State University a more welcoming place for individuals of color are amazing."

Spectrum's efforts to unify gender and sexual minorities and their allies made the student-led organization an obvious choice for an Inclusive Excellence Award, according to the group's nominator Elonda Ervin, executive director of multicultural services and programs.

Spectrum assisted Ervin on several occasions, including the Sycamore SafeZone Program, facilitating and creating workshops and a film series on current issues within the LGBTQ communities and assisting with the Council on Diversity in the Diverse Learning Environment Survey focus group session. Spectrum also collaborated with Ervin to provide an avenue of professional development for members, those within the LGBTQ communities and allies, via attendance at the annual Midwest Bisexual, Lesbian, Gay, Transgender and Ally College Conference.

"Each year, more and more students from ISU attend this conference via the initiative of Spectrum," Ervin wrote. "(Spectrum's) goal is simple: to maintain and expand a network of faculty, staff and students in order to organize, serve and advocate for Indiana State University's gender and sexual minorities."

Receiving the award was recognition that Spectrum is taking the right steps toward creation of a more charitable campus. "These awards are important because they recognize organizations and people on campus that go above and beyond to be intentionally inclusive," said Zac Moore, president of Spectrum.

The Inclusive Excellence Awards were designed in fall 2016 by the university-wide Council on Inclusive Excellence, which formed a committee to look at how other institutions recognize diversity and inclusion on their campuses and envision a way to celebrate diversity and inclusive excellence efforts at Indiana State.

"Indiana State has made inclusive excellence and diversity a high priority since its founding in 1865, and last year we put intentional elements around inclusive excellence into our strategic plan," said Josh Powers, associate vice president for student success. He served as the interim associate vice president for inclusive excellence last academic year. "We have diversity reflected in our people, faculty, staff and students, and it is important that we, as a community, support and celebrate one another and demonstrate that we listen and hear one another."

The nomination period for the second annual awards begins April 1 for contributions made July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018. The deadline to submit nominations will be July 30. The winners, who will each receive a $200 financial award from the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, will be announced at the president's fall address in September.

More information on the awards and the nomination process is available at https://www.indstate.edu/inclusive-excellence/awards.

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Photo: https://photos.smugmug.com/Events/Events-by-Year/2017/President-Bradleys-Fall-Address-2017/i-6kPVhVq/0/129a732a/X2/September%2013%2C%202017%20Fall%20Address%200280-X2.jpg - Indiana State University President Dan Bradley president presents Bayh College of Education Dean Janet Buckenmeyer with the inaugural Indiana State Inclusive Excellence Award for the administrative/academic unit category during the president's fall address on campus in September.

Photo: https://photos.smugmug.com/Events/Events-by-Year/2017/President-Bradleys-Fall-Address-2017/i-TcPsNW8/0/3fb2277a/X2/September%2013%2C%202017%20Fall%20Address%200240-X2.jpg - Indiana State University President Dan Bradley presents Jennifer Christian, Sycamore Community Work program director, alternative breaks coordinator and Service Learning Scholar coordinator for the Center for Community Engagement, with the inaugural Indiana State Inclusive Excellence Award for the faculty/staff category during the president's fall address on campus in September.

Photo: https://photos.smugmug.com/Events/Events-by-Year/2017/President-Bradleys-Fall-Address-2017/i-XWP3Rbx/0/68577498/X2/September%2013%2C%202017%20Fall%20Address%200227-X2.jpg - Indiana State University President Dan Bradley presents graduate student Kirk Moore with the inaugural Indiana State Inclusive Excellence Award for the student category during the president's annual fall address on campus in September.

Photo: https://photos.smugmug.com/Events/Events-by-Year/2017/President-Bradleys-Fall-Address-2017/i-rt5cTXC/0/156a92c0/X2/September%2013%2C%202017%20Fall%20Address%200248-X2.jpg - Indiana State University President Dan Bradley presents Aaron Slocum, 21st Century Scholars Corps coordinator, with the inaugural Indiana State Inclusive Excellence Award for the faculty/staff category during the president's annual fall address on campus in September.

Photo: https://photos.smugmug.com/Events/Events-by-Year/2017/President-Bradleys-Fall-Address-2017/i-v7hMg4C/0/1a9d9f01/X2/September%2013%2C%202017%20Fall%20Address%200267-X2.jpg - Indiana State University President Dan Bradley presents Spectrum President and graduate student Zach Moore with the inaugural Indiana State Inclusive Excellence Award for the student organization category during the annual fall address on campus in September.

Writer: Betsy Simon, media relations assistant director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-7972 or betsy.simon@indstate.edu

 

Story Highlights

Indiana State furthered its commitment to inclusive excellence and diversity with a presentation of the inaugural Indiana State Inclusive Excellence Awards this fall.

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