Awards celebrate women making their mark in diversity and mentorship

Awards celebrate women making their mark in diversity and mentorship

By Andy OberUniversity Communications
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Faculty and staff members making an impact on the campus community in areas including professional development, work-life balance and strengthening the voices of underrepresented communities are being honored by the Commission on the Status of Women.

Staff, faculty and students can nominate anyone on campus for the annual awards. The winners are selected by a committee formed within the CSW Equity and Mentoring Workgroup.

Learn more about this year's winners below.


Edith Sayre Auslander Vision Awards | The Commission on the Status of Women created the Vision Awards in 1999 to honor leaders who manage their units in ways that exemplify the vision set out by the Arizona Board of Regents. The awards honor those who cultivate diversity and advance the commission's goals in the areas of campus climate, career and professional development, and issues of equity and inclusion. Two awards are given each year: Established Visionary and Emerging Visionary. They are named in honor of Edith Sayre Auslander, who served as vice president and senior associate to the president at the University and is known for her work with organizations focusing on the needs of women and minorities. Auslander also was an assistant professor of journalism at the University and served an eight-year term on the Arizona Board of Regents.

Established Susie SalmonVisionary
Susan Salmon
Director of Legal Writing and Clinical Professor of Law
James E. Rogers College of Law

Salmon joined the James E. Rogers College of Law full-time in 2010 and has led the college's Legal Writing Program since 2017. Her research focuses on how long-standing legal education practices and values can impact bias and access to justice. One

nominator noted that Salmon has revitalized the writing program, writing that she "certainly increased the gender and ethnic diversity of our faculty." Another praised her approach to professional development by allowing each team member to focus on their own areas of academic interest. "I greatly appreciate the ability to be encouraged without pressure to conform to some specific standard," the nominator wrote.

Emerging Visionary
Michele Walsh
Associate Specialist in Evaluation and Associate Professor in Family Studies and Human Development
John and Doris Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences

Walsh, who joined the University in 2002, leads the Community Research, Evaluation and Development team in the Norton School. The team consists of students, scholars and professionals who conduct research on the health and well-being of children, families and others throughout Arizona and the Southwest. "Michele promotes a work-life balance in the workplace in words and deeds and has created an environment of shared respect, friendship and collegiality," one nominator wrote. Another lauded her efforts to help team members participate in national conferences, writing that Walsh has "advocated for designated Norton travel funds for our team on par with those of traditional faculty."


Maria Teresa Velez Outstanding Mentoring Award | These awards recognize individuals who have shown an outstanding commitment to contributing to a mentoring culture at the University. Awards are given in two categories each year: Outstanding Faculty Mentoring and Outstanding Staff Mentoring. They are named for Maria Teresa Velez, former associate dean of the Graduate College, who was known for her commitment to promoting graduate student diversity and inclusion. Velez died in 2017.

Outstanding Faculty Mentoring Award
Lucinda Rankin
Associate Professor
Department of Physiology

Rankin is the associate director of the department's Ina Gittings Undergraduate Program and founder of PhysioWorks, a program that helps connect physiology undergraduates to volunteer, job shadowing and networking opportunities on and off campus. She joined the University faculty in 1993. One nominator praised Rankin's leadership of the University's Physiology Honors Academy, which supports students working on their honors thesis and includes "a mentoring program where students can 'drop in' or reach out via email with any questions they have about campus life, resources and academics." Another nominator called Rankin a "master teacher and an innovator in classroom teaching methods," adding that she embraced "active and collaborative learning before these terms became popular."

Outstanding Staff Mentoring Award
Karla Cruze-Silva
Senior Manager for Student Success
Thrive Center

Cruze-Silva joined the University in 2015. She oversees multiple programs for Thrive Center, which has a mission to help students navigate the University experience, especially those from communities historically underrepresented on college campuses. "Karla's heart and care for each person exudes through every interaction. This genuine approach creates a trust and bond that makes her an outstanding mentor," one nominator wrote. "Karla has given me guidance on how to navigate professional spaces as a woman of color," another nominator wrote. "She has provided direct examples and explanations on how to center historically marginalized students in our work, and she has supported me in achieving my goals outside professional spaces."

The winners of the Edith Sayre Auslander Vision Awards and the Maria Teresa Velez Outstanding Mentoring Awards are usually honored in the spring at the Inclusive Excellence Awards ceremony. The event was canceled this year due to COVID-19.

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