Honoring the people and programs championing diversity at the University

Honoring the people and programs championing diversity at the University

By Andy OberUniversity Communications
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From left: Leona Davis, program coordinator, Earth Grant; Adriana Kong Romeo, senior vice president and Tucson market president, Bank of America; Maribel Alvarez, interim associate vice provost for diversity and inclusion; University President Robert C. Robbins; Denis Provencher, professor of French and Francophone studies; and Colin Tidwell, doctoral student in the Department of Psychology. (Photo by Dominic Ortega)
From left: Leona Davis, program coordinator, Earth Grant; Adriana Kong Romeo, senior vice president and Tucson market president, Bank of America; Maribel Alvarez, interim associate vice provost for diversity and inclusion; University President Robert C. Robbins; Denis Provencher, professor of French and Francophone studies; and Colin Tidwell, doctoral student in the Department of Psychology. (Photo by Dominic Ortega)
The awards were presented May 3 at an in-person ceremony at the Student Union Memorial Center.
The awards were presented May 3 at an in-person ceremony at the Student Union Memorial Center.

The University honored individuals and programs working to strengthen diversity and inclusion on campus and beyond with Inclusive Excellence Awards. The awards, presented by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, were celebrated during an in-person ceremony on May 3 at the Student Union Memorial Center's Tucson Room.

"This year's awards recognize service in the areas of compassionate teaching and international solidarity with LGBTQ communities, LGBTQ mental health and wellness, and care for the environment by amplifying the role of leadership of emerging BIPOC leaders in the sustainability field," said President Robert C. Robbins, who took part in the ceremony. "To each winner and their families, mentors and colleagues: Congratulations. You make us proud Wildcats."

The annual awards, which are selected by committee from among a pool of nominations from University employees and students, come with a $500 professional development stipend.

The winners are listed below.

Richard Ruiz Diversity Leadership Faculty Award
Given to someone who made a significant contribution to embed diversity and inclusiveness into a structural or institutional aspect of the University, either through policies or procedures. The winner must demonstrate dedication toward retaining and recruiting diverse faculty, staff and students, fostering equality of opportunity, and creating a welcoming and supportive campus climate. The award is named for the late Richard Ruiz, former head of the Department of Mexican American Studies and professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies.

Denis Provencher
Professor of French and Francophone Studies
Department of French and Italian

One of Provencher's nominators praised his work as department head from 2016-2021, saying, "I knew in applying that, if I were to come here, I would have a department head who would be particularly supportive of my work on trans-affirming and gender-just language pedagogies and related topics." Another said Provencher, who joined the University in 2016, "can charm donors, mentor international doctoral students, provide the warmest of welcomes to guest speakers and prospective colleagues, and energetically engage with colleagues about pressing scholarly questions – all skills that testify to his generative and connectional self-possession."

Peter W. Likins Inclusive Excellence Awards
These awards were created to recognize students and programs that help create an inclusive environment by fostering equality, encouraging diverse perspectives, and working on recruitment and retention of a diverse campus community. The award is named for President Emeritus Peter Likins, who led the University from 1997 to 2006.

Program Award | Arizona Institute for Resilient Environments and Societies Earth Grant Program

Earth Grant is a year-long leadership and professional development program for diverse cohorts of University students pursuing careers in environment, sustainability and community resilience. "Recognizing that the environmental field has historically been an overwhelmingly white male sector, the program pairs up promising leaders consistently underrepresented in the environmental sector with a professional mentor through a paid internship at the mentor's organization, business or government agency," said Maribel Alvarez, interim associate vice provost of diversity and inclusion. One of the program's nominators stated that the Earth Grant program "enhances underrepresented students' retention and educational experience while at UArizona and equips them to develop as leaders and launch successful careers in environmental resilience after graduation." Earth Grant was launched in fall 2021.

Student Award | Colin Tidwell, Department of Psychology

Colin Tidwell is a second-year clinical doctoral student in the Department of Psychology. One of his nominators praised his work to make the department more inclusive, including an effort to designate a gender-inclusive restroom in the Psychology building and advocating for the use of pronouns in department website bios and physical badges. Another wrote, "Colin is truly a rising star in both the impact of his research on mental health risk and protective factors of LGBTQ+ youth, and in his leadership within the Department, the U of A, and the broader community."

The office also presented Bank of America with a special Inclusive Excellence Champion award in recognition of its sponsorship of the University's inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Symposium, held in January.

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