Samantha Hubbard (2014 Psychology/Sociology) found her calling as a Sophomore within student groups, with which many of these would later become an extended family to her. Among these were the Feminist Collective, Queer Student Union, In the Life, and the College Democrats of Towson. Throughout her sophomore year she dedicated her career to supporting women’s rights by creating events with the counseling center, the Feminist Collective, and the women’s resource center. In 2012, she pushed for LGBT equality by becoming a Pride Mentor, joining the Speakers Bureau Program, and having a heavy involvement in both QSU and In the Life, ultimately winning the Center for Student Diversity’s Emerging Leader Award for outstanding contribution to the TU LGBT community.
She began junior year as Vice-President of In the Life, a student group dedicated to creating a space for LGBT students of color. She is also one of the two co-coordinators of the Pride Mentor Program, serves on the executive cabinet of the Student Government Association (SGA) as Director of Diversity Outreach and is a member of the Diversity Action Committee which is comprised of faculty and administrators.
This spring, she has already coordinated several events for the Pride Mentor Program: Out! To Dance, a screening of a LGBT documentary, and Queer After Hours 2013. She will be working with Assoc. Dir. for LGBT Development in planning “Bmore Proud” and other activities.
President's Diversity Award for Staff Member
Dr. Gail E. Gasparich is the Associate Dean of the Fisher College of Science and Mathematics, Professor of Biological Sciences and Director of the Women in Science Program. Her commitment to diversity began early. She was part of the faculty team that created TU's Women in Science Program (WIS) in 1998, and she has led the program ever since. WIS hosts an annual WIS Symposium that reaches about 100 students and faculty members. Dr. Gasparich has also developed three courses - Biology of Women; Women, Gender & Science; and Women, Society & Radiation Science.
She was the Principal Investigator for TU's National Science Foundation ADVANCE (Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Careers) grant. Using the results of the ADVANCE grant project and examining best practices nationally, she drafted the FCSM Family and Medical Responsibility Faculty Workload Guidelines which were approved in 2012.
Gail convened a faculty committee that drafted the FCSM Diversity Action Plan and as a result. Departments annually report the outcomes of their action plans. As a liaison between academics and athletics, Dr. Gasparich also monitors students' academic success and conducts exit interviews with each exiting student athlete.
President's Diversity Award for Faculty Member(research)
Dr. Mary Beth Merryman is a Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy & Occupational Science. Her teaching, research, and service focus broadly on mental health issues of individuals and communities, and advocacy at the individual, community and systems levels. Among the ways she integrates these roles has been to collaborate with campus and community agencies to lead anti-stigma trainings for students, university staff, first responders and human service personnel, and study the effects of training on knowledge and attitudes towards mental illness. In addition, for the past three years she was co-investigator with Towson colleagues to explore the psychosocial effects of youth empowerment programming on at-risk middle school youth.
She wants to recognize those who participated in her research projects by sharing their experiences of daily life with mental illness or the social challenges of poverty that benefited others’ understanding of what supports and impedes mental health and well-being.
President's Diversity Award for Faculty Member(general)
Ms. Elsa Lankford’s contributions to advancing diversity and equality on campus and in the Baltimore community are certainly numerous. Five years ago, she created the Women and Minorities in Media Festival (WAMM FEST), and has been leading the effort to develop it from a Towson University student media festival to an internationally publicized festival, which receives professional and amateur submissions from all over the world. She has also created several service-learning courses that regularly allow her audio students opportunities for field work and interaction within Baltimore schools. For seven years, she has been teaching and engaging with middle school students from Chinquapin, which is now the Baltimore IT Academy. Because her work is primarily with minority students, she has discovered an excellent way to reach out to different communities in the City under the TU banner.
Since 2009, she has created and developed an Interdisciplinary Fine Arts Seminar - Homelessness in Baltimore City - a field-based, interdisciplinary service learning course, which is taught through a partnership with Project Plase, an organization that has been housing Baltimore's most vulnerable citizens for over 35 years.
Ms. Lankford’s clearly exhibits passion for and unflagging commitment to inclusion, justice and peace with diversity and equality as the underpinning of those precious commodities.
President's Diversity Award for Administrative Department
University Admissions is dedicated to recruiting and enrolling the most diverse group of students possible and has accomplished this goal by striving to “Be the Diversity” that they want to see. Their portfolio of recruitment efforts include recruitment initiatives include veterans, older adults, Jewish recruitment, Hispanic students, the LGBTQIA community, and international cohorts. They have a vigorously successful outreach and recruitment program within urban, metropolitan, and historically diverse areas continue in order to bridge achievement gaps through personalized service.
University Admissions’ goal is to continue to diversify themselves in order to effectively respond to the growing needs of prospective students and assist any student to succeed and find their place at Towson University.
President's Diversity Award for Academic Department
Special Education, under the immediate leadership of Dr. Beth Neville, Department has promoted an inclusive understanding of diversity, institutionalized use of activities and resources addressing diversity in all special education courses, and substantially improved teacher candidates' awareness of diversity, according to departmental assessment data. In 2009, Department faculty collaborated to create a departmental definition of diversity which has been used to guide selection of instructional materials and course focus areas. In 2010, the Department identified focus areas including diversity and established a standing diversity committee to facilitate increased awareness of diversity among faculty and students. From 2008 through 2011, pre-service special education teacher candidates demonstrated a substantial overall growth in their self-assessment of their knowledge of diversity related issues, measured through annual departmental assessments.
Departmental faculty continues to collaborate with local school system personnel to develop a
certificate in culturally responsive special education practices, focusing on skills and competencies needed to serve students from backgrounds of cultural, linguistic,
socioeconomic, or ethnic diversity.