The University Diversity and Inclusion Awards recognize individuals and departments that foster greater awareness, understanding and advancement of diversity and inclusiveness at TU.
Staff, faculty and department awards will occur during the Annual Staff Awards Ceremony. Student awards will occur at the Student Affairs Awards Ceremony. Award recipient names are added to a plaque in the Administration Building.
Nominees (individual and department) must have demonstrated a significant contribution toward creating a diverse and inclusive TU community through the implementation of policies, procedures, initiatives and or programs in one or more of the following areas:
How has the nominee(s) demonstrated superior leadership and commitment to the enhancement, development and sustainability of diversity and inclusive excellence?
How does the activity uniquely address key issues of diversity and inclusiveness throughout TU and or the TU community? How is this activity different from existing activities and projects that address diversity and inclusiveness?
What have been the measurable outcomes? Has this project/program/activity been replicated at other institutions? How has this project/program/activity “moved the needle” in addressing issues of diversity and inclusiveness throughout the university and the TU community?
Areas of achievement to consider when nominating individuals and or departments:
Robert Tappan, PhD, Associate Professor, Philosophy and Religious Studies
Dr. Tappan ensures his students receive a quality education. He makes all course materials accessible to students with visual and physical impairments and works with others on and off campus to provide students with course materials. Dr. Tappan always welcomed students in his classes regardless of the accessibility challenges. For an assigned class video, Dr. Tappan took initiative, and in collaboration with other students, revised the transcript so that students who were visually impaired could fully experience the film.
Dr. Tappan also advocated to help make a graphic novel accessible, working with Accessibility and Disability Services to affect the change and ensuring accessibility to audio description for multiple films. He proactively reaches out to authors and publishers in an attempt to obtain accessible Word files for assigned readings.
As one student said, “No student should be told they cannot take a course and Dr. Tappan will always work with students ensuring a quality education is gained within his courses”. Dr. Tappan efforts for making all of his courses diverse and inclusive through engaging discussions, self-initiation, and increasing accessibility is a gold standard.
Faculty Honorable Mention: Tavia La Follette, Ph.D., Department of Theatre Arts
Dena Barnwell, Auxiliary Services
Dena has been active in both the Black Faculty and Staff Association (BFSA) and the Women Faculty and Staff Association (WFSA) as a member and Executive Board representative. She has simultaneously acted as event planner, programs coordinator, secretary and membership outreach representative. Dena has organized and led many health workshops for the BFSA which included presenting on work-life balance and tangible ways to eat healthy and stay physically active.
Dena has also lead meetings for BFSA focused on the benefits of sleep and mental health. Her work not only extends to BFSA members, but to the university at large. In summer of 2018, she led and organized a professional development series for all employees of TU. Topics included Career Development Essentials, Black at a PWI, and Pursuing Education while Working: Maximizing the Tuition Remission Benefit. She works intensely to find speakers and event locations for all events. Dena’s insight, creativity, and passion for inclusion, social justice, and healthy lifestyle is notable. Dena continues to push the BFSA group forward, creating new ways to build bridges with faculty, staff, and students.
Staff Honorable Mention:
Electronic Media and Film, Michael Angelella, Department Chair
The Department of Electronic Media and Film (EMF) believes in and exemplifies working collectively across the department to advance diversity and inclusiveness of underrepresented populations and bring tangible results. Here are a few highlights of the department’s programs and initiatives:
EMF also welcomed visiting artist, Clarence Gilyard, NAACP Image Award winner and co-star of television's "Walker, Texas Ranger" as a teacher in co-sponsorship with the Department of Theatre. The department also has had consecutive faculty awarded TU Diversity and Inclusion Fellowships, served as advisors to The Lunch Table (female students of color), and produces the Silver Screen Radio on WTMD radio, co-hosted by Dr. Kalima Young.
Academic Department Honorable Mention: Department of Communication Studies
New Student and Family Programs, Katie Murray, Director
New Student and Family Programs takes a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion very seriously and weaves that work throughout everything they do. The department overhauled their Orientation Leader recruitment, interviewing, and selection in order to best represent TU’s diverse student body and ensure every student and their family feels welcomed by the orientation team. Professional staff and student leaders underwent training to ensure the interview and selection process was equitable, resulting in a more diverse Orientation Leader team for 2020.
The Orientation Leader team is now among the most racially diverse student leadership teams that the office has recruited and hired. The office also experienced a 100% increase in Latinx and APIDA identified students, as well as a 37.5% of transfer students on the team. These demographic shifts have a significant impact on the university with 9,000 students and their families seeing themselves represented within the Orientation Leader team.
Beyond representation, a new hiring process specifically trained upper-division student leaders on equitable hiring practices and inclusivity during the interview process. A new training program was implemented for student leaders to observe group interviews on implicit bias and how to be an equitable observer. Rubrics were re-written to include “likability” as an observable quality to mitigate the over-reliance on “fit” as a hiring factor which perpetuates homogeneous teams and decreases diversity. The commitment to equitable hiring of student leaders is at the forefront of comparable programs at the institution.
Administrative Department Honorable Mention:
Academic Department Winner: Study Abroad and Away Office, Representative Liz Shearer
Administrative Department Winner: Housing and Residence Life, Representative(s) Malinda Jensen and Christina Olstad
Staff Winner: Tasha Benn, Career Center
Faculty Winner: Elana Ehrlich, PhD and Michelle Snyder, PhD, Department of Biological Sciences
Graduate Student Winner: April Jones
Faculty: Brenda Conley PhD, Instructional Leadership and Professional Development
Academic Department: University Archives and Special Collections, Albert S. Cook Library
Faculty Research: Beth Haller, Mass Communication and Communication Studies
Staff: Sharlene Roberson, Fisher College of Science and Mathematics
Administrative Department: Towson University Police Department
Student: Natalie Shaheen (graduate) and Brian Johnson (undergraduate)
Faculty: Judith Guerrero, Early Childhood Education
Academic Department: Foreign Languages
Faculty Research: Kathryn Kautzman, Chemistry
Staff: Joyce Garcynzski, Albert S. Cook Library
Administrative Department: International Initiatives
Student: Xiomara Gonzalez, Student Government Association
Faculty: Mubina Kirmani PhD, Nursing
Academic Department: Family Studies and Community Development
Faculty Research: Paz Galupo, Psychology
Staff: Santiago Solis, Center for Student Diversity
Administrative Department: Academic Achievement, Athletics
Student: Shane Henise, Career Center
Faculty: Marianne Dunn, Psychology
Academic Department: TU Center for STEM Excellence, Academic Affairs
Faculty Research: Seana Coulter, Career Center
Staff: Joanna Basuray, Nursing
Administrative Department: Total tiger Program, Athletics
Student: Cecile Gadson, Center for Student Diversity
Faculty: Elsa Lankford, Electronic Media and Film
Academic Department: Special Education, Academic Affairs
Faculty Research: Mary Beth Merryman, Occupational Therapy and Occupational Science
Staff: Gail Gasparich, Biological Sciences
Administrative Department: University Admissions, Academic Affairs
Student: Samantha Hubbard, Student Government Association
Faculty: Elizabeth Clifford, Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice
Academic Department: Albert S. Cook Library, Academic Affairs
Faculty Research: Gilda Alba-Martinez PhD, Learning Technologies, Design and School Library Media
Staff: Annie C. McMahon, Towson Opportunities in STEM
Administrative Department: Office of Human Resources, Administration and Finance
Student: Sean Phelan, University Residence Government
Faculty: Katherine Broadwater, Art
Academic Department: Dance, College of Fine Arts and Communication
Faculty Research: Theresa A. Adkins, Secondary Education
Staff: G. Lonnie McNew, Enrollment Management
Administrative Department: Photographic Services, University Advancement
Student: Courtney L. Cox, Student Government Association