April 08, 2011

Employees, Students Honored for Commitment to Diversity

diversityThe Third Annual Inclusion & Diversity Achievement Award Luncheon is quickly approaching—April 14 at 11:30 a.m. in Thwing Ballroom—and the award winners have been selected. These individuals were chosen due to their commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion on and off campus, be it through teaching, service or research.

The winners are:

  • Faculty Excellence Award: Susan W. Hinze, associate professor of sociology and director of women's and gender studies
  • Staff Leadership Award: Teona Griggs, director of Student Services, Diversity and Inclusion for Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing
  • Undergraduate Student Excellence Award: Sai Santosh Kumar Kolluru, a junior mechanical engineering student
  • Graduate Student Excellence Award: Susan E. Smalling, PhD candidate in social welfare

Hinze was nominated for the award, which recognizes contributions or efforts made toward enhancing the goals of diversity, equity, inclusion and multiculturalism at the university, for her dedication to issues related to inequalities of race, ethnicity, social class, gender, sexuality and parental status. For example, her published research has been on gender biases in medicine, and recent publications highlight how race, ethnicity and social class influence physician decision-making.

Griggs, who has worked in various positions in the nursing school for 24 years, earned the staff award due to her regular work on the subject—from guest lecturing on the importance of diversity in the nursing profession to working as a liaison for minority students to ensuring supplier diversity. The staff award recognizes a staff member who promotes a culture of inclusion and also a culture that enhances human dignity, actively diminishes prejudice and discrimination and improves the quality of life for the entire community.

As founder and president of the university’s chapter of Hindu YUVA, Kolluru is dedicated to advancing an interreligious dialogue on campus. “Sai has worked very hard on making CWRU a comfortable and welcoming place for all religions—a diversity that really goes unlooked at here at Case Western [Reserve],” his nominator wrote. “His efforts have proven enlightening to the religious experience of students here at CWRU by highlighting all of the beauty within all religions and with people’s personal choices.” Kolluru perfectly aligned with the award’s requirements: demonstrated leadership and commitment toward diversity, inclusion and multiculturalism through academic excellence, service, volunteerism and/or research.

Finally, Smalling’s recognition—awarded to a graduate or professional student who met similar criteria to the undergraduate honor—comes partially due to her research and classroom style. Her course on Theories of Social Justice and Oppression, one nominator wrote, was “the most transformative part of my graduate school experience to date.” Smalling also embodies the inclusive thinking that the award recognizes. “No matter what the subject matter is, Susie prompts students to consider the topics within a variety of cultural contexts,” her nominator wrote. “Whereas so many others focus diversity primarily on race relations, Susie is careful to address sexual orientation, socio-economic class, spiritual and religious orientation, ethnicity, gender, race and ethnicity, age and relevant cultural differences as areas worthy of inclusion and consideration.”

To celebrate with the winners, RSVP for the luncheon at diversity-rsvp@case.edu.

Posted by: Emily Mayock, April 8, 2011 09:20 AM | News Topics:

Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.