Office of the Provost recognizes faculty diversity initiatives

Yvonne Kim, Assistant Campus Editor

Multiple faculty members were recognized this week for their work on diversity initiatives at Northwestern, receiving a total of nearly $165,000 through the Office of the Provost, the University announced.

The awards were created to recognize and promote efforts by faculty to foster diversity among undergraduates, according to a news release. The Provost Award for Faculty Excellence in Diversity and Equity was awarded for the first time this year, granting $5,000 each to Profs. Loren Ghiglione and E. Patrick Johnson. An additional 12 faculty groups and individuals received the Provost Grants for Faculty Innovation in Diversity and Equity, with grants ranging from $5,000 to $20,000.

Johnson, chair of African-American Studies in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, is the founder and director of the Black Arts Initiative, a project that fosters an interdisciplinary approach to black arts. Ghiglione, who first became involved in inclusion efforts through his involvement with the Native American Outreach and Inclusion Task Force in 2014, is a member of the Native American and Indigenous Peoples Steering Group.

Ghiglione said though he is still unsure how to allocate the award money, some of his future goals include increasing outreach to tribal colleges, assisting in the creation of a research center for Native issues and creating a space — similar to the Black House — for Native students and communities.

“The Native community was virtually invisible (when I first came to the University),” said Ghiglione, who first taught at Northwestern in 2001. “It’s still a challenge because the Native community is so small in terms of numbers, but it’s less invisible than it was. … It seems there is certainly more effort being made, and that’s important.”

Among the recipients of the Provost Grants was Communication Prof. Aymar Jean Christian. Christian is the founder of Open TV, an online platform for independent artists he started after researching media development and distribution on the web.

“I thought, ‘Why don’t I create my own platform specifically focused on the exploration of intersectionality?’” Christian said. “Making small-scale, local, identity-based television actually leads to further innovation and expands our understanding of television.”

He described Open TV as a platform “specifically focused on the exploration of intersectionality.”

Profs. Marcelo Worsley, Anne Marie Piper and Liz Gerber were also recipients of the award for their work developing “Making and Inclusivity,” a seminar-style class to develop prototypes for people with disabilities.

Worsley, a SESP and McCormick professor, said the goal of the class is to “promote accessibility” and “address concerns and challenges that people who have special needs may have.”

“It’s a matter of equity,” he said. “A number of these spaces and the way they’re set up and the tools that they have available aren’t accessible to everyone.”

The Provost Awards and Provost Grants will continue to be awarded annually, according to the news release.

Jonah Dylan contributed reporting.

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