Diversity and Inclusion Grants awarded​

Committee gives eight grants totaling nearly $174,000

A project to support Washington University in St. Louis faculty and staff who work with students from underrepresented minority groups and an internship program for underrepresented minorities that could lead to a career in a technology field are among the winning proposals of the university’s Diversity and Inclusion Grants program for 2011-12.

The Advisory Committee for the Diversity and Inclusion Grants has awarded eight grants totaling nearly $174,000 to Washington University faculty and administrators for initiatives that improve the university environment for women and members of underrepresented minority groups.

Faculty and administrators submitted 16 proposals for program initiatives that strengthen and promote diversity and inclusion at WUSTL. Diversity includes differences in gender, race, ethnicity, geography, socioeconomic status, age, politics, philosophy, disability and sexual orientation.

The Office of the Provost funds the Diversity and Inclusion Grant program. Now in its third year, the program has awarded almost $600,000 in grant money for 29 projects.

Funding for the selected projects is one-time only, and awards range in size up to a maximum of $30,000.

“We are continuing to get innovative and ambitious proposals that themselves reflect the diversity of interests in making our campus more inclusive,” says Adrienne D. Davis, JD, vice provost and the William M. Van Cleve Professor of Law and co-chair of the Advisory Committee for the Diversity and Inclusion Grants. “I think of the grants as democratizing diversity.”

“The quality of the proposals was impressive, and I am hopeful that these grants have the potential to significantly enhance diversity on campus,” says Kathleen B. McDermott, PhD, professor of psychology in Arts & Sciences and the advisory committee’s co-chair.

The project team leaders of the winning proposals, amounts awarded and project titles are:

Timothy J. Bono, PhD, assistant dean in the College of Arts & Sciences and lecturer in the Department of Psychology, $22,000 for “Supporting Faculty and Staff Who Work With Students of Color.”

Koong-Nah Chung, PhD, associate dean and director of medical student research in the School of Medicine, $30,000 for “Training of Meharry Medical College Medical Students in the Washington University School of Medicine’s Summer Research Program.”

Heather L. Hageman, director of educational planning and program assessment and director of the standardized patient program in the Office of Education at the School of Medicine, $19,450 for “Train-The-Trainer Program on Inclusion.”

Denise R. Hirschbeck, assistant vice chancellor for Information Services and Technology, $30,000 for “Expanding Diversity in Technology: Internship Program for Staffing Technology Positions on Campus.”

Panos Kouvelis, PhD, the Emerson Distinguished Professor of Operations and Manufacturing Management, senior associate dean and director of executive programs, and director of the Boeing Center for Technology, Information & Manufacturing at the Olin Business School, $30,000 for “Olin Business School Women’s Leadership Forum.”

Peter B. MacKeith, associate dean of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and associate professor of architecture, $12,350 for “Empowering Faculty, Staff, and Administrators to Support the Integration of International Graduate and Professional Students into Departmental Communities.”

Leah A. Merrifield, executive director for academic-civic engagement in the Office of Government and Community Relations, $12,000 for “Community Guide to Washington University AND the St. Louis Region.”

Michael W. Sherraden, PhD, the Benjamin E. Youngdahl Professor of Social Development and director of the Center for Social Development, and Molly Tovar, EdD, director of the Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies, both at the Brown School, $18,113 for the “Interdisciplinary Leadership Summit for Faculty, Staff, and Students at Washington University.

Hageman and MacKeith were winning project leaders last year as well.

Bono, who is collaborating on “Supporting Faculty and Staff Who Work With Students From Underrepresented Backgrounds” with Diana Hill, PhD, an assistant dean in the College of Arts & Sciences and lecturer in the Department of Psychology, says their project is intended to provide insight into the experiences of minority students so that faculty and staff who work with them can have a greater understanding of the most appropriate kinds of support they can offer their students as well as the particular times during the semester when that support is most needed.

“The findings have the potential to benefit academic advisers, program managers in the First Year Center, and student group advisors in Campus Life,” Bono says.

“For example, there are faculty and staff advisers for the Association of Black Students and Association of Latin American Students. However, there has been relatively little research conducted to govern the work of faculty and staff who work with these populations. We hope to provide that,” Bono says.

Hirschbeck’s project proposal includes recruiting and training talented individuals in underrepresented groups to learn and use technology skills in a structured business environment.

She says that the goal of her team’s project is to create a framework for on-the-job training and employment of individuals who either have traditionally found it difficult to enter the technology field or for whom a career in technology was not presented to them as an option.

“The Diversity and Inclusion Grant program is an important way for Washington University faculty and administrators to make a difference in promoting diversity and inclusion on campus,” Hirschbeck says.

“Our team feels very fortunate to have been selected to receive this grant. By reaching out to high school graduates and members of the WU community, we will provide a path for individuals who may feel that a career in technology is unattainable,” Hirschbeck says.

“A successful program will result in the recruitment and retention of a diverse group of employees and the delivery of university applications that employ the use of newer technology, including mobile friendly web pages and ‘apps.’”

Other members of the Advisory Committee for the Diversity and Inclusion Grants are:

  • Iver Bernstein, PhD, professor of history, of African and African-American studies and of American culture studies, all in Arts & Sciences;
  • Naomi Daradar Sigg, assistant director of student involvement and leadership in the Office of Student Activities;
  • Dayna Early, MD, professor of medicine in the School of Medicine;
  • Robert G. Hansman, associate professor of architecture in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts;
  • Vetta L. Sanders-Thompson, PhD, associate professor of public health in the Brown School; and
  • Jay R. Turner, PhD, associate professor of energy, environmental and chemical engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Science.

For more information, visit diversity.wustl.edu.