The 2014 winners of the Center for the Education of Women’s Carol Hollenshead Award for Excellence in Promoting Equity and Social Change are Kathleen Donohoe, associate director of human resources for policy, and Dorceta Taylor, professor of environmental sociology.
The Carol Hollenshead Award, honoring retired CEW director Hollenshead, is awarded annually to faculty or staff — either individuals or groups — whose sustained efforts have resulted in greater equity in regard to gender, race, class, age, disability, gender identity or sexual orientation.
Donohoe’s commitment to service, justice, and gender and social equity have spanned the length of her 24-year career with the U.S. Coast Guard and 11 years with U-M.
Appointed the first director of the university’s Sexual Harassment Policy Office in 1999, Donohoe has educated the U-M community on ways to prevent, recognize and respond to sexual harassment. She vigilantly investigated incidents reported by faculty, staff and students.
She was one of the chief architects of the university’s award-winning “Abuse Hurts: Recognize, Respond and Refer” program, which delivers training on abuse recognition and prevention, and provides educational and sustaining support.
Since 2007, Donohoe has served as associate director of policy in University Human Resources. She manages the creation, review and implementation of the university’s human resources policies and practices — making it her mission to create policies that serve everyone, and are effective, just and understandable.
Donohoe exemplifies servant leadership in her role as a member of Safehouse Center’s board of directors, whose mission is to build communities free of domestic and sexual violence. She maintains the focus on survivors while strategically strengthening the institutional systems at the university and in the greater community to confront the impacts of violence against women.
Taylor founded and directs the Multicultural Environmental Leadership Development Initiative, which promotes diversity in the environmental movement and in the leadership of environmental organizations.
She started MELDI in 2002 to help those with no ties to traditional environmental networks gain access to them through admission into university environmental programs, as well as internships, jobs and board roles in environmental organizations.
In addition to providing career resources, the MELDI website highlights outstanding achievements by minorities in the environmental field, and includes directories, maps and databases on food insecurity, as well as databases of environmental justice researchers worldwide.
Taylor encourages students and faculty to be community activists by using their research to meaningfully address environmental issues. Her courses explore themes of social inequality, poverty, mobilization, and environment, emphasizing active, field-based engagement.
Her research has helped diffuse stereotypes and legitimized claims of environmental racism and discrimination. It also supports policies that enhance quality of life in minority and poor communities.
One example is her work with Growing Hope, a successful Ypsilanti community garden initiative. Taylor structured her research grant so low-income community residents are full partners rather than subjects to be studied. Community representatives participate on the advisory board and in research meetings and have great leeway in designing the community project.
This year’s Hollenshead Award will be presented May 14 at a conference reception preceding a keynote by Sheryl WuDunn of the Half the Sky movement. WuDunn’s address is part of a three-day interdisciplinary conference on Women and Economic Security that will focus on identifying and combating barriers faced by women living in poverty.
Additional information on the conference, along with registration, is available at the CEW website.