Five faculty members have received 2021 Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Awards for their contributions to the development of a culturally and ethnically diverse University of Michigan community.
Established in 1996, the annual award is given by the Office of the Provost in honor of Harold Johnson, dean emeritus of the School of Social Work.
This year’s recipients are:
- Maisie Gholson
- Rogério Meireles Pinto
- Daicia Price
- Yeidy Rivero
- Herbert Winful
The following profiles were compiled from information submitted in award nomination letters:
Gholson, assistant professor of educational studies in the School of Education, has worked to advance a just and equitable society through education.
A scholar of mathematics education, she examines through a Black feminist framework how identities and relational ties to mathematics, peers and teachers create different developmental trajectories and learning opportunities within mathematics contexts. She investigates that which is often dismissed as superfluous to mathematics: children’s social relationships and networks.
In 2019, Gholson launched the Race and Social Justice Institute, in which members build literacies to support research and teaching centered on educational justice. She mentors students committed to diversity and social justice, and works to enhance the success of students of diverse cultural and racial backgrounds.
Gholson integrates her dedication to equity and social justice into her courses. Practicing the self-authorship that students engage in through the RSJI, she provides authentic feedback as an instructor who creates space for students’ personal reflection and development. She also uses various technology, multimedia tools and unique activities to engage students.
Gholson’s other contributions include serving as the faculty lead for the Secondary Mathematics Educator Preparation Program and as the Wolverine Pathways mathematics education faculty liaison and curriculum team lead.
Elizabeth Birr Moje, dean of the School of Education, George Herbert Mead Collegiate Professor of Education and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, wrote that Gholson “has made an incredible impact on the students, faculty and overall community culture in the School of Education. In turn, she empowers others to intellectually and skillfully address issues of race and social justice in their own realms of influence.”
Rogério Meireles Pinto
Pinto, professor and associate dean for research and innovation in the School of Social Work, helps minority researchers and students develop the emotional, informational and tangible support needed to navigate academia, obtain tenure and promotions, and become independently funded.
Pinto grew up in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, during a dictatorship. He trained there as a biologist before moving to New York City, where he lived as an undocumented immigrant, earned a master’s degree and Ph.D., and provided HIV-prevention, substance misuse and community organizing services to immigrants and racial, ethnic and sexual minorities.
Pinto’s contributions to a culturally and ethnically diverse campus and society reflect his personal identities and research. Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, his community-engaged research impacts delivery of evidence-based services (HIV and drug-use prevention) to racial, ethnic and sexual minorities in the United States and Brazil.
Pinto has also conducted art-based scholarly research, showing that critical dialogue around gender-identity and sexual orientation can help prejudiced people feel greater empathy toward LGBTQIA+ people and women. He recently held a series of 13 online events, called COVID and Stigma, that included discussions with activists, scholars and students and took an intersectional, justice-focused approach to the pandemic.
In addition, Pinto has served as chair and co-chair of the School of Social Work Faculty Allies for Diversity Committee and is involved in myriad governance and scientific committees.
“Pinto’s contributions help create a better climate in our school and advance social justice, equity and inclusion across the university,” wrote Beth Sherman, clinical associate professor of social work.
Price, clinical assistant professor of social work, demonstrates an ongoing commitment to underserved populations. She strives to build bridges between scholarship and practice within the field of social work by engaging with partners on campus and across southeast Michigan.
Price is studying the impact of COVID-19 and mental health in communities of color as she pursues her Ph.D. in urban education at Eastern Michigan University.
Before joining the School of Social Work, Price worked at the Wayne County Mental Health Authority. She became the liaison to the school’s Office of Field Education for the Detroit Clinical Scholars, cultivating field placements for master’s students to serve vulnerable populations. Price also created a training program that taught clinical social work skills and anti-racist practices.
At U-M, Price has participated in committees to center justice within the curriculum and the School of Social Work community. She has also been a leader in the Undoing Racism workgroup and serves as the faculty adviser for the student organization Black Radical Healing Pathways.
Price is known for bringing high levels of energy and enthusiasm to her work and for using her personal and professional experiences to inspire students, staff, faculty and community partners. Students of color respect Price as an educator and leader, and because she intentionally seeks them out to offer support and guidance.
“We believe that Daicia Price encompasses this award’s spirit and is the consummate social worker living our profession’s values every day in her professional pursuits and commitments to the communities she lives in and serves,” wrote Daniel Fischer, clinical assistant professor, assistant dean and director of field education in the School of Social Work, and several colleagues.
Rivero, professor and chair of film, television and media, and professor of American culture, is committed to bringing attention to otherwise unheard voices.
Rivero’s work sits at the juncture of media studies, Latino/a studies, feminist theory and communications, addressing critical issues around identity, race, gender and class in modern media. She has played an important role in building the subfield of Latin American and Latina/o television studies through attention to understudied regions of the world and interdisciplinary methods of research and analysis.
Rivero was director in the Latina/o Studies Program and as department chair has made significant strides in diversifying the film, television and media faculty.
She has organized events to address the needs of diverse communities. For example, she recently hosted an innovative event that brought together a critical studies scholar and a production artist-practitioner who engaged in an in-depth discussion about how race and gender influence access to Hollywood. She also implemented a forum series in which faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, staff and community members discussed contemporary critical issues affecting Latinas/os.
Rivero’s commitment to bringing attention to otherwise unheard voices is reflected in her undergraduate and graduate teaching. She created a Wolverine Pathways summer program for K-12 students from under-resourced backgrounds who are interested in film and TV.
“Dr. Rivero has made broad, long-lasting, varied, innovative, and impactful accomplishments in advancing DEI through her leadership, scholarship, teaching, mentorship, and outreach. She is committed to addressing events of deep, personal significance for marginalized communities,” wrote Fiona Lee, associate dean for diversity, equity, inclusion and professional development, professor of psychology and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, LSA.
Winful, the Joseph E. and Anne P. Rowe Professor of Electrical Engineering, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, and professor of electrical engineering, computer science and physics, has worked at all levels of the university and beyond to realize and promote the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion. His approach includes helping as many people as possible advance in STEM-based careers.
Winful was a member of the initial steering committee and committee chair of the STEM-Africa Initiative. The committee focused on creating an environment in Africa to encourage and support developing scientists and facilitate international collaborations. He helped organize STEM conferences at U-M and in Africa to foster U.S.-Africa scientific exchange and to identify candidates for the U-M African Presidential Scholars Program.
He was also involved in Excellence in Higher Education for Liberian Development, a consortium of three universities that assisted the University of Liberia in re-creating its engineering program, which had been obliterated by civil war and the 2014-15 ebola outbreak.
Winful served as founder and chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Division’s Committee for an Inclusive Department, as a Rackham Faculty Ally for Diversity, and as a College of Engineering DEI Department Lead. He has been a faculty adviser to the Graduate Society of Black Engineers and Scientists for more than 20 years.
“Professor Winful’s enthusiasm for the university and its potential combined with his years-long efforts to cultivate a culture of diversity, openness and inclusiveness within UM and beyond make him an ideal candidate for this award,” wrote Duncan Steel, Robert J. Hiller Professor of Electrical Engineering and professor of physics.
I’m so glad there’s an award to highlight the remarkable work of people like this year’s five recipients. Reading about their work with students and communities as well as their scholarship blew me away.