As part of the university’s continued commitment to promote diversity, equity and inclusion, four University of Michigan professors have been named recipients of the University Diversity and Social Transformation Professorship.

Established in 2019, the UDSTP recognizes senior faculty who have shown a commitment to the university’s ideals of diversity, equity, and inclusion through their scholarship, teaching, or service and engagement.

Vincent Hutchings, Amy Schulz, Daphne C. Watkins and Camille Wilson each was nominated by a U-M dean, selected by a university committee and recommended by the provost for this distinction. The Board of Regents approved the appointments July 16.

“These faculty members have demonstrable impact in their disciplines,” said Susan Collins, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “It is truly gratifying to recognize and support these distinguished scholars.”

Joining the inaugural cohort of UDSTP professors, this year’s recipients will maintain their appointments for five years. They also will receive special faculty fellow status at the National Center for Institutional Diversity and spend at least one semester as a faculty fellow-in-residence.

“The University Diversity and Social Transformation Professors are exceptionally accomplished senior scholars who, throughout their careers as faculty, have made significant contributions to knowledge innovation and production,” said NCID Director Tabbye Chavous, professor of education and psychology.

“They all have created and led intellectually grounded and impactful practices and programs to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education, in their disciplines and fields, and in a variety of local, national, and global communities.”

In addition to recognizing their individual achievements in the area of DEI, the UDSTP is also designed to create a community of faculty members who have a set of overlapping scholarly, pedagogical and engagement interests aimed at developing exciting new collaborations and ideas.

“The work of these outstanding faculty members has been truly transformative for our campus and society more broadly,” said Robert Sellers, vice provost for equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer. “The achievements over decades of scholarship, teaching, and service have distinguished these recipients as among those who have long been committed to issues of equity and access.”

The professorship is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, and jointly administered by the NCID and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

About the recipients

Vincent Hutchings is the Hanes Walton Jr. Collegiate Professor of Political Science and Afroamerican and African Studies, professor of political science, and Afroamerican and African Studies, LSA; and research professor in the Center for Political Studies, Institute for Social Research. He teaches courses that focus on American government and politics and race/ethnicity in politics.

Hutchings’ general interests include public opinion, elections, voting behavior and African-American politics. Hutchings also studies how the size of the African-American constituency in congressional districts can influence legislative responsiveness to Black interests.

Amy Schulz is a professor of health behavior and health education, School of Public Health. Her research focuses on social factors that contribute to health with a particular focus on social and physical environmental factors and their effects on health, health equity and urban health.

Schulz has been involved in working with Detroit partners to understand and address factors that contribute to excess risk of cardiovascular disease in Detroit, conduct health impact assessments of proposed policies, and develop public health action plans to reduce air pollution and promote health in Detroit and the surrounding area.

Daphne C. Watkins is a professor of social work and director of the Vivian A. and James L. Curtis Center for Health Equity Research and Training, School of Social Work; and faculty associate in the Research Center for Group Dynamics, Institute for Social Research. She studies gender disparities and mental health over the adult life course using mixed methods research approaches.

To date, her research has focused on understanding the social determinants of health that explain within group differences among Black men, developing evidence-based strategies to improve the physical and mental health of Black men, and increasing knowledge about the intersection of culture, ethnicity, age and gender.

Camille Wilson is a professor of education, School of Education. Her research explores school-family-community engagement and transformative leadership as they relate to urban education reform and policy.

Wilson’s current research explores the educational activism of adult and youth community organizers in Detroit. She and her CREATE (Community-based Research on Equity, Activism, and Transformative Education) research team are working to identify how democratic, equity-oriented, and community driven approaches to public educational improvement can be increased and sustained.

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