Seven receive Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award


Six faculty members and one professional staff member who have shown dedication to developing cultural and ethnic diversity at U-M have received the 2014 Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award from the Office of the Provost.

The recipients are:

• Ketra L. Armstrong, School of Kinesiology.

• Elizabeth James, Department of Afroamerican and African Studies.

• Mark Moldwin, Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences.

• Edward Sarath, Department of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation.

• Amy Schulz, School of Public Health.

• Denise Sekaquaptewa, Department of Psychology.

• June Manning Thomas, Urban and Regional Planning.

“Now in its 18th year, the Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award continues to draw outstanding individuals to its ranks,” says Lester Monts, senior vice provost for academic affairs. “Through their research, teaching and support of students, these outstanding individuals help advance the university’s commitment to diversity as an essential part of our educational mission.”

Established in 1996, the award is given in honor of Harold Johnson, dean emeritus of the School of Social Work. The award provides $5,000 to recipients to further research scholarship and student service opportunities.

Ketra L. Armstrong

Ketra Armstrong

Armstrong is associate dean for graduate programs and faculty affairs and a professor of sport management in the School of Kinesiology. Her scholarship converges on the topics of race, gender and the social psychology of sport/leisure consumption.

In 2008 she was inducted as a research fellow by the North American Society for Sport Management, and in 2011 was the lead author on “Market Analyses of Race and Sport Consumption,” named among the top 20 articles published in the past 20 years by Sport Marketing Quarterly.

Armstrong is a former NCAA Division I scholarship basketball player, women’s basketball coach and athletic administrator. She is a member of the U-M Diversity Council, the NCAA Gender Equity Task Force, and is the former president of the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport. Armstrong has received a $10,000 grant from Rackham Graduate School to present a Speaker Series/Symposium on Diversity in Kinesiology.

 “Dr. Armstrong has demonstrated her commitment to the mission of diversity, notably based on race/ethnicity and gender,” wrote Ronald Zernicke, professor and dean of the School of Kinesiology. “She is a superior and innovative presenter and teacher and is highly deserving of this recognition.”

Elizabeth James

Elizabeth James

James, program associate at the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, has made significant contributions to the university’s diversity mission. Those contributions include her support for the well-being of students, which has been extensive and of extraordinary caliber.

At DAAS, she assists with the department’s programs and objectives and performs as its outreach coordinator. She schedules and coordinates events and publicizes various campus activities. She also helps coordinate DAAS outreach programs such as study abroad programs and Eco Girls, which helps empower young women while they learn about the environment, and the CEO’s Future U and Wolverine Express initiatives.

James was named Adviser of the Year by the Office of Student Affairs [UR1] and has been awarded the Cornerstone Award from the Black Celebratory, along with other honors for her service and dedication to DAAS and the student community.

James says she most cherishes her work as a committee member for the Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium, one of the most prominent MLK celebrations in the country, and with Camp Michitanki, U-M’s Transplant Center.

Mark Moldwin

Mark Moldwin

Moldwin, professor of space sciences and applied physics in the Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, College of Engineering, has pursued outreach efforts to local and state K-12 schools and teachers by developing collaborations between university faculty, graduate and undergraduate students and teacher professional development programs.

Moldwin has been able to attract grants to support these efforts and is currently working with the CoE Center for Engineering Diversity and Outreach on a NASA-funded partnership with the Ypsilanti Community Schools. One of the goals of Moldwin’s outreach and diversity programs at U-M is to expand his efforts begun at the University of California, Los Angeles, that developed strong programs with local school districts and area science centers that served minority students.

On the President’s Advisory Commission for Women’s Issues, he became the catalyst behind its decision to examine the experiences and status of women students and faculty in the sciences based on gender bias studies.

“Professor Moldwin has an eye for recognizing best practices employed to promote equity and fairness and is a strong advocate for implementing such best practices throughout the institution uniformly in order to promote fair and equitable outcomes,” wrote Gloria D. Thomas, director of the Center for the Education of Women.

Edward Sarath

Edward Sarath

Sarath, professor of music in the Department in Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation, School of Music, Theatre & Dance, champions diverse ways of thinking about music and the world, and has fought to make sure Afrological musical traditions and ways of thinking about music are presented in equal parts to Eurological practices.

Recently, Sarath has given the keynote address to 300 leaders of music schools at the annual meeting of the National Association of Schools of Music, strongly emphasizing the diversity imperative. He is founder and president of the International Society for Improvised Music, a consortium of improvisers from all over the globe. In conjunction with the National Center for Institutional Diversity, in which he is a fellow, he created an initiative called Diversity in Musical Academe.

“There is no one on this campus who has influenced my thinking about diversity more deeply and no one that I know of who has done more to try and introduce diversity in all of its forms to both the School of Music, Theatre and Dance and to the university at large,” wrote Ellen Rowe, professor and chair of the Department of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation.

Amy Schulz

Amy Schulz

Schulz, professor of Health Behavior & Health Education, SPH, and associate director of the Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture and Health, works with public health professionals, researchers and communities of color to examine the social and structural factors associated with health inequities, and to engage in interventions and policy advocacy to eliminate disparities.

Her impact is seen in the type of community-based participatory research conducted at SPH, the extensive funding and scholarly publications that accompany this work, in the diversity of students who are attracted to study with her, and in the school’s positive reputation in local communities of color, particularly in Detroit.

“I am keenly aware of the many ways in which she has enriched the climate of diversity in the University of Michigan School of Public Health. I am also certain that Dr. Schulz’s participatory research activities with low-income populations of color in the City of Detroit have improved the lives of hundreds of Detroiters and have begun to make inroads to reducing the health inequalities that they face,” wrote Richard L. Lichtenstein, S.J. Axelrod Collegiate Professor of Health Management and Policy, SPH.

Denise Sekaquaptewa

Denise Sekaquaptewa

Sekaquaptewa, professor of psychology, Department of Psychology, has in her scholarship, teaching, service and leadership promoted gender and ethnic diversity at U-M and beyond. She has served as a mentor and role model to women undergraduate and graduate students, and is generous in providing students with the opportunity to publish research articles with her, enhancing their prospects for success on the job market.

As chair of the Honors Program from 2005-11, she worked to ensure that ethnic minority students and women had the opportunity to participate. She also served as the chair of the Department of Psychology’s Diversity Committee, and played a significant role in the department being awarded the first Rhetaugh Dumas Progress in Diversifying Award in 2010.

She recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation to study the environmental factors that affect the performance and retention of ethnic minority and women students in STEM fields.

“As her colleague for the past 17 years, I have had an opportunity to witness firsthand Denise’s commitment to improving the lives and educational opportunities of women and members of ethnic minority communities through her teaching, service and research activities,” wrote Robert M. Sellers, Charles D. Moody Collegiate Professor of Psychology and chair of the Department of Psychology.

June Manning Thomas

June Manning Thomas

Thomas, Centennial Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, was one of the first African-American students to attend an integrated school in the South during the Civil Rights era. She has produced pioneering research and writing in diversity-related topics in the field of urban planning, leading to the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning Davidoff Award.

She was a co-founder of the national ACSP Planners of Color Interest Group. As ACSP vice president and now president, she actively supports a strong diversity agenda. Her efforts to increase diversity in the Urban and Regional Planning Program include helping to secure a successful grant proposal that funded “The Role of Planning in a ‘Post-Racial’ Society” symposium last fall. She also performed service as a mentor to students, especially students of color, and through scholarly writing and research, nearly all of it focused on social equity.

“We believe Professor Thomas’ contributions to the enhancement and enrichment of diversity at the University of Michigan has been exceptional, and we are delighted to put her forward enthusiastically for recognition through the Johnson Diversity Service Award for 2014,” wrote Richard K. Norton, associate professor and chair, Urban and Regional Planning Program.


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