Diversity, Belonging, Inclusion, & Equity (DBIE) Awards

2022 Awards

2022 Outstanding Diversity Outreach by a Student award recipient Davonne Moore2022 Outstanding Diversity Outreach by a Student Award

The 2022 recipient of the Outstanding Diversity Outreach by a Student Award is Davonne Moore. Davonne has made an impact on campus since he was a freshman, and is about to be the first African American male to graduate with a Bachelors of Science in Nursing Honors. He has been featured in UCA marketing material, which has inspired other students to pursue Nursing as a major because of the representation they saw. Davonne has been active in the Student Government Association as Executive Vice President. As freshman class president he collaborated with campus administrators to expand homecoming royalty to include a King and Prince.

2022 Jesse L. Moore Diversity Supplier Award Recipient

Insight Into Diversity Jesse L. Moore 2022 Supplier Diversity AwardThe INSIGHT Into Diversity Jesse L. Moore 2022 Supplier Diversity Award is a national recognition honoring colleges and universities that take proactive steps to support and engage with minority-owned businesses through supplier diversity offices, unique programs and leading initiatives.  Winners will be showcased in the April 2022 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. Press Release Link

2021 Awards

2021 UCA Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Award Recipient

Dr. Allen Thomas wrote, “Thus, there is a responsibility we hold to and for each other, as we live in systems that seek to keep us from care, and from each other. I hope I live a life informed by diversity, belonging, inclusion, and equity each day of my life…. I hope I live these values, that they are made manifest through my work, because I recognize why they have to be, must be, values in the first place.” This statement informs the core of Dr. Thomas’s focus in his work at UCA across multiple contexts including the residential colleges, his coursework, and his involvement with CETAL. 

In his work, Dr. Thomas focuses on issues of equity, privilege, and marginalization as he has worked to foster a more inclusive culture at UCA. He elevates concepts of identity and identity intersectionality exploring race and gender and ability. His work to support faculty and student understanding of these topics is impressive as he facilitates sessions with the Residential College leadership, provides programming for students at HPaW@Baridon, advises UCA’s PRISM Alliance, leads professional development through CETAL, and supports students in the courses he teaches. 

Faculty and students who have worked closely with Dr. Thomas have the following accolades to share:

  • I have no shortage of fantastic things to say about Dr. Thomas. He challenges me – and those in positions of power –to be better administrators and unapologetic advocates for BIPOC and LIGBTQIA+ folx.
  • Engaging freshmen students in critical reflection of a popular movie (Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse) to explore the complicated web of Blackness, superpowers, and parenting is just one example of how Dr. Thomas creatively draws students into deep learning.
  • Dr. Thomas is a professional of high character who is dedicated and committed to  supporting a world in which diversity and inclusivity is not a goal, but the norm.
  • In his class, I felt I had a voice. He made me feel comfortable and included in and outside of the classroom…. The impact Dr. Thomas has had on me is tremendous. His inclusion and “realness” are what I can honestly say makes him so admirable.

Dr. Thomas has worked tirelessly, and his work has been far-reaching. As he notes, “If our goal, my goal, is liberation, then there is a lot at stake, and much work to do.” The impact of his work has been profound in support of those whose voices need the most amplification. For that reason, he is this year’s recipient of the Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Award.

2021 Outstanding Diversity Outreach by a Student Award

Lana Thurman exemplifies a commitment to diversity, belonging, inclusion, and equity.  Her service is reflected on and off campus through collaboration with fellow students as well as local and  state organizations.  She has served in leadership positions for various Registered Student Organizations at UCA and is known for going above and beyond the call of duty for her peers.  Some of her service includes alleviating food insecurity by implementing an organic gardening campaign with UCA’s Anthropology Club, tutoring fellow students through the UCA Japanese Language Program, and designing lesson plans for K-12 teachers interested in incorporating Asian history into their curricula.  She has also interned with the the Arkansas Chapter of the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia.  In addition, Lana serves as an activist and volunteer with Conway Mutual Aid Collective (CMAC) to campaign against social injustice.  She aspires to make a lasting and positive impact in our community.

2021 LULAC Latino Destination Campus

2020 Awards

2020 UCA Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Award Recipient 

Dr. Amy Hawkins noted in her award application that Interacting with and caring for students with diverse backgrounds in areas of race/ethnicity, socioeconomics, and sexual orientations transformed diversity from an issue to a multifaceted portrait of stories with names and faces. This statement forms the core of Dr. Hawkins’ focus as the director of the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) as she has worked to foster a more inclusive culture at UCA.

Through her programming in the CTE, Dr. Hawkins’ calls upon university partners to emphasize a multifaceted understanding of diversity and to provide support for diverse student and faculty communities. To this end, she has created programming to lead us all in thinking about the needs of diverse learners. Her programs include book groups, workshops, panels, sessions, and whole conferences. The topics she has led us to consider include applying universal design for learning, lived experiences of faculty of color, lived experiences of students of color, lived experiences of black students , lived experiences of Latinx and Hispanic students, supporting students on the Autism spectrum, neurodiversity, dyslexia, and implementing inclusive pedagogies.

Faculty who have worked closely with Dr. Hawkins have the following accolades to share

  • Dr. Hawkins has been on the frontline of shedding light on issues of inclusion and diversity at all levels, and especially for faculty and students of color at UCA…. She is not constrained by the silence of oppression – Dr. Candice Barnes, faculty
  • After witnessing her own boldness in action, I was truly inspired.… The voices of many diverse students have now been heard due to Dr. Hawkins’ continued devotion to diversity and inclusion on campus – Jacolby Crow, student
  • I am struck by Dr. Hawkins’ commitment to making inclusive justice issues accessible to everyone. In her time as the Director in the Center for Teaching Excellence, I have witnessed a transformation in how and how often we discuss the value of inclusion and diversity at UCA – Dr. Taine Duncan, department chair
  • She is an advocate for the university’s most precious – our students – especially those who are members of marginalized and minority populations – Professor Adriian Gardner
  • She has worked tirelessly and in a myriad positive ways to support diversity and inclusion at UCA – Dr. John Toth, Faculty

Dr. Hawkins has worked tirelessly, and her work has been far-reaching. The impact of her work has been profound in support of those whose voices need the most amplification. For that reason, she is the 2020 recipient of the Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Award.

  2020 Outstanding Diversity Outreach by a Student Award

The 2020 recipient of the Outstanding Diversity Outreach by a Student Award is Winifred Breck Brammer. She aspires to understand and promote the importance of cultural awareness as well as grow a better appreciation of the uniqueness of the world. Winifred serves as a People to People International Student Ambassador. She was greatly informed by her semester exchange in Madrid, Spain. From her experience abroad, she learned the importance of being able to relate to people and developing an understanding of the perspectives of others. Featured in a promotional campaign for study abroad with expansive coverage, Winifred’s mission is to educate people on the significance of cultural diversity. She wants others to know the positive impact of experiencing a different culture other than their own. Winifred makes presentations to students and senior citizens. She wants to show others that they too can create an impact on the world around them; it is not impossible. Winifred aspires to make positive change across nations.

2020 LULAC Latino Destination Campus

LULAC 2020 Award

2019 Awards

2019 Committed to Diversity Award

 2019 LULAC Latino Destination Campus

LULAC 2019

2019 UCA Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Award Recipient   

      The Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Award is bestowed upon individuals whose commitment to diversity and inclusion has made a significant, positive impact on others. Dr. Nancy P. Gallavan, Professor of Teaching and Learning, is the 2019 award recipient. Dr. Gallavan has a long and distinguished career marked by deep and thoughtful advocacy for diverse students and faculty. Dr. Gallavan began her career in higher education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) where she served for eight years. There she developed and taught a series of courses in multicultural education (soon called cultural diversity then later called cultural competence) in the College of Education designed for undergraduate students, master’s degree students, and doctoral students. While at UNLV she co-founded the state chapter of the National Association of Multicultural Education (NvNAME) and served on the editorial board of Praxis: The UNLV Journal of Multicultural Education.

Dr. Gallavan has continued her ardent and active support of cultural diversity since joining the Department of Teaching and Learning at UCA in 2006. She has integrated content from this field across the courses she has taught. All her courses include an “ever-present emphasis on and continuous mentoring of MAT candidates to teach and reach all K-12 students.” She has mentored 13 doctoral students through the dissertation process focusing on supporting candidates from racially diverse and marginalized communities. She has assisted diverse candidates and graduates with award nominations, speaking opportunities, and postdoctoral experiences. Her work as an instructional coach allows her to support diverse faculty. Her former chair noted about her, “Dr. Gallavan always goes the extra mile with our MAT students, even when it means extra visits to their classrooms to model a pedagogy that accommodates all students and differentiates instruction with developmentally appropriate practices.”

Dr. Gallavan’s research agenda focuses primarily on cultural diversity, i.e., its policies, principles, practices, professionalism, and promises. Her research is continuous and prolific. She has an impressive publication record that promotes a variety of topics and issues relating to the awareness, application, and advocacy of diversity and inclusion. She actively seeks collaboration with diverse colleagues nationwide to engage in research. Notably, her work with UCA graduates has led to the publication of two books on cultural competence. Her research relies on a foundation of critical consciousness (information, access, and opportunities) that is always present and powerful as she advances scholarship in the field related to democratic principles, human rights, social justice, and educational equity. As her dean noted, “Her sound research record is a demonstration of her commitment to diversity and inclusion. She has a record of investigating a wide variety of topics and issues related to advocacy for diversity and inclusion involving UCA and national colleagues from diverse populations.”

In terms of her service, Dr. Gallavan has chaired the College of Education (COE) diversity committee, authored the COE diversity proficiencies, and led professional development for the COE on diversity topics and initiatives for eight years. She has served as the COE member of the UCA Diversity Advisory Committee for six years and co-developed the UCA Diversity Strategic Plan. She originated the COE Lighthouse Beacons initiative to support all students. She has served for ten years as the co-counselor of the UCA Pi Beta Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi ensuring that all candidates are invited and leading members to pursue topics and issues related to Diversity and Inclusion in their programs and presentations. Recently, UCA received the Richard J. and Nancy P. Gallavan Endowed Grant for Diverse faculty. This grant will be used to support diverse faculty in their academic journeys, particularly tenure and promotion. In her work with national professional organizations, she has also been involved in formal mentoring of diverse faculty.

Dr. Gallavan’s own words provide inspiration to all of us when she writes, “All aspects of my life revolve around critical consciousness and cultural competence. Possessing a strong sense of ethics, equity, and excellence, I attempt to model and reinforce my own expectations…personally, professionally, and pedagogically. Fortunately, fortified with the courage, strength, hope, and wisdom of my family and friends, I will continue my dedication and commitment.”

2019 Outstanding Diversity Outreach by a Student AwardCameron Willis - Outstanding Diversity Outreach by a Student Award

For the last 3 years, the recipient has served as a team leader at the Girl Power in STEM Conference that UCA hosts each year. She works throughout the year to promote the conference that aspires toward a greater diversity of girls entering STEM fields. She helps to find professional women in STEM who might become conference speakers. In addition, her thesis is an extension of this work. She developed a website that teachers can use to establish Girl Power in STEM clubs in schools and much more.

She has participated in the summer science program and conducted research at Arkansas Children’s Hospital to raise awareness about safe sleep for the practice of co-bedding that can place children of color at a greater risk of death. She has also implemented a safe sleep check-off box for nurses to use for infants seen in the emergency room. What is more, her research on safe sleep practices was accepted for presentation at the 2018 Issues in the Public Square Conference that is hosted by UCA’s Honor College.

No doubt, this year’s recipient connects her passions to theory and practice and she uses her gifts, talents, and abilities to make the world a better place for underrepresented communities. The 2019 recipient of the Outstanding Diversity Outreach by a Student Award is Cameron Willis.

2018 Awards

2018 UCA Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Award Recipients

This year marks the third year for the Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Award. The conception of this award was put forth by the University’s Strategic Planning Committee and the Diversity Advisory Committee.

This award recognizes individuals whose commitment to diversity and inclusive excellence on and/or off campus have made a significant impact on various ethnic groups and diverse communities in a positive way. These individuals have improved conditions at UCA and within the community that have enhanced society.

Adriian Gardner

Mr. Adriian Gardner

Mr. Adriian Gardner, Speech Faculty in the Department of Student Transitions, exemplifies the care and commitment necessary for using the whole-person approach in his teaching, outreach, advocacy and research. In each of these areas, Mr. Gardner makes an outstanding contribution to diversity and inclusion for our campus and community. In teaching in University College, he embraces his role as a mentor for several underrepresented communities on campus. He works to ensure that his students are prepared for college-level success, particularly students in BMAC—the Black Male Achievement Challenge. In his outreach, he works across the campus community to ensure that others know the best practices for helping vulnerable students in their transitions. His engaging and disarming demeanor is perfect for Center for Teaching Excellence sessions, Student Transitions departmental working groups, and in University diversity training seminars. His dedication to respectful and inclusive advocacy is clear in his work serving the Office of Diversity and Community. In his research is part and parcel of his commitment to diversity and inclusion. Recently, he facilitated a national conference presentation on his methodologies and successes with focus groups for student success and retention of African American men college students. His dedication to diversity extends beyond a single population, however. Mr. Gardner has also given presentations for PRISM—an LGBTQ focused Registered Student Organization at UCA—and he is thoughtful and intentional in his outreach to international students. Additionally, as a colleague, he works to always respect and value diverse perspectives—regularly inviting colleagues to coffee chats, or to join him in seminar sessions to ensure that those perspectives are heard and shared. Emphasized in his letters of nomination and support, Mr. Gardner’s friends and colleagues see him as a “tireless” “advocate for marginalized students,” who “goes above and beyond” the call of duty. He is also known and respected for his “wit and homespun wisdom” which enable “him to develop deep connections” with those he serves.

Donna Wake

Dr. Donna Wake

Dr. Donna Wake, Associate Dean in the College of Education, has fully committed herself to the ideals of diversity and social justice and this commitment is infused across all aspects of her professional career.

As a professor, Dr. Wake encourages her students to broaden their understanding of multicultural education and ensures teacher candidates are fully prepared to teach in diverse and inclusive classrooms. One example of this is her development of a Social Justice and Education course. This course allows students to actively talk about and wrestle with ideas on racism, homophobia, ability discrimination, religious tolerance, and gender disparity. The intent of the class is to disrupt schools structures that perpetuate institutional disparity and inequity. Another example of Dr. Wake’s promotion of inclusiveness and diversity in her teaching is displayed in her Analysis and Practice of Teaching course. In this course she facilitates student field trips to urban schools with large minority populations, so that students have the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the inherent challenges and needs of these children. Dr. Wake’s field trips have been so successful, that they have been included in other courses.

In her position as Associate Dean, Dr. Wake has developed and administered a yearly college diversity and climate survey and she analyzes college-wide data from the Multicultural Efficacy survey, which measures teacher candidates’ experience, attitude, efficacy, and belief statements in multicultural education. This data is critical to understanding how departments in the College of Education are impacting teacher candidates. Dr. Wake has also formed and tasked the Recruitment and Retention Committee with writing a 5- to 7-year recruitment and retention plan to specifically include language around current and future practices in recruiting and retaining diverse candidates in the College of Education.

Beyond her work as a professor and Associate Dean, Dr. Wake is described as a model of inclusion by her colleagues and students. She is constantly reading, researching, and living a life consistent with acceptance and the celebration of differences. Her colleagues believe she truly models their philosophy that “diversity is a necessary condition for excellence.”

2018 Outstanding Diversity Outreach by a Student Award

Jayda WilliamsJayda Williams, is a student with high participation in platforms that promote inclusiveness on campus. From actively volunteering in the Minority Mentorship Program, to being a member in the National Association of Black Men United and the American Chemical society, to being the president of UCA’s NAACP chapter, this student seeks opportunities to assist diverse populations and promote inclusiveness.

In the words of her professors, this student “consistently volunteers to form study groups and service opportunities for many marginalized and diverse students. She takes notes for students who need note takers and she leads study-groups that include mostly women of color. She also reaches out to her black male student colleagues in group projects. This awareness of her intellectual gifts and the ways in which she can use them to help build stronger academic communities is incredibly mature and sensitive.”

She has also been recognized by President Davis, who personally wrote a recommendation letter when she was selected as the 2018 Newman Civic
Fellow for the University. In addition to this, she co-founded a scholarship to assist minority graduates from her high school alma mater. It is because of these, and many more achievements, that we are pleased to honor to Jayda Williams with this award.

2017 Awards

2017 UCA Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Awards

This year marks the second year for the Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Award. The conception of this award was put forth by the University’s Strategic Planning Committee and the Diversity Advisory Committee.
This award recognizes individuals whose commitment to diversity and inclusive excellence on and/or off campus have made a significant impact on various ethnic groups and diverse populations in a positive way. These individuals have improved conditions at UCA and within the community that have enhanced society.

Dr. Taine Duncan

Recipient: Dr. Taine Duncan, Associate Professor and Director of Gender Studies Program, Department of Philosophy and Religion

Dr. Taine M. Duncan, Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion, exemplifies the commitment of a scholarly academic who is both a supportive ally to students and colleagues and a dedicated advocate of diversity and inclusive excellence. Her outstanding contributions are visible in the Department of Philosophy and Religion, Gender Studies, the College of Liberal Arts, UCA, and the community. In her department, she is the instructor of the Gender/Race/Class course and multidisciplinary service learning courses. In her program, she is the Director of the Gender Studies minor. In her College, she chairs the Diversity Committee. Her University service includes advisor for the Feminist Union RSO and head of the One Billion Rising event. She is an activist for LGBTIQ faculty, staff, and student concerns. In the community, she collaborates with the Faulkner County Coalition for Social Justice. The aforementioned highlights only some of the service of this dynamic UCA leader. Emphasized in her letters of recommendation, “Taine is the finest champion of diversity and inclusive excellence at UCA.” “She is everything you want in a professor, professional, and colleague.” “Her zest and tenacity always come across in every interaction.”

This is the first year of this award. It recognizes an individual whose commitment to diversity and inclusive excellence on campus and/or off campus has made a significant impact on various underserved groups in a positive way. This individual has improved conditions at UCA and within the community that have enhanced society.

Hershila Lallu

Recipient, Hershila Lallu

The recipient of the inaugural Outstanding Diversity Outreach by a Student Award has been active in bringing awareness and cultural activities to UCA and to the Conway community. She has selflessly served organizations such as the Student Government Association, the Minority Mentorship Program, the Order of Omega Honor Society, and the UCA National Panhellenic Council. Hershila has also actively served as a Presidential Leadership Fellow, a UCA Ambassador, a peer coach, and much more. Our first recipient was instrumental in the development and implementation of the Spirituality Speaking Series, which increases understanding of the religious diversity on our campus and the HOLI Festival of Colors that celebrates good over evil. At HOLI Festival, everyone comes together for an afternoon of dancing and throwing of colored powder. Considering that the end of the event leaves everyone covered in colored powder, signifies an acceptance of differences while it also honors unity, friendship, and healing. Much like the HOLI Festival, Hershila honors diversity and inclusive excellence as well as unity, friendship, and healing.

2016 Awards

UCA Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Awards

This year marks the first year for the Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Award. The conception of this award was put forth by the University’s Strategic Planning Committee and the Diversity Advisory Committee.

This award recognizes individuals whose commitment to diversity and inclusive excellence on and/or off campus have made a significant impact on various ethnic groups and diverse populations in a positive way. These individuals have improved conditions at UCA and within the community that have enhanced society.

Dr. Gayle Seymour

Dr. Gayle Seymour, Associate Dean, College of Fine Arts and Communication, 1st Place

Dr. Gayle Seymour has been an asset to the University of Central Arkansas and the community for over 30 years. During that time, she has been involved in over two million dollars in grants to fund a variety of projects for UCA and the community. Dr. Seymour is committed to the significance of diversity and inclusive excellence on and off campus in a variety of ways including African American history awareness, Japanese American internment awareness, LGBT+ advocacy, and the inclusion of adults with developmental challenges. She stated “…I could use the arts as a way to help people grow beyond their boundaries and develop empathy and compassion for those who may not be like them.” Dr. Seymour received grants for the commission of The Little Rock Nine opera that will take place in 2017 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School. She secured a grant from the Japanese-American Confinement Sites program for the creation of Gaman, a lyrical dance performed at Reynolds Performance Hall. Moreover, she played an intricate role in the UCA exhibition of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, the largest piece of ongoing community art, in honor of Arkansans who died of AIDS. In addition, she played an important role in the Every Person Counts project for the ArtsFest in Conway in order to cultivate new art audiences such as individuals with developmental challenges. “Her commitment and mindfulness of the role and importance that diversity and inclusion play is reflected in who she is, how she activates engagement, and the broadness and impact of her reach into the community.”