Deacon Davis Diversity Award winners named

Chris Carger
Chris Carger

NIU’s Presidential Commission on the Status of Minorities (PCSM) has named graduate student Marc Reynolds and faculty member Chris Liska Carger as the recipients of the 2014 Deacon Davis Diversity Award.

Named in honor of Deacon Davis, founder and former director of the CHANCE (Counseling Help & Assistance Necessary for a College Education) Program, the award was created to recognize the significant contributions made to the improvement of the status of minorities on campus by members of the university community.

Reynolds is working toward a Ph.D. in U.S. history. According to his nominator, Reynolds speaks powerfully about human rights and justice and “his dissertation will be an intellectually grounded activist project that will excavate an untold story about the African-American experience. Reynolds feels that he will make a significant contribution by trying to understand the relationship between poverty and the overt attempts at groups tied to financial establishment that promoted indebtedness and wage garnishment.”

Carger has dedicated her academic career to the study of English Language Learners and the promotion of multicultural children’s literature as a rich resource for teaching all learners. Her teaching, research, community activism, and her every day life all point to her zeal to promote a democratic and equitable society.

According to one of her nominators, “her many publications and presentations center around these two realms of interest, and her national prominence in these arenas bring status to the department, the college of education, and the university. In addition, in the past two years, Dr. Carger has developed a graduate certificate program in ESL/Bilingual/Special Education.”

Gabel Hall
Gabel Hall

The Deacon Davis Diversity Award also recognizes organizations, departments, or programs that significantly improve the status of minorities at NIU.

This year’s recipients are the College of Education Strategic Diversity Plan Team and Project R.E.D. (Residents Engaging in Diversity).

Members of the Strategic Diversity Plan Team – James Cohen, Joe Flynn, Connie Fox, Becqui Hunt and Scott Wickman – have worked together for the last two years.

According to the nominator, they have been instrumental in challenging their ways of thinking, expanding the notion of social justice and bringing concerns to the forefront in the College of Education. The team members are truly collaborative and could not have achieved such success without each other.

A second nominator stated that the Strategic Diversity Plan Team has raised awareness in the college and on the campus while concurrently improving the campus climate toward students, faculty and staff who are under-represented or institutionally less-than privileged. The team speaks out and speaks up for social justice and for culturally relevant pedagogy in all venues.

Project R.E.D. is a Housing & Dining-sponsored program that provides students with the opportunity to expand their cultural awareness through a variety of engaging events. This program provides activities that focus on acceptance, appreciation, and awareness.

Logo of project r.e.d.One major goal of Project R.E.D is that residents will leave every event with a sense of appreciation and awareness of the diversity on the NIU campus and reflect upon how their individual behaviors, experiences and interactions impact the overall NIU community culture and beyond.

According to one nominator, Project R.E.D. provides opportunities for students to work toward creating a more inclusive climate within the residence halls and in the overall NIU campus community while striving for the goal of diversity and equal treatment for all.

The PCSM was established in the late 1970s to assure that NIU would consistently and comprehensively reflect, sponsor, mandate and support activities designed to enhance the status of minorities. It is the oldest commission in existence on the NIU campus.

The Deacon Davis Diversity Award recipients will be recognized during the “Diversity and Inclusion Summit” sponsored by the PCSM. The awards ceremony will begin at 3:10 p.m. Thursday, April 3, in the Capitol Room of the Holmes Student Center. All are welcome.

Diversity and Inclusion Summit Program Highlights

  • Remarks by President Baker
  • 1:30 to 2:15 p.m. Lunch/Refreshments Offered
  • 2:15 to 2:40 p.m. Welcome/Presentation of PCSM 2014 Report
  • 2:40 to 3:00 p.m. Remarks
  • 3:10 to 3:30 p.m. Presentation of Deacon Davis Awards
  • 3:40 to 4:30 p.m. Diversity and Inclusion Roundtable/Speaker

For more information, contact PCSM Chair Felicia R. Bohanon at (815) 753- 1868 or [email protected]. To confirm attendance, email [email protected].

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