League Announces 2024 President’s Champion of Diversity and Inclusion Award Winners

Salisbury Independent

SALISBURY — Salisbury University recently honored nine members of the campus community with its 2024 President’s Diversity and Inclusion Awards, presented by SU President Carolyn Ringer Lepre and Vanice Antrum, chief business officer multicultural.

“SU is a place of inclusion, belonging and acceptance – a place where everyone can be seen, felt, heard and valued,” Lepre said. “That’s really what we’re celebrating…we’re celebrating the commitment of our faculty, our staff and our students to this shared sense of desire to create an environment where there is true belonging.”

The winners included:

• Faculty: Drs. Carolyne King, assistant professor of English and director of first-year writing; Deneen Long-White, associate professor of public health and project director of the Opioid Affected Families Support Program at the Center for Healthy Communities; and Andrea Suk, assistant professor of secondary education
• Staff: Brandon Smithson, director of intramurals and assistant director of campus recreation facilities
• Graduate student: Sam Hicks, graduate assistant in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion
• Undergraduates: Nyla Carter, Ben Schmitt, Kyra Stewart and Austin Walls

King was nominated for her work on the rhetoric of disability, including piloting a course on the topic twice in the past five years, leading to its inclusion in the Disability Studies minor’s course options. SU disability.

“She uses a linguistic justice framework to honor the many languages ​​and dialects spoken by our students and is incredibly aware of access issues for students with disabilities or who may need additional resources,” said Antrum, who read the nomination of each recipient.

Long-White has been lauded as a leader in multiple diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts at SU, and as a mentor to students and colleagues, particularly those who identify as people of color.

“She has improved the climate of belonging on campus and represents us well to the off-campus DEI and public health community,” Antrum read.

Suk’s teaching approach aims to empower future educators to create inclusive and supportive environments for students with disabilities by emphasizing the importance of understanding the unique needs of each student and adapting teaching strategies to meet them .

“By providing practical examples and real-life scenarios, she equips her students with the knowledge and skills to effectively support students with disabilities,” Antrum reads. “Overall, his commitment to diversity and inclusiveness at SU creates an environment in which students of all backgrounds can thrive.”

Over the past year, Smithson has created programs that allow all students, faculty and staff to participate, such as a recent adaptive sports night featuring a wheelchair basketball and para-boccia tournament ( with Dr. Dean Ravizza, physical education teacher and the Commuter Connections Program).

“During these events, Brandon has had over 150 people participating in adaptive sports activities, demonstrating an interest in adaptive sports and inclusion here at SU,” Antrum read.

In the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI), Hicks, of Keedysville, MD, developed, organized, coordinated and hosted numerous events to support students, faculty and staff.

“Sam is a collaborative, dynamic, energetic and thoughtful individual who works with everyone inside and outside of ODI to serve the SU community as a whole,” reads Antrum. “Using her knowledge base as an educator, she successfully develops and delivers trainings and workshops to diverse groups and actively creates a sense of community for all League members. »

Carter, of Crofton, MD, has spent the last year “promoting nutrition educational materials, working with departments such as University Dining Services, the Disability Resource Center, ODI and the office of housing and residence life on campus,” Antrum read, noting that she also has ongoing efforts to promote awareness of Narcan training on campus.

Schmitt, of Salisbury, and Stewart, of Columbia, MD, were nominated for sharing their experiences with autism to help SU teachers and future educators create inclusive content, respectful reflections and a classroom of belonging for all students. These efforts also included collaboration on the “Bridging Gaps — Enhancing College Success for Students with Autism — A Professors’ Guide” presentation for members of the campus community.

During the presentation, Schmitt led an initiative to share the concept of an “autism wheel,” which identifies the complexity of the strengths and needs of autistic people rather than presenting them as a linear spectrum. Stewart led an initiative to share new research on women being diagnosed with autism differently than men.

Schmitt “shared with me his struggles, not to gain sympathy or to gain an easier path to SU, but so that we could resolve various situations,” Antrum read. “It taught me to be hyper-focused on my expectations while increasing my creativity on how to help students achieve those expectations.”

“Throughout the presentation, (Stewart) was open and honest with the audience about what SU and its faculty have done to support inclusion, access and belonging, while recognizing that there is areas that still need improvement,” Antrum read.

Walls, of Centreville, MD, has made a significant impact on the SU community through his dedication to fostering a diverse and inclusive campus environment, organizing events and initiatives that celebrated diversity, promoted inclusion and encouraged dialogue on important social issues.

“Their commitment to creating a welcoming space for all students, regardless of their background or identity, has helped strengthen the sense of community on campus,” Antrum reads. “Their leadership and advocacy have played a crucial role in promoting understanding, empathy and respect among students, faculty and staff” and have “helped make SU more welcoming, inclusive and engaging for students from the LGBTQ+ community.”

The ceremony concluded with a surprise presentation to former SU President Charles Wight, announcing the naming of the SU’s Center for Equity, Justice and Inclusion in his honor. Wight opened the center in 2018.

This year marked the 16th year that the President’s Diversity and Inclusion Awards were presented.

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