2009 Diversity Achievement Award
Lorraine Kasprisin has served Western for nearly 30 years as an educator, philosopher and scholar. Devoted to sharing perspectives on diversity and social justice, her work reaches students, educators, practitioners and scholars at Western and throughout the world.
Most recently Kasprisin founded the highly acclaimed Journal of Educational Controversy. This peer reviewed electronic journal is a significant contributor to the body of research on diversity and brings international attention to Western. (The photo is of Dr. Muhammad Yunus, 2006 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, accepting the invitation from Editor Lorraine Kasprisin to write a Prologue to Rethinking Poverty for the WInter 2009 Issue of the Journal of Educational Controversy.
“Lorraine has a very respectful and graceful way of bringing up traditionally challenging topics,” said John Korsmo, assistant professor of Human Services. “Her work has heightened public awareness at Western and has drawn attention to diversity by holding people accountable.”
Kasprisin earned a doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the City College of New York.
2008 Diversity Achievement Award
The 2008 recipient of the Diversity Achievement Award was the WWU Admissions Office team. Karen Copetas, director of admissions and enrollment planning since 1990, says "Western's success in attracting a more diverse applicant pool parallels the University's growing reputation for academic excellence."
Western was the first public university in the state to consider factors beyond GPA and test scores in the admissions process. "It is so gratifying to recognize that this commitment to diversity and inclusion has contributed to a more academically prepared student body," says Copetas.
Progressive admissions policy combined with highly effective recruitment efforts have contributed to Western's rating by US News & World Report as the top public master's-granting university in the Pacific Northwest, and second in the entire western United States for eleven straight years.
Copetas says the outreach efforts are strategic as well as sincere. "In addition to recruiting a high quality and diverse incoming class, our goal is to make certain that Western graduates have the foundation to excel and to lead in an increasingly multicultural community."
Commitment to diversity extends beyond students, as former admissions staff include Western's Dean of Students Ted Pratt; Tom Nerini, the director of Student Outreach Services; and Jesse Moore, now with the Obama for America campaign. All three are former recipients of this award.
2007 Diversity Achievement Award
Tom Nerini, director of Student Outreach Services, came to Western in 2000 and was an assistant director in the Admissions office prior to becoming the director of Student Outreach Services. He said working with Admissions to increase and reach record numbers of students of color applying to and enrolling at Western is one of his proudest accomplishments. In Student Outreach Services, Nerini works with students facing academic and personal challenges, particularly nontraditional, underrepresented and multicultural students, to provide support and resources to develop skills for success. One of the most difficult, but rewarding, experiences of his career at Western has been working with undocumented students.
Originally from Arizona, Tom earned his BA in Psychology and Master's in Counseling at Northern Arizona University and recently earned his Educational Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, B.C.
2006 Diversity Achievement Award
Robert Hyung-chan Kim, WWU professor emeritus, was involved in diversity initiatives at WWU for many years and has worked to bring Korean students to WWU to expand the global diversity of the student body. He recently studied the many Korean people living and working in the Pacific Northwest. His resulting article, “Koreans in the Seattle-Tacoma Area,” focuses on the approximately 53,000 Koreans along the Interstate-5 corridor between Vancouver, Wash., and Blaine. Dr. Kim has taught at Western since 1971 in the Department of Educational Foundations of Woodring College of Education and the American Cultural Studies department. Although he retired in 2001, he still teaches several classes at Western each year and conducts research with the Seoul National University and Koryo University in Jochiwon, Korea.
2005 Diversity Achievement Award
Jesse Moore, 2003-2005 Associated Students Vice President for Diversity, was the first student to receive the award. Jesse received his WWU degree in Political Science with a minor in English in 2005. He was highly active as a student leader where he served as Vice President to the Black Student Union, and was elected two consecutive years as the student body Vice President for Diversity. After graduation, Jesse worked at Western’s Office of Admissions as the lead Multicultural Outreach Counselor and Marketing Specialist, traveling throughout the state to help build positive paths to college, expressing his passion is to work with students and policy makers to ensure access, empowerment, and positive futures. He left to work on the Obama campaign in 2007.
2004 Diversity Achievement Award
Gigi Berardi, and Lynn Robbins, both Professors in Huxley College of the Environment, had been working together for seven years to promote and enhance diversity in research, teaching and service to the community with energy and devotion. The contributions they have made with the Native American populations in partnership with Northwest Indian College and Huxley College of the Environment have gained international recognition. As Western professors and faculty members of the Tribal Environmental and Natural Resources Management program at Northwest Indian College, Berardi and Robbins are helping future tribal leaders study a combination of Western and Native science, and preparing many Native American students to pursue their bachelor’s degrees at Western. By encouraging students to share their own traditions and practices in class, Berardi and Robbins emphasize understanding and respect for Native American approaches to learning science and studying the environment. In February 2003, Berardi and several faculty members from Northwest Indian College were invited to present a symposium on Western and Native science at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In addition to her work with the TENRM program, she continues her research in Alaska Native villages on natural resources management. Robbins has taught environmental studies at Huxley since he received his doctorate in anthropology from the University of Oregon in 1971. In addition to teaching political science and Native treaty law as a core faculty member of the TENRM program, he has been involved in more than 20 projects that assessed the social and economic effects of energy development and federal and state procedures on tribal communities. Berardi and Robbins put the $1,500 award toward scholarships for students at Northwest Indian College who are transferring to Western to complete four-year degrees.
2003 Diversity Achievement Award
Brian Bingham, founding director of the Minorities in Marine Science Undergraduate Participation (MIMSUP) program at Western’s Shannon Point Marine Center, Brian Bingham has actively shaped the growing reputation of Western as an institution that successfully promotes the education of under-represented students in the sciences. For promoting diversity, he was one of six in the nation to receive the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 2003 Excellence Award for endeavors related to coasts and oceans. He also received a 2002 National Role Model Award from Minority Access, Inc. As testimony to the program’s success, 100 of the 103 students who have participated in the program have either completed or are currently pursuing their bachelor’s degree. Of those with bachelor’s degrees (as of 2003), 12 percent have pursued a doctorate; 12 percent have pursued professional degrees and 42 percent have pursued a master’s degree.
In addition to his work at Shannon Point, Bingham is a professor in environmental science in Western’s Huxley College of the Environment. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1983 and his master’s in 1985, both from Brigham Young University. He received his Ph.D. in biology from Florida State University in 1990.
2002 Diversity Achievement Award
Ted Pratt has been called "the ultimate Viking." As a two degree alum, former Director of Student Life, and current Dean of Students, he is widely admired. Throughout his time at Western, Pratt has been an invaluable contributor to the shaping of the university's increasingly multicultural community. During nine years as an admission counselor, he was a key leader in increasing enrollment of students of color from 4 to 13 percent. He developed programs that support all students, including the needs of disabled students, students of color, first-generation college students and international students. His impact on diversity has increased; each fall sees a new record for multicultural enrollment, now 17 percent for entering freshmen.
2001 Diversity Achievement AwardKaren Hoelscher, a professor of elementary education in Woodring College of Education, is known by her colleagues and students as someone who brings the value of diversity into the classroom and challenges people to expand their current views. “Karen is deeply committed to embracing the power that results from diversity in a community,” a colleague said. “This is reflected in her scholarship, teaching and service to the university, but it also pervades all aspects of her personal and professional life.” Hoelscher, who came to Western in 1992, co-chaired the Kaleidoscope Project, a 25-member group comprised by President Karen Morse of faculty, staff and students, to foster multicultural experience on campus. She also served as chair of the Woodring College Diversity Task Force from 1998-2000.
In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Hoelscher is active in curriculum and policy development in local schools and serves as a parent volunteer in her daughter’s fourth-grade classroom. She volunteers with her family in the summer Circulos de Manos program, which provides evening activities to children of migrant farm families in Whatcom and Skagit Counties. Hoelscher earned her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Mankato State University and her doctorate in teaching, curriculum and learning environments from Harvard University.
2000 Diversity Achievement Award
Joe Garcia was recognized for his efforts to promote and enhance diversity in research, teaching, and service to the community. Dr. Garcia has authored and co-authored a number of articles, book chapters and papers related to diversity issues. He has developed and taught courses in diversity management, making important contributions to the undergraduate and MBA curricula.
Joe currently serves as Associate Dean of the College of Business and Economics and Director of the Center for Excellence in Management Education in the College of Business.
1999 Diversity Achievement Award
Roland L. De Lorme, Provost (retired)
1998 Diversity Achievement Award
Larry Estrada, currently Associate Professor, Fairhaven College and American Cultural Studies, was presented the award for his leadership institution-wide related to diversity. He has held a number of different posts at WWU, including Asst. Vice President for Student Affairs-Diversity, Vice Provost, Acting Vice President for Student Affairs and Acting Provost. His recent research and work includes the issues of immigration patterns between Mexico and the United States as well as the social, cultural implications of public policy related to indigenous folk healing and curanderismo within the Mexican states of Michoacn and Oaxaca. An author of several articles and editorial columns, he recently co-edited and co-authored the book Immigration In America Today published by Greenwood Press. He has also served as the Chair of the Washington State Commission for Hispanic Affairs and President of the National Association for Ethnic Studies. Dr. Estrada has held faculty positions at UCLA, Loyola Marymount University and Colorado State University. Before his academic career, Estrada served as the Mayor of Fort Collins, Colorado. Recently profiled in David Horowitz’s book, The Professors, he was named by the Conservative Publication “Front Page Magazine” as the third most dangerous academic in America.
1997 Diversity Achievement Award
Vernon Johnson, Professor of Political Science, teaches comparative politics, development, race and public policy, Culture and politics of African societies, African American studies, the civil rights movement in America. Vernon has been an active leader in the community, including leading and serving on the board of the Whatcom Human Rights Task Force for several years.
1996 Diversity Achievement Award
In 1991 Fairhaven College developed the Law and Diversity Program(LDP) for students who were interested in law, diversity, and access to the legal system for under-served communities. The Program welcomed students who desired to effect change and who had the potential to act as leaders and role models in their communities using legal knowledge and processes. Graduates from the Law and Diversity Program have obtained positions as attorneys for private and public firms, in city government and legal services, and at the U.S. Department of Education and the Environmental Protection Agency. Graduates have also pursued careers in the justice system as Juvenile Probation Officers, Human Service Caseworkers, Prisoner Rights Activists, law enforcement personnel, and as Union negotiators. Some have gone on to faculty positions at other Universities where they teach on a variety of law, diversity and justice issues. The program has now expanded into a regular plan of study at Fairhaven under the Law, Diversity and Justice (LDJ) Concentration.
1995 Diversity Achievement Award
The Ethnic Student Center is a student-run organization within the Associated Students of WWU that embraces many ethnic clubs that assist students in transitioning to Western, developing cultural identity, providing a sense of community, and being active in social justice. Open to all students, the ESC provides resources and a safe environment where students can work on event programming, do homework, and access resources and information.
1994 Diversity Achievement Award
Dal Symes and Ray McInnis, Wilson Librarians for the Development of Ethnic Minority Research Guides, Wilson Library Diversity Section, and Diversity Resource Collections.
1993 Diversity Achievement Awards
The Woodring College of Education won the award in recognition of the Center for Educational Pluralism (CEP), the college’s master plan for diversity, and its contribution to the college and the broader university campus.
The English Department Curricular Transformation Project. This department is one of the most ethnically diverse departments on campus. Attention to diversity occurs at all levels of the Department of English’s service, including text selection, course topics, and the speakers and public events we provide and sponsor. Recently, the Department of English hired a tenure-track appointment in Latina/o Literatures, which has allowed it to open a very important field of study for students.
1992 Diversity Achievement Award
Saundra Taylor, Vice President for Student Affairs. Saunie is currently the Vice president for Campus Life at the University of Arizona.