Isaac L. Jordan Pluralism Award expands this year

Recognition for efforts to foster inclusion to be presented to faculty and staff

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A. Sue Weisler

The Isaac L. Jordan Faculty/Staff Pluralism Award has gone to one faculty or staff person in the last 10 years since it began. Starting this year, the award will be given to a faculty and a staff member who fosters a message of diversity and inclusion. Phyllis Wade Albro, an instructor in the First Year Experience program in the Student Affairs Division, won the award in 2011.

One of RIT’s most prominent campus awards to recognize diversity and inclusion will become two in 2012.

Since its inception in 2002, the Isaac L. Jordan Sr. Faculty/Staff Pluralism Award has been given to a faculty or staff person who has fostered a message of diversity on campus and in the community. This year, one representative each—faculty and staff—will be given an award.

The awards will also become part of RIT’s annual recognition ceremonies honoring faculty and staff achievement—the Eisenhart Awards for Outstanding Teaching, held in spring, and the Staff Recognition Awards, held in fall.

“There has been definite progress over the last decade and a half in the growth of a diverse population of students, faculty and staff at the university, and there is more to be achieved,” says RIT Provost Jeremy Haefner. “But these awards recognize faculty and staff and their role in these efforts. They are important and well-suited to be given alongside the established Eisenhart and Staff Recognition Awards given each year.”

The award is named after Isaac L. Jordan Sr., who served as chair of the former Commission on Pluralism, now known as the President’s Commission on Pluralism and Inclusion. Jordan held the position from 1990 until his passing in 1994. He is recognized as being instrumental in leading RIT’s earliest conversations about the importance of diversity and inclusion on campus and within the local community.

Last year, the President’s Commission on Pluralism and Inclusion began discussions about the need to recognize both faculty and staff for their work on and off campus in the area of diversity, says Sandra Whitmore, chairperson of the commission and operations director for the Office for Diversity and Inclusion.

“This is a natural progression for the Isaac L. Jordan Award. We have seen both faculty and staff embrace diversity initiatives. This is an opportunity to recognize what they contribute to the university and our community,” says Whitmore.

Nominations for both awards will be requested, with the call for the faculty awards recently offered by the Office for Diversity and Inclusion. Nominees for the staff award would coincide with the call for Staff Recognition Awards in spring or early summer.

The creation of two separate Isaac L. Jordan Awards was reviewed and approved by RIT governance groups because the original award was defined by institute policy. Along with recognition for campus and community work regarding diversity, each awardee will receive a $1,000 stipend, supported by the Office of the President for the staff award, and by the Provost’s Office, in support of the new faculty award.

Note: In 10 years, Isaac L. Jordan Awards were given to Albert Simone, past RIT president; Sarah Reynolds, outreach/user services coordinator, Wallace Library; Keith Jenkins, associate professor of communication, College of Liberal Arts; Peter Hauser, professor, research and education department, NTID; James Watters, senior vice president, Finance and Administration; Howard Ward, assistant vice president, Student Auxiliary Services, Finance and Administration; Thomas Warfield, lecturer in cultural and creative studies, NTID; Renee Baker, executive director, faculty recruitment and retention, Academic Affairs; and Phyllis Wade Albro, instructor in the First-Year Enrichment program.