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Do you know a faculty member who has contributed to diversity on campus? Nominate them for the Issac L. Jordan, Sr., Faculty Pluralism Award. Only faculty are eligible to receive this award but ANYONE (students, staff, faculty, community members) can submit a nomination. Self-nominations are also accepted. 

The nomination period for the 2018-2019 award has closed. Nominations for the 2019-2020 award will open at a later date. 

For many people on the RIT campus, Isaac L. Jordan Sr. represented the best of the human spirit: compassionate, fair, committed to promoting community among all people and supportive of people in their individual struggles to obtain economical and social equality.

His career touched many lives in many places. He was a positive role model for young people from Florida to Rochester as a high school teacher. He reached the community through his work with Action for a Better Community and the corporate world through the Eastman Kodak Company, where he worked for more than 20 years in Rochester. He was a pastor to churches in Pittsford, Syracuse, and a rural community in Yates County. Jordan transformed the minds and hearts of the people who worked and studied at Rochester Institute of Technology. His death in 1994 left a void in many lives.

The Isaac L. Jordan Sr. Faculty Pluralism Award is a university-wide award program that recognizes faculty members for their significant contributions to enhance diversity at RIT. As RIT's first chairperson of the Commission for Promoting Pluralism, Jordan provided outstanding leadership in advancing pluralism at RIT. He set an example for others to emulate. This award in his name ensures the continuance of his legacy and honors those who carry out his work.

2018-2019 Award Recipient
jennifer connelly


Jennifer Connelly, Ph.D.
Lecturer, School of Physics and Astronomy
College of Science

  • Joined RIT in 2013
  • In 2015, helped initiate Women in Science Education “coffee chats” that are designed to help faculty, staff, and students understand Title IX and how the law can be used to help those experiencing discrimination or harassment
  • Member of Astronomy Allies, a vetted group of volunteers who work to provide a safe space and resource center for those experiencing sexual harassment
  • Founded Rochester Women in Physics and Astronomy (ROC-WiPA), a networking and social events group for women in physics in the Rochester area
  • One of the leaders of the Inclusive Excellence Initiative at RIT, a program that engages and retains a more diverse population ofstudents in the natural sciences. It’s supported bya $1 million grant through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).
  • Partnered with Diversity Theater to develop aseries ofworkshops on topics including identity, microaggressions, and bystander awareness
  • In 2019, became coordinator of the Rochester pod of 500 Women Scientists, an organization focused on serving society by making science open, inclusive, and accessible
  • Recipient of the College of Science Outstanding Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Award, 2016
  • Ph.D., extragalactic astronomy, Ludwig Maximilian University; MA, astronomy, Wesleyan University; BS, political science and physics, Dickinson College
2017-2018 Award Recipient

Margaret Bailey, Ph.D., PE
Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Kate Gleason College of Engineering
Senior Faculty Associate to the Provost for ADVANCE

  • Joined RIT in 2003
  • Principal investigator, AdvanceRIT NSF Institutional Transformation grant, a long-term project designed to advance the careers of women faculty in STEM disciplines at RIT
  • Oversees over twenty programs and initiatives in support of improving RIT’s ability to attract, retain and advance the careers of women faculty, including women of color and hard-of-hearing women
  • Initiated Connect Grants Program to support faculty career success
  • Developed Connectivity Series to provide organizational and professional development education on unconscious bias education and workshops to promote faculty career advancement
  • Member of cross-university NSF funded research project studying self-efficacy development of engineering students while comparing cohorts of co-op and non-co-op students.   Investigate hypothesis that women’s participation leads to enhanced self-efficacy and increased likelihood of graduation.   
  • Founder and first executive director of Women Engineers at RIT program to increase enrollment of women in engineering programs
  • Recipient of the Maria Mitchell Women in Science Award and the Edwina Award for Gender Diversity and Inclusiveness
  • Author on over 85 peer-reviewed publications and a major thermodynamics textbook
  • Ph.D., civil, environmental, and architectural engineering, University of Colorado at Boulder; BS, architectural engineering, Pennsylvania State University
2016-2017 Award Recipient

Scott Franklin, Ph.D.
Professor, School of Physics and Astronomy
Director, Center for Advancing STEM Teaching, Learning & Evaluation
College of Science

  • Joined RIT in 2000
  • Author/co-author of 18 published articles featured in Physical Review E, Physics Review Letters, Physics Today, and Euro-physics Letters, and founding co-editor of the Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings
  • Research interests include condensed matter, granular materials, and physics education
  • Principal investigator or co-PI on several research grants including more than $1.5 million in funding from the National Science Foundation
  • Serves on the Women in Science Executive Committee with the goal of raising awareness of intersectional identities and experiences of women of color
  • Founder, Integrating Metacognitive Practices and Research to Ensure Student Success (IMPRESS) program to increase retention of rst generation and deaf or hard-of-hearing STEM majors
  • Founder, RIT Learning Assistant (LA) program to assist faculty in developing student-centered, activity-based STEM classes
  • Developed national workshops to promote equity and inclusive classroom pedagogies
  • Recipient of the Edwina Award for Gender Diversity and Inclusiveness
  • Ph.D., physics, University of Texas at Austin; BA, physics, University of Chicago
2015-2016 Award Recipient

Kijana Crawford, Ed.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
College of Liberal Arts

  • Joined RIT in 1973
  • Research interests include mentoring, diversity, minority and women’s issues, as well as educational strategies of mentoring and the societal enhancement of minority students and faculty
  • Member of research teams receiving more than $3 million in external grant funding through the National Science Foundation, as well as state and national government entities
  • Author of multiple single and co-authored works in edited volumes, anthologies and peer-reviewed scholarly journals Journal of Race, Gender, and Class; the International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities, and Nations; the Journal of Black Studies; the Encyclopedia of Social Problems; and IEEE Frontiers in Education, as well as two coedited, peer-reviewed books
  • Co-developed two initiatives: the NSF ADVANCE RIT Women of Color (WoC) Connectivity Series and Promotion & Tenure Strategies for Minority-Women Academics at RIT for Transformative Success (P&T SMARTS)
  • Created multiple new courses, including minority group relations; women, work, and culture; and African-American culture
  • Member of the AALANA Faculty Advisory Council, the NSF AdvanceRIT leadership team and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program
  • Ed.D., MA, higher education administration, University of Rochester; MSW, Atlanta University; BA, sociology, Tougaloo College
2014-2015 Award Recipients

Betsy Dell
Associate Professor, Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology
College of Engineering Technology
(formerly known as the College of Applied Science and Technology)

  • Joined RIT in 2006
  • Research interests include sustainable materials development, retention and recruitment of underrepresented groups in engineering and technology, K-12 science, engineering and technology outreach and engineering education.
  • Co-PI of the NSF-funded AdvanceRIT project to increase the representation and advancement of women faculty in STEM disciplines
  • Director/PI for COMETS Scholarship program to increase gender diversity of engineering technology programs at RIT
  • Appointed Faculty Associate for Female Faculty to support female faculty at the university level and to identify changes to support the success of female faculty at RIT
  • Recipient of the Edwina Award in recognition of significant efforts to promote gender diversity at RIT
  • Served as Paul A. Miller Endowed Professor and Director of the award-winning Women in Technology program
  • Professional experience includes materials development and product design for Toyota, General Motors and Delphi
  • MS, macromolecular science and engineering, University of Michigan; BS, mechanical engineering, Kettering University
2013-2014 Award Recipients

Twyla J. Cummings, Ph.D.
Professor, School of Media Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology
Senior Associate Dean
College of Art and Design (formerly known as the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences)

  • Joined RIT in 1998
  • Research interests include media distribution, media business industry trends and women in graphic communication
  • Frequent speaker on critical trends in post-press and issues impacting the graphic communication industry
  • Publications featured in journals including the Visual Communications Journal, the Journal of Graphic Communications, and Print News
  • Recipient of the RIT Changing Hearts and Changing Minds Diversity Award
  • Inductee of OutputLinks Communication Groups Women of Distinction, the National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL) Walter E. Soderstrom Society and the Nonpareil Society
  • Conference presentations include the America East Conference, and the International Newspaper Group Conference and the Society for the Advancement of Management (SAM) International Conference
  • Past  board member of NAPL, chairperson for the 2014 PNA's America East Conference, chair of the Board of the Rochester Area Business Ethics Foundation and co-chair of the YWCA Board Advisory Council
  • Ph.D., management , Union Institute & University; MS, business and industrial management and BS, chemistry, Wright State University
2012-2013 Award Recipient

Jason T. Younker, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
College of Liberal Arts

  • Joined RIT in 2004
  • Assistant to the Provost for Native American Relations
  • Co-director and principle architect RIT Native American Future Stewards Program
  • Faculty advisor to the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, Native American Student Association, and Pi Delta Psi
  • Author/ co-author/presenter of 57 articles, professional papers and reports
  • Authored the MOU between RIT and Ganondagan State Historic Site to establish research and public awareness programs through the engagement of RIT students.
  • Principal investigator, Collegiate Science Technology Entry Program (CSTEP)
  • Awarded 13 major grants totaling $984,605.
  • Initiated the Seneca Language Revitalization Project with the Seneca Nation of Indians
  • President, national Association of Indigenous Anthropologists
  • Enrolled member of the Coquille Indian Tribe of Oregon
  • Ph.D./MS, anthropology, University of Oregon; M.Ed. , Talented and Gifted Education, Oklahoma City University; BS, communication, Cameron University
2011-2012 Award Recipient

Catherine Clark, Au.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Communications Studies and Services
National Technical Institute for the Deaf

  • Joined NTID in 1986
  • Participant in the Minority Audiology Clinical Fellowship Program
  • Serves on the leadership team of the NTID Diversity Group
  • Member of the Rochester chapter of the National Black Deaf Advocates organization
  • Established a mentorship program with a program for deaf and hard-of-hearing students at Monroe Middle School
  • Serves as the Cochlear Implant Coordinator for Communication Studies, and is a resource for over 300 students
  • Mentor for NTID's Emerging Leaders Program
  • Past chair of the NTID Affirmative Action Advisory Committee where she was instrumental in developing strategies for improving the recruitment and retention of underrepresented faculty, staff, and students
  • Served on the executive board of the Rochester School for the Deaf
  • Co-developed and taught a course at NTID entitled "Black Experience" where she traces the founding of Black America from its origins in Africa to the present day
  • includes members of the National Black Deaf Advocates group into research project assignments
  • explores current health issues in the Black Deaf community
  • Au.D., Salus University; MS, Audiology, University of Louisville; BS, Speech and Hearing Services, Bradley University


In order to be considered for this award, a faculty member must have been employed by RIT for a minimum of three years of continuous service as a regular (i.e., full-time, part-time, or extended part-time) employee. Temporary faculty, including those hired on an adjunct basis, are not eligible for nomination.

  • develops and delivers innovative course curricula that encourage students to critically examine, discuss, share, develop, and promote their understanding of diversity
  • develops inclusive teaching methods that foster thought and dialogue concerning issues of pluralism
  • disseminates scholarly research or other creative work that examines, reviews, develops, and/or promotes issues of diversity
  • develops programs that serve to enhance the recruitment, retention, and graduation of students and/or the recruitment and retention of faculty from underrepresented groups
  • provides service to the RIT and/or off-campus communities, especially in ways that serve to build connections between these two groups in an effort to enhance and foster issues of pluralism
  • participates in the mentorship of undergraduate and/or graduate students outside of the classroom in ways that serve to enhance their understanding and promotion of issues that involve diversity
  • develops programs that serve to encourage an open dialogue concerning issues of diversity and pluralism among various constituencies

How to nominate:

Isaac L. Jordan Faculty Pluralism Award 2019

André O. Hudson, Ph.D., Chairman
Isaac L. Jordan Faculty Award Committee | 585-475-4259

The recipient will receive a $1,000 cash prize and an artistic rendition of a flame representing the ongoing spirit of diversity.