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English Department Wins Chancellor’s Creating Community Award

outside of Tompkins

The English department received a 2022 Chancellor’s Creating Community Award in recognition of its contributions to furthering NC State’s equity, diversity and inclusion (DEI) goals.

Selected from six nominated units in the colleges/divisions category, the department won for its Anti-Racist Pedagogy Initiative. It received the award during the annual Recognizing Excellence in Diversity event in April hosted by the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity. The department also received $1,000 in discretionary funds.

The Anti-Racist Pedagogy Initiative reflects the department’s commitment to encouraging an environment of inclusivity for students, says Laura Severin, head of the English department. 

“I’m so proud of the hard work my faculty did to improve our curriculum for students, even though we were dealing with the effects of COVID-19 at the same time,” she adds.

In her nomination for the award, Juliana Makuchi Nfah-Abbenyi, English professor and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences’ assistant dean for diversity, wrote:

“Understanding that enacting an anti-racist pedagogy is more than adding diverse content to a course or broader curriculum, the department undertook a major curriculum transformation project.”

As part of the initiative, the department:

  • Made $20,000 available for faculty to infuse DEI in courses.
  • Invited faculty to apply for $1,000 teaching awards to support scholarship that directly promotes anti-racist pedagogical strategies in the classroom.
  • Asked applicants to share with other faculty newly emerging and already executed teaching lessons they were using to promote anti-racism or address issues of systemic racism, white privilege and white supremacy.
  • Distributed teaching grants to 21 faculty members in six areas of the department, including creative writing, film, journalism, literature, rhetoric and professional writing, and teacher education.

Additionally, the department asked award recipients to:

  • Attend two departmental workshops that centered on anti-racist scholarship, as well as pedagogy events organized by the department’s diversity committee.
  • Provide final documentation, showing how their teaching lessons will be substantially revised because of attending the workshops, responding to committee feedback, actual re-teaching or personal reflection.
  • Join in a collective workshop event where four to five faculty members or teams share an overview of their lesson in a 10-minute presentation.

Other activities that supported the university’s DEI goals include:

  • Recruiting, retaining and promoting individuals from underrepresented populations.
  • Presenting the “Black in the Academy” panel for graduate students in the spring.
  • Continuing the First-Year Writing program’s “Anti-Racist Pedagogy Initiative.”

The annual awards, presented in six categories, honor DEI efforts by faculty, staff, colleges, divisions, students and student organizations.

Multiple College Nominees

In addition to the English department’s award, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences had several faculty, students and student organizations nominated in other categories. 

Outstanding Faculty Award Nominees:

  • Kristen Alff, assistant professor, history
  • Intae Yoon, associate professor, social work

Outstanding Student Award Nominees:

  • Anne Njathi, graduate student, communication, rhetoric and digital media
  • Darien Dixon, graduate student, sociology
  • Isabela Latorre, senior, political science
  • Layla Saliba, senior, psychology
  • Paige Moore, graduate student, public administration

Outstanding Student Organization Award Nominee:

  • Department of Sociology and Anthropology Student Ambassadors