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Faculty and Staff

College of Humanities and Social Sciences Wins Awards for Inclusion Efforts

Juliana and Chancellor

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences won two awards for its inclusion efforts at the 2024 Recognizing Excellence in Diversity (RED) Event. The Chancellor’s Creating Community Awards and the DEI Awards affirm NC State’s commitment to inclusiveness across the university.

Juliana Nfah-Abbenyi, distinguished professor of English and associate dean of diversity, equity and inclusion for the college received the DEI Professional Award, and VOLAR, Voluntarios Ahora en Raleigh, received the Chancellor’s Creating Community Award in the Outstanding Student Organization category.

They were among the eight award winners honored at the event, hosted by the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity. It took place on April 9 at Hunt Library.

The awards recognize the exceptional accomplishments and contributions of outstanding faculty, staff, students, colleges, student organizations and alumni in the areas of equity, diversity, inclusion, belonging and well-being throughout the 2023-24 academic year.

students gathered for a group photo

Nfah-Abbenyi was nominated for a DEI Professional Award by Melvin (Jai) Jackson, the college’s interim associate vice provost for inclusive excellence and strategic practice. Jackson’s nomination details her steadfast leadership and many contributions in the area of inclusivity.

Among them are the professional development conference and DEI councils she established. Nfah-Abbenyi has also organized events and programs — from cultural awareness campaigns to insightful workshops — that have created spaces encouraging open dialogue on inclusion issues.

Additionally, she developed the mini-grants program, promoting DEI initiatives that have led to new ideas for advancing DEI within the college. And she has worked extensively with department heads and unit leaders to champion inclusion, which has allowed her to spearhead the development of inclusive policies that address the diverse perspectives within the college.

“Juliana’s work is a shining example of someone who goes above and beyond to champion DEIB values within the NC State community,” wrote Jackson. “Her passion, dedication, and tangible contributions make her a true asset in creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for all.”

Of receiving the award Nfah-Abbenyl said: “I have worked for many years on issues of diversity, equity, social justice, and belongingness to make CHASS a place where folks can feel valued and included in the strategic vision and mission of our college. This award also recognizes the invaluable collective efforts of CHASS faculty, staff, and students who have actively engaged in initiatives and activities that contribute to a positive environment to live, work, and learn. I am proud of the positive change we have achieved as a college community.”

VOLAR specializes in connecting Spanish-speaking students with consulates, schools and organizations in the Raleigh area that need interpretation and other services. At the same time, students practice their language skills outside the classroom. The group, with more than 100 student volunteers, has been a presence in Raleigh for more than a decade

“We are honored to receive such an award and for VOLAR to be recognized for its continual service in creating bridges between cultures and empowering others,” said Emily Sands, director of VOLAR and a Spanish lecturer in the Department of World Languages and Cultures.

“At VOLAR, we not only serve the Hispanic community, but we create a mutual understanding and respect for diversity in our volunteers, cultivating a more culturally competent student body for a global NC State.

“Being recognized by the Chancellor for both the importance and the success of our efforts is both affirmational and rewarding”