Champion for Social Change Honored at MLK Celebration

Communication Studies Professor Named Diversity Trailblazer Award Recipient

The Kent State University Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) has named Suzy D’Enbeau, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the School of Communication Studies, as the 2017 recipient of the Diversity Trailblazer Award. D’Enbeau was recognized during the university’s 15th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration.

The Diversity Trailblazer Award recognizes diversity pioneers associated with Kent State University who have displayed exemplary contributions in the area of diversity to the university community. Honorees are nominated by faculty, staff and students from across the Kent State community.

"The staff of DEI have created an amazing infrastructure of comprehensive programming and numerous possibilities to infuse diversity work into all parts of our campus community," D'Enbeau said. "I believe that now, more than ever, as an institute of higher education, we are obligated to answer their call. Everyone [...] can do something, whether it's focusing on our internal efforts to create a culture of caring at Kent State or our external efforts directed towards creating a more equitable, respectful and just society for everyone."

Award recipients are evaluated on the following criteria:

  1. The nominee has a record of proven sustainability and progressive change in the areas of inclusive excellence and diversity.
  2. The candidate made significant contributions to the cause of inclusion at Kent State University.

  3. The candidate’s achievements have been attested to by persons, both internal and external to the KSU community, who are familiar with achievements in diversity and who are capable of evaluating them.
  4. The candidate is or has been involved with and served the KSU community as a whole.

D’Enbeau teaches courses in organizational communication, gender and communication, and qualitative methods and analysis. She has more than 20 academic publications across her research areas, which include how social change organizations navigate competing goals in a variety of contexts, ranging from domestic violence prevention to transnational feminist organizing; challenging dominant ways of thinking about, constructing, and performing gender in different organizational contexts and in popular culture; and unpacking some of the challenges of qualitative inquiry in terms of analysis and researcher identity.

As a result of her research, D’Enbeau was the only Kent State faculty member who was invited to participate in writing the university’s application for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Campus Grants program. She has also taken a leadership role in the campus Green Dot Bystander Program. In 2014 in her Gender and Communication course, her students learned about the Green Dot movement and took on a project to develop and launch a marketing plan for bringing it to Kent State. In fall 2014, she shared the full Green Dot workshop with her students, who were trained as active bystanders and participated in creating a message of non-violence across campus.

“The college is really proud of Suzy’s commitment to these important areas of research, teaching and service, and I am delighted that the campus is honoring Suzy in this way,” said Amy Reynolds, Ph.D., dean of the College of Communication and Information.

Learn more about the Diversity Trailblazer Award at, and read the full transcript of D'Enbeau's acceptance speech online.

POSTED: Thursday, January 26, 2017 05:29 PM
Updated: Thursday, December 8, 2022 08:38 PM