2017 Diversity Awards Presented During Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration | e-Inside | Kent State University

2017 Diversity Awards Presented During Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

Communication Studies Faculty Member and Division of Information Services Honored

Kent State University's Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion presented awards for outstanding contributions toward diversity at the 15th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Jan. 26.

The Unity Award for Diversity, which honors a Kent State unit for its commitment to implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives, was awarded to the Division of Information Services (IS).Edward G. Mahon, vice president for information services and chief information officer, accepted the Unity Award for Diversity on behalf of the Division of Information Services.

“The IS division is to be commended for its efforts in striving to create an inclusive working environment evident by the Diversity Committee and IS Listening partnership with the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion,” says Shana Lee, director of diversity and inclusion leadership for the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Edward G. Mahon, vice president for information services and chief information officer, accepted the award on behalf of the Division of Information Services, which has been recognized nationally for its work in developing award-winning best practices in supplier diversity strategies and initiatives.  

“This award has been received with deep appreciation,” Mahon says. “It really speaks to our core in terms of who we try to be as people. And it reflects the heartfelt work we do throughout the year.”

That work includes partnering with Kent State’s Procurement Department to expand technology expenditures to minority-owned companies. The division also works with the Division of Human Resources to expand its applicant pool by participating jointly in job fairs. Diversity is further cultivated within the division itself through the IS Listening Project, a partnership with the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in which members of both divisions are brought together to discuss matters of diversity. The division also supports Information Services’ all-volunteer diversity through events held throughout the year, Mahon says.

The Diversity Trailblazer Award, which recognizes individuals associated with Kent State for their contributions toward diversity, was awarded to Suzy D’Enbeau, assistant professor in the School of Communication Studies.

“Dr. D’Enbeau was chosen because of her various contributions to progressive change in the areas of teaching and service,” Lee says. “Specifically, the committee felt her work impacts the greater university and community through multiple levels and serves as a blue print on how to better understand the complexities of diversity and diversity work.”

D’Enbeau said she promotes diversity and inclusion in every aspect of her life: as a researcher, instructor and volunteer. She says she feels a responsibility to help her students develop an appreciation for the different experiences of those around them.

“This university makes doing the work of diversity very easy,” D’Enbeau says. “I share the same values as the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. I’m obviously very excited, and I think I do a lot. But I’m really just tapping into an infrastructure that’s already in place. The resources are already here. I just figure out ways to align what I do in my classroom and in my research with that.

“Now more than ever, it is a time that we take these issues seriously,” she continues. “I feel like we are obligated as an institution of higher education. We are cultivating the next generation of global citizens.”