Intentional Steps: Faculty Members Recognized for Diversity and Inclusion

Awardees of the Provost's Award for Diversity in the CurriculumOn Tuesday, Nov. 17, Paula K. Davis, assistant vice chancellor for health sciences diversity in the School of Health Sciences, addressed the Provost’s Diversity Awards Luncheon.

“It’s an honor to be with you to recognize faculty who have taken steps to make changes to their courses, methods and classroom environments to add a focus on attention to diversity,” Davis told the audience.

“I’m very fond of saying that when it comes to diversity and inclusion, unless you act with intent, you have done nothing. Each and every one of the faculty being honored here today have taken intentional steps to focus on diversity and inclusion in their courses, knowing the value it holds for their students,” she said. “Their actions have been particularly important and will have long-lasting impacts on students’ experiences here on campus and well beyond.”

Following Davis’ remarks, Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Ann E. Cudd recognized faculty from the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and SciencesUniversity of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and School of Education with the third annual Provost’s Award for Diversity in the Curriculum.

Sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the University Center for Teaching and Learning, the award recognizes excellence in areas such as updated curriculum, expanded cultural awareness, development of teaching methods that are especially inclusive and interactive, and consciously created learning environments that are welcoming and inclusive.

Details about the award and an online application are available on Diversity in the Curriculum webpage.

This year’s honorees are:

Karen Gilmer
Lecturer and Costume Designer, Department of Theatre Arts, Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

Karen Gilmer was recognized for developing a course featuring the history of the African American experience as told through African American playwrights, directors and casts. Her research and scholarly interests include African American theatre history, history of costume, fashion and dress, stage makeup and wig design, fabric dyeing, painting and modification and millinery. Gilmer has previously directed and designed costumes for University of Pittsburgh's Stages production of “Intimate Apparel” by Lynn Nottage, and was awarded the African American Council on the Arts' award for best costume design for August Wilson’s “Seven Guitars,” produced by Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company.

Tuangtip Klinbubpa-Neff
Associate Professor of English Literature, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

Tuangtip Klinbubpa-Neff—whose research interests include translation and American, world and multiethnic literature—received the award for redesigning several courses to incorporate more diverse, non-Western authors, as well as student-centered teaching techniques. In addition to this award, Klinbubpa-Neff has received Vira I. Heinz, Benjamin A. Gilman and Fulbright scholarships.

Lori Delale-O’Connor
Research Assistant Professor and Associate Director of Research, Center for Urban Education, School of Education

Lori Delale-O’Connor was recognized for her redesign of a course to connect qualitative research to issues of race, power and anticolonialism. Her research and scholarly interests include urban education, sociology of education, positive child and youth development and parent education. Delale-O’Connor’s work has received support from the National Science Foundation, The Spencer Foundation and the Institute of Education Sciences.

Kevin Binning
Assistant Professor of Psychology, Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

Erica McGreevy
Lecturer, Department of Biological Sciences, Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

Chandralekha Singh
Professor and Director, Discipline-based Science Education Research Center, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

Kevin BinningErica McGreevy and Chandralekha Singh were together recognized for incorporating into introductory courses a new “belonging intervention,” which resulted in improved grades for all students. Using a random assignment of classrooms to enable assessment, the intervention aimed to address gender and racial gaps; it is now part of the standard curriculum in the classes in which it was introduced.

“The intervention has had a measurable impact and, anecdotally, has received glowing praise from instructors and students who receive it,” said Charles Perfetti, director of the Learning Research and Development Center, where Binning is a research scientist. “It is truly an effective means to boost equity and inclusion at Pitt.”