Outstanding Social Justice Collaboration:
This award recognizes outstanding collaborative efforts between campus and community groups/offices/organizations, or committees/commissions of ACPA and/or other national associations. This award recognizes creative initiative taking in a collaborative partnership that addresses an issue of social justice on their campus or in their community, in a progressive and positive manner.
Dr. Laura Finley, Barry University
“Dr. Laura Finley has enjoyed working with underserved communities and doing her part to create better conditions for community members. Since 2002, she has sustained her interest in service-learning as a pedagogical strategy and as a way to get her students engaged in the community. It was in the Spring of 2002 that she was invited to participate a in six-week interdisciplinary Service-Learning Seminar as part of her doctoral program at Western Michigan University. In part because of her interest in using service-learning to address community issues, her mentor, Dr. Sue Caulfield, and she submitted a proposal and received approval to co-teach a Sociology of School Violence graduate course at Western Michigan that Fall.
By the following year, she was becoming immersed in service-learning; and she incorporated service-learning into various sociology courses at Northern Colorado University from 2003 until 2005. When she moved to South Florida, she utilized service-learning with independent study students at Florida Atlantic University from 2005 through 2007.
At Barry University, where she has been a faculty member since 2005, she has helped to coordinate the service-learning component of the Perspective Consciousness and Social Justice (SOC 200) course every year. At the beginning of the 2012-2013 academic year, she assumed full coordinating responsibility but is working collaboratively with colleagues to ensure that the program runs smoothly and efficiently for the 250 students who participate each Spring semester. In her own SOC 200 course section, the service-learning component has produced evidence that the pedagogy improves student learning, promotes civic engagement, and fosters commitment to the community.
In addition, she has been pursuing community-engaged research and is an active member of Barry University’s Faculty Learning Community for Engaged Scholarship. Various publications in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at conferences reflect her increasing interest in this type of work.
Some highlights of her service-learning and community engagement experience at Barry are as follows: Created the University’s Peace-In (held on or near the International Day of Peace) to incorporate peace-related service for students; inaugurated the College Brides Walk (anti-violence initiative) and the Student Green Team (environmental awareness program) as service-learning opportunities at Barry University, 2011-2012; helped Amnesty International—Broward County Chapter win a bronze prize in the annual Hironaka Award category for work on the College Brides Walk; received Women Who Rock award from Barry University F.E.M.A.L.E’s group for College Brides Walk, Spring 2012; received a Student Affairs award for providing service/engagement opportunities for students, Spring 2012; received an Award for Community Engagement from North Miami Mayor André Pierre during 2nd Annual College Brides Walk, February 2012.; authored one paper and one book chapter (to be published in late 2012 or 2013) about Barry University’s service-learning efforts.
Taking innovative approaches to service-learning began while Dr. Finley was a faculty member at Florida Atlantic University, where she developed service-learning independent study for two students. Upon receipt of training, students served as community educators for a domestic violence agency’s program. Students presented a six-week anti-bullying curriculum to area elementary schools and facilitated other community-based presentations on dating and domestic violence. The students earned service-learning credit for journaling about their service, including how it connected to curricula in a Family and Society course, as well as recommendations for the agency to improve their program.
At Barry University, she helped to expand service-learning opportunities and activities as part of a 200-level sociology course in which service-learning is an integral component. Students are required to fulfill a 10-hour service-learning requirement. She developed and offered new, campus-based options – the College Brides Walk and the Student Green Team – to accommodate students who would otherwise experience difficulties getting transportation to distant (community) locations.
The College Brides Walk was initiated to raise awareness about domestic and dating violence. It is now an annual event, held each February, on Barry’s main campus in Miami Shores, and involves collaboration with six other area colleges and universities as well as local service providers and organizations, city government, law enforcement, and attorneys. Students participate in advance of the walk by helping to plan the event; assisting in educational outreach on campus and to area elementary, middle, and high schools; setting up and cleaning up; and photographing the event. Participating Brides Walk students have also helped coordinate the Clothesline Project, a t-shirt painting initiative that helps facilitate conversations about violence and abuse.
The annual College Brides Walk, which involves more than 20 campus-based partners (ranging from divisions and departments to staff and student groups), showcases Barry University’s commitment to social justice and collaborative service. It not only raises awareness on campus but also reaches the larger community through outreach efforts before the walk to area groups, organizations, and schools. Local media covers the event, which helps to highlight the institution as a good citizen. Participation by the North Miami Mayor’s Office has resulted in annual proclamations announcing the Friday before Valentine’s Day to be College Brides Walk Day in the City of North Miami. These proclamations hang at the University as a sign of its good relations. Additional information is available at www.collegebrideswalk.com.
The Student Green Team, which started during the 2011-12 academic year, is intended to help implement environmental initiatives on campus, to educate the campus about sustainability, and to demonstrate to the wider community that the University is committed to environmental preservation. In its inaugural year, the Green Team helped to revitalize Barry University’s recycling program by assisting Facilities staff in distributing recycling bins and collecting recyclable materials. Additionally, the Green Team helped educate students, faculty, and staff about what items are recyclable and designed an awareness campaign that involved regular tabling, games, and posters. Further, the Green Team helped to plan and coordinate Barry University’s Earth Month activities in Spring 2012, including panel discussions, film screenings, speakers, games and activities, and an educational concert.
Moreover, Dr. Finley developed a student service-learning opportunity involving the Peace-In program. This program has not only enhanced the sociology curriculum but has benefited a local elementary school’s Peace Club as well.
Dr. Finley authored an entry for Teachers Without Borders’ Peace Education in Action compilation, to be published in late 2012 or 2013. The entry focuses on service-learning as a means of human rights education about domestic violence. She has also authored a book chapter on holistic domestic violence programming focusing on the College Brides Walk as a service-learning project at Barry University, to be published in 2013 by Information Age Press. She is a current member of Barry University’s Faculty Learning Community for Engaged Scholarship.”
2006 - Social Justice Retreat, The University of Minnesota
2007 - World AIDS Day Observance, University of Nevada - Las Vegas
2008 - Ryan C. Holmes, LaSalle University
2009 - No Award
2010 - SEED (Seeking Educational Equity & Diversity) Program, University of Wisconsin - Madison
2011 - Growing Allies, The University of Michigan
2012 – Anthony “Tony” Jakubisin, University of California, San Diego
Exemplary Social Justice Contribution by a Graduate Student:
This award honors a full-time graduate student that has demonstrated leadership and activism in the area of social justice on campus; and has role modeled the qualities of a positive change agent in their community.
Luis Player Del Gado, University of West Georgia
“Luis' contributions to social justice lie in the work that he does everyday through his relationships with students, faculty, and staff. As a judicial affairs professional he thinks about the systemic issues that affect students and their actions as he makes decisions about their lives. Also, as a graduate student with more life and student affairs experiences than many of his peers he serves as a mentor and teacher to many of the other students in his graduate program.
Luis promotes social justice through nearly all of his actions as a graduate student. He thinks critically about what he is learning and pushes himself to consider how he can bring about change through his work and educational experiences. He thoughtful, and intentional about promoting social justice as a graduate student and purposefully engages in conversations about social justice. For example, his scholarly work addresses issues related to oppression and injustice and he recognizes that only through systemic change can we truly realize equity in higher education. He is then willing to share that perspective in class.
Luis engages in critical thought and reflection on a daily basis and he shares his wisdom and experiences with others in a way that is not threatening or accusatory. Yet he is able to send his message in a meaningful way that makes others around him think deeply about how their actions affect the world we live in and those around us. Luis is a scholar, an activist, and a mentor who deserves to be recognized for his contributions to promoting social justice.”
2010 - Jordan West & Edward Smith, The Pennsylvania State University
2011 - Krystal Dains, Kent State University
2012 – Parker Hurley, University of North Carolina-Greensboro; Jennifer M. Garza, University of California, San Diego; The Womyn of Colour Network, Iowa State University
Innovative Response, Social Justice:
This award recognizes innovative educational, developmental or social action response to an issue of social justice on campus, and/or in the community at a local and global level. This award is intended to recognize recent events which have been implemented within the 12 months prior to convention (usually April-March).
2006 - Stop Hate March, University of Delaware
2007 - No Award
2008 - Campus Pride
2009 - No Award
2010 - No Award
2011 - Dawn Snyder, Victor Santana-Melgoza, and Willie Morgan, Oregon State University
2012 – Ohio U STARS, Ohio University
Outstanding Social Justice Educator, Trainer, or Mentor:
This award recognizes an individual who is personally committed to social justice education and/or activism and is an outstanding educator, trainer or mentor to other professionals or students in the area of social activism. This award is different than the Voices of Inclusion Medallion which is given by the larger umbrella of ACPA and recognizes folks who have shown leadership over five years on broader initiatives of diversity and multiculturalism on their campuses.
Heather Shea Gasser, University of Idaho
“Heather Shea Gasser has worked at the University of Idaho since February 2008 as the director of the Women’s Center. Being an advocate for social justice is no easy task at Idaho, it is not part of the culture, it is not always understood, and at a mostly homogenous institution it can be difficult for folks to understand the importance of advocating for social justice. In this environment maintaining a steadfast role of being an advocate for social justice can be unacknowledged work. Our work in student affairs is often thankless, something I think we all understand, but to have a moment to be acknowledged by your peers, to be reminded that your work matters is important and revitalizing.
In Heather’s role she oversees the Women’s Center as well as the LGBTQA office. Through her direction the Women’s Center consistently offers a wide variety of educational programming including Take Back the Night, LunaFest, Brown Bag Series, Mad Men Monday’s, Housing and Off-Campus Living Fair, Virginia Wolf Awards, Lavender Lunch, World AIDS Day, Freedom to Marry Week, National Day of Silence, Lavender Graduation and the Vagina Monologues. There was time that I think Heather would have admitted to feeling burnt out by the Vagina Monologues, however her approach to reframing the value of the program was to assess it in a different manner. She conducted focus groups with the directors and cast members to understand what they learned about themselves and feminism, through participating in the monologues. I think this reframing is indicative of Heather’s tenacity and commitment to all of her advocacy efforts. In her time here, the University of Idaho’s rankings on Campus Pride have increased dramatically. The office resources have expanded to meet otherwise unmet needs like supporting office campus students and sex education through the Got Sex program.
This current academic year has been an amazing opportunity to see Heather’s efforts in action. In addition to the traditional work done by the Women’s Center, the office is commemorating its 40th Anniversary. This entire semester has been filled with events celebrating this milestone including slam poetry, art exhibits, women equality day fair, a series of women’s history brown bag sessions, a gala and Gloria Steinem as the keynote speaker for the Women’s Leadership Conference. While this work is certainly celebratory, without a doubt it took a lot of effort and dedication by the Women’s Center to make it successful, every single college donated money to support bringing Gloria Steinem to campus, the efforts to raise funds to make this vision a success have been unparalleled at the University of Idaho. The intentionality of utilizing so many different levers of social change throughout the celebration incredibly educational, the utilization of artistic expression, civic professionalism, community building and social media reached learners in a variety of ways and depths.
Heather’s efforts impact many students, faculty and staff at the University of Idaho as well as the Moscow community. Her commitment extends beyond leading such a successful office; she is an active member of the President’s Diversity Council, conducts many Stop the Hate trainings for first year students, is a frequent instructor for the Diversity and Stratification certificate program and serves on the university wide Ubuntu committee.
Outside of the university, Heather is an active member of the Moscow Giving Circle. The Giving Circle is a group of women who care deeply about our community of Moscow, Idaho. By pooling money, the Circle funds efforts that improve life for residents of our community and Latah County, address local environmental concerns, and enhance community resources.
ACPA is Heather’s professional home. Heather has consistently and selflessly taken on many leadership roles within ACPA; perhaps her largest role is her current role as the General Programs, roundtables coordinator for the 2013 convention. Heather also served a the assembly coordinator for commissions from 2009-2013 Heather’s commitment and dedication was recognized when she was selected to be a Diamond Honoree last year.
Heather’s social justice journey began while a graduate student at Colorado State University, where her master’s thesis focused on students with multiple racial identities. Her commitment has remained steady for the past 12 years since completing her master’s work. As a colleague at the University of Idaho, I can attest to Heather’s willingness and desire to help others begin or develop their own social justice journey. I know this institution and many others would not be the same without Heather’s commitment to social justice. I believe that Heather deserves this recognition and that it would be incredibly meaningful to her to receive.”
2006 - Craig Almo, University of Maryland
2007 - Penny Rice, Iowa State University
2008 - Bernie Liang, University of Washington, Tacoma
2009 - Hind Mari, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
2010 - David E. Jones, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
2011 - Kris Bergbom, Assistant Director of Student Programs, Mount Holyoke College
2012 – Arian Bryant, Rutgers University
Commitment to Social Justice Education:
This award honors a department, campus, ACPA committee or commission that has shown a commitment to social justice education and development, training, or programming.
University of Arizona Department of Residence Life
“The University of Arizona's (UA) Department of Residence Life has long been a leader in social justice education, both in our campus and nationally. This award would recognize the hard work of the staff who work tirelessly to create a climate of equity and inclusion in a state that needs social justice advocates!”
2007 - Division of Student and Campus Life - The University of Vermont
2008 - The Elon Academy - Elon University
2009 – Samanta Lopez-University of Delaware 2008
2010 – No Award
2011 – No Award
2012 – SIU’s Social Justice Leadership Institute, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
Commitment to the Commission (awarded bi-annually):
Brian Arao, UC Berkeley
“Brian is an amazing social justice educator and member of CSJE and ACPA. He has had a role in CSJE almost since its beginning. He has brought a strong vision of equity into his leadership roles coordinating programming for the annual convention, working with the tools for social justice conference, as a vice chair, as a reviewer for the upcoming CSJE manuscript, and currently as the chair. Brian is not only tirelessly on top of commission details and tasks, but has front of mind the processes that will best ensure equity of participation. Beyond managing the commission on a consistent basis, Brian is a wise visionary making plans of how to position the commission for the future. For example, during the discussions with NASPA about consolidation, Brian worked to ensure that the commission's voice was heard by leadership. A couple other significant contributions from the past year I can name include coordinating a shared social at convention with SJTI as well as a drive-in workshop with SJTI. Brian is a warm, connected, inviting leader of the commission, and the CSJE would not be the same without him!”
2007 - Susan Stuart, Queensborough Community College
2009 - Keith Edwards, Macalester College
2011 - Stephani Bondi, Iowa State University