University of Nebraska announces Inclusive Excellence Development Grant recipients

June 14, 2019

The University of Nebraska President’s Office has announced the recipients of the spring 2019 Inclusive Excellence Development Grants, a university-wide program that provides support for initiatives that advance diversity, access and inclusion across the NU campuses.

Through the program, the University of Nebraska awards eight grants of up to $3,000 each during two funding cycles per calendar year. The grants are designed to strengthen existing or facilitate new collaborative initiatives in diversity, access and inclusion, with an emphasis on improving campus climate and student, faculty and staff recruitment and retention.

“We’re proud to support those ideas, and to thank our colleagues for their commitment to our 52,000 students.” Stancia Whitcomb Jenkins, associate to the president and assistant vice president for diversity, access and inclusion

“Inclusive excellence requires us to be proactive in building a university community that is welcoming, safe and open to all. It’s important that we invest in this work and take time to celebrate our successes,” said Stancia Whitcomb Jenkins, associate to the president and assistant vice president for diversity, access and inclusion. “It’s clear from the applications we’ve received for the Inclusive Excellence Development Grants that our faculty and staff have many outstanding ideas for building an even stronger University of Nebraska. We’re proud to support those ideas, and to thank our colleagues for their commitment to our 52,000 students.”

Spring 2019 Inclusive Excellence Development Grant recipients are as follows.

Mental Health-Focused Diversity & Inclusion Event, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Applicants: Kara Brant, associate director for support and advocacy, Student Affairs; Christopher Dulak, senior assistant director for marketing and communications, Campus Recreation; Carrie Jackson; assistant director for reservations and events, Nebraska Union; Karen Kassebaum, director of staff diversity and inclusion; Moises Padilla, director of academic services and enrollment management; Deanna Schuldeis, EEO/affirmative action specialist, institutional equity and compliance; and Julie Singh, senior human resources facilitator.

The event, an expansion of a successful diversity and inclusion resource fair in September 2018, will engage campus and community partners in providing hands-on activities and resources to increase student, faculty and staff understanding of mental health resources, awareness of biases and stereotypes related to mental illness, and actions to improve the well-being of themselves and others. Grant funds will be used to develop promote the event to the university community and for some event logistics.

Racial Literacy Roundtables, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Applicants: Kara Viesca, associate professor of teaching, learning and teacher education; Rachel Schachter, assistant professor of child, youth and family studies; and Julie Tippens, assistant professor of child, youth and family studies.

Open to all students, faculty and staff members, the roundtables will provide for intentional, facilitated conversations around race and intersectionality, engaging UNL researchers and community experts on relevant topics. The roundtables will be open to all but designed with teacher candidates in mind. Similar roundtables at other institutions have been shown to help develop attendees’ racial literacy and understanding of the complex mechanisms in which race influences the educational and social experiences of individuals and communities of color. Grant funds will help launch a series of eight roundtables in the 2019-20 school year.

First-Gen Mavs Faculty/Staff Symposium, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Applicants: Dusten Crichton, director, Thompson Learning Community; Elizabeth Blanco, associate director for multicultural affairs; Juan Casas, faculty fellow in academic affairs and associate professor of psychology; Aaron Krueger, director of UNO Success Academies and the Young Scholars Program; Latrina Parker, P-16 initiative coordinator for the Service Learning Academy; Patty Patton Shearer, coordinator of recruitment and academic support for the Goodrich Scholarship Program; Shannon Teamer, director of Project Achieve; and Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado, assistant vice chancellor for student success.

The symposium will bring together faculty and staff to share best practices, raise awareness and increase retention efforts related to first-generation students at UNO. About 42% of UNO’s undergraduate students and 17% of graduate students are first-generation; of those, many are students of color. UNO’s aim with the symposium is to increase the campus’ understanding of and capacity to support the unique needs of the large first-generation student population, with an ultimate goal of improving these students’ sense of belonging and their retention and graduation rates. Grant funding will be used to support key elements of the symposium, including a guest keynote speaker and various logistics.

A Proactive Approach to Diversity and Inclusion: Developing an Immersive Performance-Driven Virtual Reality-Based Diversity and Inclusion Training Program, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Applicants: Changmin Yan, associate professor of advertising and public relations and director of the Consortium for Health Promotion and Translational Research; Adam Wagler, assistant professor of advertising and public relations; Katie Krcmarik, assistant professor of practice in advertising; Alan Eno, assistant professor of practice; and Karen Kassebaum, director of staff diversity and inclusion.

A collaboration between faculty from UNL’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications and staff from the Staff Diversity and Inclusion office, the virtual reality-based training program will provide members of the university community with immersive, first-person, interactive experiences in addressing difficult diversity, inclusion and equity issues through role-playing. The goal is to promote awareness, knowledge, empathy and practice of diversity issues by allowing users to experience authentic and educational scenarios. Grant funding will support development of the virtual reality training modules, data collection from tests of the program, and preparation of extramural funding proposals.

Applications for the fall Inclusive Excellence Development Grants will open later this fall. More details will be released at that time.

Media Contact:
Melissa Lee
Director of Communications,
University of Nebraska