Diversity faculty; MLK service awards named

PULLMAN — Michael Pavel, WSU education professor,  will receive the university’s inaugural Diversity Faculty Award. (Photo of Pavel at right)
The Office of the Provost in cooperation with the Division of Student Affairs, Equity and Diversity created the award to recognize faculty members who advance diversity through their teaching, research and community service.
WSU staff member Debi Robinson-Smith and graduate student Michael Schwartz will receive Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Awards.
Pavel, Robinson-Smith and Schwartz will be recognized at the WSU Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation, at 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, in Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum.
Following the award ceremony Judy Richardson, educational director for the award-wining documentary series “Eyes on the Prize,” and a key figure in the Civil Rights Movement, will give a presentation. The event is free and open to the public.
Pavel is an associate professor in Educational Leadership and Counseling Psychology. WSU Diversity Faculty Fellow Alex Tan, speaking on behalf of the award selection committee, said Pavel’s contributions to diversity extend across all areas of teaching, research and outreach.
“Dr. Pavel’s commitment and passion for advancing diversity is remarkable,” said Tan. “He is nationally recognized for his work with the Native Indian population, he is an effective and passionate mentor, and his scholarly work is used as a tool that helps advance under-represented groups.”
Pavel said he is “honored” and “humbled” to receive the award emphasizing faculty members are core stakeholders of the university that can bridge diversity work from our offices to the classrooms and from our labs to the field.
“We all step forward in so many ways to find a place of appreciation that is central to our humanity,” he said.
Distinguished Service Awards recipient Robinson-Smith, assistant director in the Women’s Resource Center since 2002, was hailed by her nominator as a tireless worker who is not one to seek the limelight.
“Debi is a woman of courage, judgment, and commitment,” said Melynda Huskey. “Her work, like the vital work of so many women, is often overlooked; the joyous color, the artistic embellishment, the nourishing of mind, spirit and body which goes hand-in-hand with her never-flagging commitment to human rights.”
In her current position, Robinson-Smith advises five women’s organizations including the Association of Pacific and Asian Women, Black Women’s Caucus, Mujeres Unidas, Native American Women’s Association, and the YWCA of WSU.
Schwartz, the Distinguished Service Awards recipient in the student
category, is working on his master’s degree in history at WSU.
The San Jose, Calif., native was nominated for his contributions to WSU’s Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) where he serves as coordinator of the Statewide Service Learning Program.
Nominators Dan Allbery and Kim Freier wrote, “Through his combined efforts, Michael has facilitated the development of community partnerships, mutual education, critical dialogue, and direct service that has benefitted people throughout Washington.”
Schwartz said “I am deeply honored to be a recipient of this award. More than anything, I believe it is a testament to the people with whom I work and I hope this award brings more attention to the CCE and the amazing and important service-learning students can do.”
Every year the MLK Celebration Committee analyzes written nominations for its Distinguished Service Award. In a coordinated but separate process from WSU’s, the University of Idaho also selected its MLK Distinguished Service Award Recipients.
More information about the recipients and Living Voices can be obtained by visiting www.uidaho.edu/oma.
For more information about the events for the MLK Celebration visit
www.mlk.wsu.edu or www.wsunews.wsu.edu/detail.asp?StoryID=6951.

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