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Diversity Champion Awards nominations due July 10

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Christian Bello Escobar receives a 2018-19 Diversity Champion Award at UNG LEADS Day in August 2019. He is pictured with his nominator, Dr. Carol Adams, associate vice president and dean of University College, and Dr. Pablo Mendoza, UNG director of diversity and inclusion.

Nominations are open through July 10 for the University of North Georgia's (UNG) 2019-20 Diversity Champion Awards.

One person from the faculty and another person from the staff will be honored with the awards during faculty and staff convocation in August.

Dr. Pablo Mendoza, UNG director of diversity and inclusion, enjoys learning about the efforts of UNG faculty and staff during the nomination process each year. He sees the awards as a chance to connect people who may not realize they have similar goals in mind.

"This is an opportunity for people to see their colleagues' programs and how they can partner on better helping our students," Mendoza said. "This is an opportunity to expand perspectives."

The Diversity Champion Awards recognize UNG faculty and staff who have made outstanding contributions toward advancing diversity and inclusion at the university to ensure that the university is a vibrant learning and work environment, as outlined in the UNG Diversity Commitment. The commitment aims to create "an environment that is welcoming, respectful, and inclusive of individuals and groups from a range of social, economic, and cultural backgrounds." Nominees must be faculty or staff members who have worked at UNG for at least one year.

Nominations can be submitted on UNG's Diversity and Inclusion website.

Mendoza said examples of potential nominees would be those who advocate for more inclusive hiring practices or who shine a light on generally overlooked elements within their curriculum. One example would be intentionally including more African-American writers in an American literature course.

Personnel from Multicultural Student Affairs, the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), and the College of Education will serve on the selection committee.

"They're excited to review the nominations from their peers throughout the university," Mendoza said.

Thalia Escobedo, retention coordinator for CAMP, said some of the UNG faculty and staff's efforts to provide access to technology during COVID-19 could be another type of work considered in the Diversity Champion Awards. Escobedo was on the selection committee for 2018-19 and is glad to be a part of the process again.

"To recognize those who are taking the steps to be more inclusive or celebrate diversity or expose students, faculty and staff to different cultures is very important," she said. "This is a way of saying these are the people we need to follow."

Last year's Diversity Champion Award winners were Christian Bello Escobar, director of UNG's Migrant Programs and Services; Dr. Lauren Johnson, head of the Department of Culture, Language and Leadership in the College of Education; and Dr. Cyndee Perdue Moore, executive director of UNG's Oconee Campus.

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