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Two faculty and one staff member receive Diversity Champion Awards

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Dr. Gary Adcox, Dr. Courtney Ferriter and Xiaoyan Yang are the 2019-20 Diversity Champion Award winners.

Two faculty members and one staff member have earned the 2019-20 Diversity Champion Awards for supporting an inclusive community at the University of North Georgia (UNG). Dr. Gary Adcox, Dr. Courtney Ferriter and Xiaoyan Yang were announced as the winners Aug. 10 as part of UNG LEADS Day.

"This year's Diversity Champions ensure that our inclusion efforts continue strongly during this time of pandemic," said Dr. Pablo Mendoza, director of Diversity and Inclusion at UNG. "One recipient has worked hard to establish and maintain community relations. Another demonstrates that our world must include the margins, UNG communities whose voices shouldn't ever be overlooked. And another has demonstrated that the UNG community is truly global in scope."

Dr. Gary Adcox is director of Campus Success and Strategic Initiatives on UNG's Oconee Campus.

His work to engage leaders along the education pipeline in nearby Athens-Clarke County has led to the development of partnerships with Athens-Clarke County high schools, Career Academy, and middle schools. These efforts have resulted in bringing male students of color and their mentors to the Oconee Campus for tours. He has also arranged transportation for students of color to attend the Nighthawks Student Opportunities for Accelerated Readiness (SOAR) middle school program, and he has worked directly with those students during the three-week summer experience.

"Dr. Gary Adcox embraces and works to share the belief that creating a diverse educational community benefits all members of the university community, as well as the communities that we serve," Dr. Cyndee Perdue Moore, executive director of UNG's Oconee Campus, wrote in her nomination of Adcox.

Dr. Courtney Ferriter is an assistant professor of English. In her spring 2020 gender and literature course, she oriented the course theme to explore LGBTQ+ experience, aligning exploration of gender through diverse and historically marginalized experiences. 

In spring 2019, she gave a public lecture as part of the Chautauqua series on the Oconee Campus that highlighted powerful Jewish women leaders from the Torah.

As a member of the American Democracy Project committee, she co-organized and co-moderated along with fellow faculty member Virginia Feher a student-led forum titled "What Makes Us American?" wherein students took up topics ranging from immigration to gay marriage by practicing constructive disagreement and mutual respect.

"As an openly Jewish and LGBTQ+ professor, Dr. Courtney Ferriter's commitment to fostering diversity, free speech, inclusion, and civil discourse across cultural differences have strengthened our campus's democratic culture," Dr. Stephanie Rountree, assistant professor of English, wrote in her nomination of Ferriter.

Xiaoyan Yang is the associate director of the Center for Language Education (CLE) in UNG's College of Education, and she creates a welcoming, family culture for all international students studying English in preparation for their university studies.

Each semester she partners with College of Education students to facilitate language development for the CLE students, as well as intercultural competencies in future educators.

Yang connects with international partners, such as Liaocheng University, to recruit international students to study English in the CLE and diversify UNG.

"Many UNG faculty and staff describe Xiaoyan Yang as 'going above and beyond to advocate for international students' and 'creating a welcoming and diverse campus,'" Dr. James Badger, director of the CLE, wrote in his nomination of Yang.

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