Professors, Student Recognized for Diversity Advocacy
Two Nebraska Wesleyan professors and a student have been honored with the university’s Advocate for Diversity Award.
Kelly Clancy, assistant professor of political science, John Spilker, assistant professor of music and gender studies, and Flor de Maria Garcia-Garza, a junior business and psychology major, were each recognized for their work in raising awareness for issues of diversity and inclusion on campus.
Clancy was honored for her work in restructuring the Minority Politics class into a discourse instructive class to include cultural conversations and issue dialogues.
“The students focus on skills of civil disagreement, perspective talking, and inviting inclusive ideas,” said Kelly Bauer, assistant professor and chair of the Political Science Department. “Students walk out of the class different people and frequently reference this class as having the greatest impact on them.”
Spilker was honored as a passionate advocate for diversity through his service, teaching, and scholarship.
“Nationwide, music departments are known for ignoring issues of diversity and inclusion using the excuse that ‘this is art’ and therefore shouldn’t have to acknowledge the racism, sexism, ableism, and heterosexism inherent in some of the repertoire and practices,” said Amy Spears, assistant professor of music.
For example, Spilker changed the American Music curriculum to include African, Latin and Native American music in addition to Euro-American music that was already incorporated into the courses.
Spilker has served on the President’s Council for Cultural Diversity and helped create the university’s Action Council on Diversity and Inclusion.
Garcia, a junior from Sioux City, Iowa, was recognized for her advocacy that began soon after her arrival in August 2014. She was elected to a leadership position in the student organization MOSAIC (Meeting of Students Addressing Intercultural Concerns), and was selected to attend the inaugural Student Diversity Leadership Retreat in November 2015. Inspired by the retreat, Garcia led campus talks about diversity throughout the year.
Garcia has been instrumental in planning the 2017 Student Diversity Leadership Retreat, organizing retreat logistics and solidifying grant funds so cost is not a barrier to students’ participation in the retreat.
“Flor is a great example of the power that students have to advocate for and make changes on campus,” said T.J. McDowell, associate vice president. “She has pushed and challenged me to do more to make sure NWU is manifesting our core value of diversity.”
Garcia is currently studying at Al-Akhawayn University in Morocco.
The awards were presented by University Minister Eduardo Bousson during NWU's Martin Luther King celebration.