A Nebraska Wesleyan University professor, vice president and student have each been honored as Advocates for Diversity.
Sue Wortmann, associate professor of sociology, TJ McDowell, vice president for campus community, and Malik Morris, a senior psychology major, were each recognized during the university’s Martin Luther King celebration on January 19.
“Dr. Wortmann has devoted her life and teaching career to promoting diversity on and off campus,” said Sarah Berkely, assistant professor of art.
Wortmann serves as Nebraska Wesleyan’s deputy director for Title IX and in that role advocates for and supports students as she hears cases from those who have experienced sexual assault. She makes regular presentations to faculty to increase their awareness on Title IX issues.
Wortmann is also involved in NWU’s Gender Studies Program, and leads the university’s Gender Advocacy Place, overseeing a space on campus that provides resources that welcome, empower and educate students on topics of gender and sexuality. Finally, Wortmann’s “Women in Crime” class has challenged many students’ stereotypes of incarcerated people. The class has inspired many students to advocate for women in prisons.
TJ McDowell was also recognized for his work as the university’s Title IX coordinator. He has advocated for people who have experienced sexual assault by putting a process in place for handling cases, organizing a capable team and listening to students’ stories.
McDowell was also recognized for his work on diversity issues, including speaking about his own experiences as a student and staff member of color. He raises awareness about diversity and provides students, faculty and staff the tools and knowledge to build bridges between groups.
Senior Malik Morris was presented the Mary Butler Award, which recognizes a junior or senior who identifies as a student of color, is in good academic standing, and demonstrates the ability to enrich the campus through extracurricular involvement, leadership, responsibility, and concern for others.
Morris has represented Nebraska Wesleyan on a national level as a track athlete, competing as an NCAA national qualifier in the long jump and is an NCAA All-American sprinter.
“Beyond being one of our best athletes, Malik is also one of our best leaders,” said Track & Field Coach Ted Bulling. “His work ethic, his ability to relate to all of his teammates and his enthusiasm in all that he does makes him someone who I am proud to have in our program.”
In addition to competing in track, Morris works as a student supervisor at the Weary Center and is an event manager for home games, meets and matches. He will graduate in May and plans to pursue a career as a family and marriage counselor.
His award honors Mary Butler, who served as a staff assistant at NWU for nearly 30 years.