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Three A&S Professors Receive Diversity, Inclusion Promotion Award

By Richard LeComte

Three University of Kentucky professors have received the College of Arts & Sciences Award for the Promotion of Diversity and Inclusion. The award recognizes a faculty member who has helped to develop a more diverse atmosphere in the College.

The College Inclusivity Committee reviewed the nominations. The awardees are: DaMaris Hill, associate professor of English and Creative Writing;  Vanessa Holden, assistant professor of African American and Africana Studies and history; and Christopher Marshburn, assistant professor of psychology. 

"Across the College, faculty play a central role in promoting diversity, equity and inclusive practices in the classroom, in research and across the College, university, and Lexington community," said M. Cristina Alcalde, associate dean of inclusion and internationalization. "This award is one form of recognition for the contributions by Dr. Hill, Dr. Holden, and Dr. Marshburn towards advancing the goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We are very fortunate to have these scholars in the College, and grateful for their efforts towards positive change."

DaMaris Hill: The committee underscored Hill’s contribution to a national discussion about diversity and inclusion. Poet, writer, teacher, and activist, her impact as a public intellectual contributes to a larger conversation — a global dialogue — in significant ways. She is rapidly becoming established as an important poet and cultural critic, and her commitment to racial equity involves her participating in on-the-ground innovations, through which she elevates the voices of girls and women of color. She has an outstanding record of participating in diversity initiatives in many programs at UK and in the community at large.

Vanessa Holden: Holden is committed to highlighting the experiences of historically marginalized people and demonstrating their impact on local and national history. She has incorporated her sophisticated understanding of diversity and inclusion into her curriculum and research on African American history, and she is deeply committed to mentoring underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students. Holden has worked with local museums to showcase the histories of African American jockeys and enslaved people in Kentucky and leads a digital project documenting fugitives from slavery in North America. Her achievements in diversity and inclusion in her three years at UK are indeed worthy of recognition.

Christopher Marshburn: In the short time he has been at UK, Marshburn has made major contributions supporting a broad range of students and helping to diversify the faculty. Marshburn's lab serves as a supportive and welcoming space for students interested in studying how people talk about race and racism. His lab draws in diverse students and gives them an important entry point to research in psychology. He has also played a central role in the Psychology Department's efforts at diversifying their faculty. He was an essential part of their recruiting including using his contacts to broaden their pool of candidates.