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Diversity Summit on Inclusive Excellence

Champions of Change Awards

Each year, the Center for Multicultural Excellence and the Diversity Summit Committee recognize individuals from across the campus who have demonstrated outstanding accomplishments and contribute to advancing the tenants of Inclusive Excellence at the University of Denver through exemplary leadership.

Inclusive Excellence at the University of Denver encompasses inclusion, acceptance, respect, and empowerment. This means understanding that each individual is unique; and that our commonalities and differences make the contributions we offer all the more valuable. This diversity includes dimensions such as race, ethnicity, and national and regional origins, sex, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, physical attributes, and abilities; as well as religious, political, cultural, and intellectual ideologies and practices.

Through the Provost’s Champions of Change Awards, the Diversity Summit committee recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of our faculty, staff, students, alumns and/or departments/organizations who contribute to Inclusive Excellence through exemplary leadership.

Award winners will have done one or more of the following:

  1. Develop and maintain highly relevant programming and/or policies and support for advancing inclusiveness throughout the University of Denver campus
  2. Coordinate and/or support ongoing efforts related to Inclusive Excellence at DU in an individual’s spheres of influence
  3. Create a welcoming and inclusive university environment (climate) through training, curriculum reform and delivery, and/or research/creative activity
  4. Have a positive impact on recruitment, retention, and graduation of a diverse student body and/or promotion of a diverse workforce at all levels.
  5. Develop and maintain consistent accountability measures in order to accurately assess progress toward institutionalizing Inclusive Excellence.

Nominations for the Champions of Change awards will open soon!

Please contact if you have specific questions.

2016 Champions of Change

Sarah Yaffe
Outstanding Undergraduate Student

Sarah Yaffe has dedicated her four years to making sure that all members of the DU community feel welcome on campus and has inspired them in the sense that they can truly make a change. Through her membership and officer positions in DU Service & Change, she has advocated for making the organization and the greater DU community more engaged in reflective community service that targets underserved populations.

Yaffe coordinated the annual Day of Action event in partnership with the Center for Multicultural Excellence. She also established a partnership between DU Service & Change and The Bridge Project, as well as making sure that all members of the DU community are included in the various types of service opportunities offered through DUSC. She also is an officer for Interfaith Advocates and regularly commits to bringing members of the DU community from all walks of life together to celebrate our differences and how we can learn from one another to create a community that works for all.

Keelie Sorel
Outstanding Graduate Student

Keelie has a comprehensive understanding of how vital inclusion is and how to communicate that importance with those who might not have such knowledge. She is kind yet firm in ensuring that equity and respect are maintained in her spheres of influence such as in the LLCs, in her work with Student Outreach and Support, and with her classmates. Keelie's unique life experiences have made her a champion of change in promoting a more inclusive and equal DU.

Ryan Hanschen
Outstanding Staff Advocate

Ryan has extreme passion for community engagement and service learning. He recruits so many incoming students to be involved with critical reflection and volunteering on campus. The inclusive environment he creates when training students in core issues like privilege and diversity is outstanding and his work with DU Service & Change shows his unwavering dedication to inclusion. As the faculty adviser, Ryan creates workshops that challenge our members to think in new ways.

He is the faculty adviser for all Puksta Scholars. So much of his time is spent designing programs and meaningful volunteer plans for his students. He is also the faculty adviser for DU Service & Change where he works with two student leaders who in turn with 14 student co-chairs to volunteer on campus. He makes us critically think of how our presence on campus effects the equity on campus.

Lindsey Feitz
Outstanding Faculty Advocate

Dr Feitz has worked tirelessly to address issues of gender equity and gender violence through multiple campus initiatives. An engaging, supportive, and enthusiastic educator, she has worked closely with undergraduates to explore student perceptions of gender violence on campus and has given them the tools and capabilities to further educate the campus community about these issues. Dr Feitz has raised student consciousness around gender equity issues in her common curriculum classes and has partnered with on campus organizations like CAPE and off-campus organizations like the Gathering Place to connect students to social change efforts around gender, race, sexuality, and class inequities.

In 2014, Dr Feitz was awarded the LGBTQI Faculty Ally Award from CME for her advocacy around LGBTQI issues. She now works on the RISC (Race, Inequality, and Social Change Curriculum) committee through IRISE. Dr Feitz was a key organizer of DU's first Sexual Assault Awareness Summit in 2015. Committed to social justice along gender, race, and class lines, Dr Feitz is known to be both a welcoming and challenging educator both inside and outside the classroom. She has facilitated open discussions amongst students and faculty on issues as varied as gender and militarization, feminism and pop culture, and feminist pedagogy. Through her advocacy on campus and in the classroom, Dr Feitz embodies the spirit of inclusive excellence.

Nancy Sasaki
Outstanding Administrator

Nancy Sasaki’s work is centered on inclusion, equity, and diversity, demonstrating that we all have to look within ourselves for change. She is the spark and inspiration for students and other faculty. Because of her contagious enthusiasm, many more have joined her in her efforts to make the division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics a truly welcoming environment for all. Nancy’s open-door policy demonstrates that she not only talks-the-talk but also walks-the-walk listening, pondering, suggesting, inspiring, encouraging, and problem solving.

Among Nancy's initiatives that have impacted our area are: NSM Graduate Student climate survey: a way to find out from students what they need and how we can help; Mentoring to NSM underrepresented undergraduate students: a way to get faculty to volunteer as mentors of these students and understand the need for it; STEM Women conversations: a way to network with women faculty across STEM areas at DU; Staff of the month & NSM appreciation lunch: a way to recognize our administrators and assistants, who work behind the scenes for the division and the university to run smoothly; Outdoor and 3-D movie night events: a way for the families of faculty, staff and students to get together in a relaxed social environment.

Recent Honorees

See the annual e-programs for full descriptions of awards and past honorees.

2015 Honorees:

  • Undergraduate Student: Brooke Baxa
  • Graduate Student: Sergio Juarez, Communication Studies
  • Faculty Advocate: Roberto Corrada, Sturm College of Law
  • Staff: Karen Escobar, Natural Sciences & Mathematics
  • Administrator: Dr Shelley Smith-Acuna, Graduate School of Professional Psychology

2014 Honorees:

  • Undergraduate Student: Alejandro Garcia, Undergraduate Student Government
  • Graduate Student: Leslie Rossman, Communication Studies, Graduate Student Government
  • Faculty Advocate: Dr Bernadette Calafell, Communication Studies
  • Staff: Nashwa Bolling, Undergraduate Admission
  • Administrator: Dr Barbara Wilcots, Asc Provost for Graduate Studies, and English faculty
  • special award for Institutional Leadership: Dr Robert Coombe, Chancellor

2013 Honorees:

  • Undergraduate Student: Marin Klostermeier
  • Graduate Student: Sujie Kim, Morgridge College of Education
  • Faculty: Dr Hava Gordon, Sociology and Criminology, and Gender & Women's Studies
  • Staff: Kristin Olson, Office of Student Conduct, Student Life
  • special award for Alumni Achievement: Dr William Cross