Jessica Nolan, Ph.D.



 This award recognizes the efforts of a faculty member whose efforts to integrate diversity in the curriculum have enriched the students’ learning experiences.   The successful applicant will be able to show that in the course of her/his teaching, s/he incorporates a broad mix of perspectives reflecting the richness of our pluralistic society, including substantial readings about ethnic, racial, class, religious and feminist issues.  She or he shall also have a well-developed approach for addressing different learning styles and teaching to cognitive diversity. The award is a special recognition of the faculty member’s efforts to ensure that when students leave the University, they will possess the competence, awareness, skills and insights required for successful participation in our pluralistic society.  The recipient of this year’s award is Dr. Jessica Nolan.

Dr. Nolan came to our University in 2008 after doctoral studies at the University of Arkansas.  Jess has always been a leading voice on issues of diversity, equity and inclusivity on campus.  She seamlessly integrates diversity and inclusion into the classes that she teaches.  The assignments and exercises that are included in her classes include the Implicit Aptitudes Test, which asks students to evaluate race, gender, career and religious biases and reflect on the results, discussions of the history of diversity, power and privilege, and causes and consequences of prejudice and discrimination. These experiences, and others beyond the classroom allow students to witness and reflect upon the lived experience of equity and diversity as it plays out in our daily lives, as well as developing empathy towards others.

In the past ten years, Jessica has delivered 15 conference presentations and 10 invited talks on diversity and inclusion. Jessica has served on the University’s Council for Diversity and Inclusion here on campus since its inception. She is a member of ReSPECT, the Ellacuria Initiative, and the Dialogue across Differences Working Group as well.

As one nominator commented, “Jessica addressees’ diversity in all the courses she teaches an in many ways beyond the classroom. Her mere presence on our faculty enhances our students (and colleagues) experiences and prepares them for the diverse world they will encounter in their work, family, community, and spiritual lives, not only through instruction but more profoundly because Jessica serves as a model of how to live a life as an advocate for and in solidarity with others, especially those who may be different from oneself.”

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