The University Record, April 23, 2001

Six University faculty members honored with Johnson Diversity Service Awards

By Bernie DeGroat
News and Information Services

Six University of Michigan faculty members have received 2001 Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Awards for their commitment to the development of a more culturally and ethnically diverse campus community.

Named for the former dean of the School of Social Work, the $5,000 awards are given annually to full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty members to further their personal research, educational and creative activities.

This year’s recipients, chosen by a special campus committee, include: Bunyan I. Bryant, professor of natural resources and environment; Harold W. Neighbors, associate professor of health behavior and health education; Michael A. Savageau, professor and chair of microbiology and immunology; Kristine A. Siefert, professor of social work; Abigail J. Stewart, the Agnes Inglis Collegiate Professor of Psychology, research scientist at the Center for the Education of Women, professor of women’s studies, and director of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender; and Levi T. Thompson, professor of chemical engineering.

Bryant, renowned for his work on environmental justice, has a long history of commitment to issues of cultural diversity on campus and in the community dating back to the 1960s. Over the years, he has challenged Ann Arbor’s fair housing ordinance, helped change the minority hiring practices of local businesses, taken part in the Black Action Movement, helped negotiate resolutions to anti-racism protests, organized many national conferences and campus workshops on anti-racism and diversity, and helped train people for nonviolent civil rights advocacy.

Neighbors has been instrumental in the School of Public Health’s efforts to recruit students and faculty of color. In the late 1980s, he initiated the Paul Cornely Postdoctoral Fellowship Program to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of public health and medical school faculty. He currently serves as associate director for research training for the School’s Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture and Health; recently obtained an NIH grant for a predoctoral training program for underrepresented minorities; and is involved in mentoring students of color through Rackham’s Summer Research Opportunity Program.

As chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Savageau has dramatically enhanced the cultural diversity of his department by making great strides in recruiting and hiring female faculty and faculty of color. As a result, about a third of the faculty members in his department are women and/or minorities. He also has provided valuable mentorship to junior faculty and students.

Siefert has built her academic career around a commitment to reducing racial inequality, using her research and knowledge to promote the greater health and mental health of poor and disadvantaged mothers and children—many of whom are people of color. She also is a tireless advocate for expanded diversity in the School of Social Work’s research and teaching and in the recruitment of faculty and students.

Stewart has made enormous contributions to the betterment of women through her scholarship, teaching and leadership. Her research has enhanced the understanding of the adult development of women, the less privileged, and various ethnic and racial groups. She also has mentored countless women graduate students and junior faculty over the years.

Thompson has served as a top role model and mentor to many students of color in the College of Engineering and is heavily involved in recruiting and retaining students from underrepresented groups. He also serves on the advisory committee to the Minority Engineering Program Office and has chaired both the College’s Martin Luther King (MLK) Spirit Awards Committee and its MLK Day Organizing Committee.