The University Record, May 6, 2002

Johnson Diversity Service Award winners announced

By Laurel Thomas Gnagey and Martin May

Five U-M faculty members will be honored May 15 as the 2002 Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award recipients. Anthony W. England, Carmen R. Greene, Lemuel A. Johnson (posthumous), Amy K. Stillman and Marilyn W. Woolfolk will be recognized for their commitment to the development of a more culturally and ethnically diverse campus community.

Harold R. Johnson was a former dean of the School of Social Work. The $5,000 awards in his name are given annually to full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty members to further their personal research, educational and creative activities.

“Once again, the committee has done an outstanding job identifying five faculty members who epitomize the values of fairness, tolerance and appreciation for the viewpoints and lifestyles of others that are so critical in our efforts to promote diversity,” says Lester Monts, senior vice provost for academic affairs. “Each of the nominees has made a unique contribution to the cause of diversity in the campus community and beyond.”

England is a professor of electrical engineering and computer science in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He serves as chair of the Planning Committee for Improving Climate and Diversity in the College of Engineering (PCICD), a role that earned him the nomination from Dean Stephen Director. The committee revised the college’s “Plan for Diversity,” a document of goals and strategies for achieving a diverse community of students, staff and faculty, Director says. “The report proved to be an important guide for the college,” he noted. “As a result, for example, we have increased our successful recruitment of female faculty in CoE in traditionally male-dominated fields such as electrical engineering and mechanical engineering.”

“Tony is an outspoken and tireless proponent for creating a diverse environment and addressing the challenges we face in bringing about the cultural changes required,” Director continued. “Of greatest importance is Tony’s influence as an educator who brings his inclusiveness and humanity into the classroom and provided valuable mentorship to our junior faculty.”

Greene, an assistant professor of anesthesiology, was nominated by David Bloom, associate dean for faculty affairs in the Medical School. Calling her “the bedrock of our next generation of academic leaders,” Bloom said Greene “is an enormously effective mentor for students, residents and other members of the faculty.” He says that while Greene has not been asked to assume major roles in promoting diversity because her colleagues have tried to give her time to work toward tenure before assigning her additional tasks, she has assumed responsibility for mentorship and diversity service both in and outside of the Medical School.

In addition to serving internally as what Bloom calls an “unofficial spokesperson for diversity,” Greene is involved in the Detroit Public High Schools Youth Mentoring Program, the Michigan Health Care Initiative and the African American Health Care Summit. Her recent research has been in the area of access and barriers to the management of pain in under-served populations.

“Additionally, as a woman of color, she has been a role model for all of us in the Medical Center, heightening our cultural awareness with her insight, personality and humor,” Bloom says.

Lemuel A. Johnson was a professor of English. He died March 12 at his home after an extended illness. Johnson joined the faculty in 1968.

A regents communication says, “Professor Johnson was an advocate for human liberty and human dignity for all people. A scrupulous and sophisticated scholar, an elegant and passionate poet, a generous and much-loved colleague, in thought, imagination and practice he was, in the most charming and persuasive ways, an enemy to all bigotries and a discountenancer of little minds.”

Johnson directed the Center of Afroamerican and African Studies during 1981–91. He is the author of numerous articles and books and had essentially completed at the time of his death his seventh book, titled “Private Parts & Public Bodies: The Experience of Sexuality in African Literature.”

Amy K. Stillman is an associate professor of music and an associate professor of American culture. She serves as program director of the LS&A Program in American Culture. Stillman was nominated by Alan Wald, director of the Program in American Culture and professor of English. Wald describes how Stillman was instrumental in developing the first “minor” in Asian/Pacific American studies in the University’s history.

“Stillman, as an advocate of Asian/Pacific American Studies, has certainly taken a leadership role in improving the diversity of the entire undergraduate intellectual life in American Culture,” Wald says.

Wald also notes how Stillman “has continued to play a vital role in the rapid development of the Program in Asian Pacific American Studies.” Additionally, Stillman has “shepherded an unprecedented cluster hire of faculty of color,” Wald says.

Marilyn P. Woolfolk is an associate professor of dentistry and assistant dean in the School of Dentistry. In nominating her, Dean William E. Kotowicz said, “Marilyn has taken a leadership role in our school’s efforts to proactively respond to the changing composition and needs of the

student population and has engaged in significant efforts to prepare and develop a diverse work force in our profession.”

A significant portion of Woolfolk’s research and teaching activities has focused on documenting the oral health status of underrepresented populations, Kotowicz noted. “She has secured grants from the Bureau of Health Professions’ Health Career Opportunity Program to conduct programs that enhance the competitiveness of the underrepresented and disadvantaged applicants and help current students achieve success both here and in their chosen career path,” Kotowicz says.

Additionally, Woolfolk served as the project director of the Traverse City Migrant Program for 12 years. The outreach program consists of students and alumni that treat underserved migrant children, originally in the Traverse City area, but it was expanded under Woolfolk to other Michigan cities. Woolfolk also currently serves as chair of the Minority Affairs Advisory Committee of the American Association of Dental Schools.