FAS honors faculty who promote inclusion, belonging on campus
Yale’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) last week honored four professors who made valuable contributions to the campus community and beyond during the 2022-23 academic year.
Claire Bowern, a professor of linguistics; Alicia Schmidt Camacho, professor of ethnicity, race, and migration and of American studies; Wendy Gilbert, associate professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry; and Rebecca Toseland, senior lecturer in the Department of Economics and director of research support at the Tobin Center for Economic Policy, received the FAS Dean’s Award for Inclusion and Belonging.
First awarded in 2021, the award recognizes ladder and instructional faculty who have helped create and sustain a climate of inclusion and belonging in the FAS.
“We solicited nominations for this award from department chairs and divisional deans, and received submissions from across the FAS. Each nominee is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion through their work as teachers, mentors, or researchers,” Kathryn Lofton, interim dean of FAS and the FAS dean of humanities, wrote in a message to the FAS community. “This year’s award recipients are exceptional university citizens whose work has had a meaningful impact on our community.”
Lofton described the contributions of each winner:
Claire Bowern, Department of Linguistics
“Bowern has led numerous initiatives that enable Yale faculty, students, and staff to recognize the centrality of language in how members of our community see themselves, and in how Yale can become a more welcoming place. Her ‘Linguistic Justice’ workshops have provided instructors and students with the tools to re-shape their pedagogy to be more inclusive, and she has worked closely with writing instructors to support classroom practices that recognize the varied linguistic repertoires of Yale students. Bowern also introduced the ‘Many Languages of Yale College’ initiative, which celebrates and raises awareness of linguistic diversity. This year, Bowern played a pivotal role in recruiting an instructor of Cherokee — Yale’s first, full-time faculty member in an Indigenous language. Through these efforts, and more, Bowern has made transformative contributions to Yale’s culture.”
Alicia Schmidt Camacho, Department of Ethnicity, Race, and Migration and Department of American Studies; Head of Ezra Stiles College
“Through her research and writing, her teaching and mentorship, and her leadership, Camacho challenges institutional structures to focus on the outcome of change, not just good intentions. Camacho’s colleagues in the Ethnicity, Race, and Migration Program [ER&M] credit her with creating multiple instances of solidarity and affinity by facilitating time and space for faculty members to connect and build community. For instance, Camacho launched the ER&M Thursday Lunches, which have become a vital space of mentorship for faculty, graduate students, and postdocs from underrepresented backgrounds. As an instructor and Head of College, Camacho has tirelessly supported students. ‘Alicia,’ her ER&M colleagues wrote, ‘has sedimented practices that foster relationships built on fairness and justice beyond structural hierarchies and ranks, at the level of our Program, Stiles, Yale, and in New Haven and beyond.’”
Wendy Gilbert, Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry
“Gilbert’s significant contributions, both within their department and beyond, have made it possible for researchers, students, and scholars from diverse backgrounds to pursue scientific work. Gilbert’s colleagues in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry credited them with the insight and drive that led the department to transform their approach to confronting bias in the faculty search process. Gilbert’s efforts to introduce novel and more anonymized approaches to reviewing candidate materials were directly responsible for a tenfold increase in applications from underrepresented groups. Beyond Yale, Gilbert brings DEI topics to the fore at prominent conferences in their field. Gilbert’s colleagues described them as a leader who ‘brings extensive knowledge and out-of-the-box thinking to the problem of how to create an inclusive environment for scientists.’”
Rebecca Toseland, Department of Economics; director of research support, Tobin Center for Economic Policy
“In her role at the Tobin Center, Toseland is a mentor to pre-doctoral students and develops programs that help them succeed as researchers. Through this work, Toseland has created opportunities for a diverse community of emerging scholars to imagine themselves pursuing graduate work in Economics. Her approach to supporting student research fosters a wide range of perspectives, with ramifications for the field more broadly. Toseland’s nominators described her commitment to constantly developing and innovating her curriculum through partnerships with the Poorvu Center. In addition, Toseland has advanced inclusivity in the FAS through her leadership and service: She made critical contributions to the FAS’s DEIB [Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging] unit planning process and was a thoughtful champion of inclusion and belonging through her work as a member of the FAS’s Communications Advisory Committee.”