Annual Diversity Achievement Awards

The Office for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity at Case Western Reserve University gives awards to members of the university community in recognition of significant contributions toward enhancing the university's commitment to diversity through inclusive thinking, mindful learning and transformative dialogue.

These awards recognize contributions that promote respect, build community, establish effective cross-cultural initiatives and advocate equity and inclusion within the university community.

Award Categories and Criteria

Faculty Diversity Excellence Award

Recognizes a faculty member’s contributions or efforts made toward enhancing the goals of diversity, equity, inclusion and multiculturalism at the university, particularly in the areas of teaching, research or service that exceed the routine expectations of the faculty’s position.

Staff Diversity Excellence Award

Recognizes a staff member who promotes a culture of inclusion that encourages relationships and interactions among people of diverse backgrounds. Also, promotes a culture that enhances human dignity, diversity and inclusion on campus.

Undergraduate Student Diversity Excellence Award

Recognizes an undergraduate student who has demonstrated leadership and commitment to diversity, inclusion and multiculturalism through academic excellence, service, volunteerism and/or research.

Graduate/Professional Student Diversity Excellence Award

Recognizes a graduate or professional university student who has demonstrated leadership and commitment to diversity, inclusion and multiculturalism through academic excellence, service, volunteerism and/or research.

Department/Office/Unit Diversity Excellence Award

Recognizes an office, department or unit that has demonstrated a commitment to building a workplace and learning space that is inclusive of difference and values various aspects of diversity. This commitment should be evident by proactive actions including, but not limited to, inclusive policies and procedures, workshops and training and other undertakings that help to create an inclusive environment within the department/office or unit.

Senior Leadership Diversity Excellence Award

Recognizes a university dean, executive or other senior administrators for their contributions to campus diversity and inclusion efforts.

Collaboration Diversity Excellence Award

Recognizes a successful inclusion and/or diversity-related campus collaboration or partnership between departments, offices, institutes, organization and others. The partnership can be an ongoing or short-term partnership.

Office for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equal Opportunity Inclusive Excellence Certificate

Recognizes Case Western Reserve University campus community members who go above and beyond to support OIDEO and its mission, particularly with overlooked aspects of diversity. 

2022 Winners

Undergraduate Student Diversity Excellence Award: Theresa Lee

Theresa Lee

Theresa Lee is a recent graduate of Case Western Reserve University who studied communication sciences, psychology and Spanish. She has been involved in CWRU’s National Student Speech Language Hearing Association student group for four years and was its diversity inclusion chair. Last semester, Lee hosted a hybrid series featuring speakers and leaders from six different multicultural groups in the field of communication sciences disorders (CSD). Lee has also been involved in CWRU for Autism Acceptance for four years, most recently serving as its vice president. 

Lee is the lab manager of the Brain in Swallowing Communication Lab, where she helps run a study on the effects of tongue strengthening exercises on older adults. She is also a fellow in the Innovative Mentoring & Professional Advancement through Cultural Training Program, which mentors minority undergraduate CSD students. In the fall of 2022, Lee will attend Teachers College at Columbia University to obtain her master’s in speech-language pathology. 

Faculty Diversity Excellence Award: Kristin Williams

Kristin Williams

As the inaugural assistant dean of admissions and student affairs for the School of Dental Medicine, Kristin Williams (DEN ’89; GRS ’05, public health) oversees the student services area at the dental school—advocating for students and providing them with quality, timely support. Additionally, she assists in the recruitment of a diverse student body for the school. Williams is an associate professor with tenure in the Department of Community Dentistry, where she is the director of the Healthy Smiles Sealant Program. Williams was the first African American female to have earned the title associate professor with tenure in the School of Dental Medicine.


Senior Leadership Diversity Excellence Award: Joy Bostic

Joy Bostic

Joy Bostic serves as the associate dean of diversity, equity and inclusion in the College of Arts and Sciences and is also an associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies at CWRU and the founding director of the minor in African and African American Studies. Bostic is a program faculty member of the Women’s and Gender Studies and Ethnic Studies programs and a co-principal investigator for the Humanities in Leadership Learning Series funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


Staff Diversity Excellence Award: Edith "Betty" Gaffney

Betty Gaffney

Edith “Betty” Gaffney is the Department of Physics’ graduate student coordinator and assistant to the business manager. Her diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at CWRU have spanned many years, and people who work with Gaffney credit her as being critical to the collegiality for which the physics department is known. As a member of the African American Campus Community Resource Group, Gaffney worked to create Case Western Reserve's first Juneteenth celebration event in 2019. In 2020 and 2021, the university closed in recognition of the day and, in 2022, President Eric W. Kaler announced it would be a formal university holiday going forward. As a staff representative of the CWRU American Physical Society IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Alliance) Team, Gaffney believes attention and commitment to equity within the scientific enterprise are necessary to enable the success of individuals in our community. In addition to her duties as the physics graduate admissions coordinator, undergraduate student worker supervisor and graduate student payroll administrator, Gaffney assists the department business manager with research and department grants as well as financials. She has been the event coordinator for several conferences hosted by the physics department, including BLV2018, PASCO 2018 and the Standard Model 50th Anniversary.

Department/Office Diversity Excellence Award: Physics Underrepresented Minority Students Group (PURMS)


The Physics Underrepresented Minority Students Group (PURMS) was created to narrow the minority STEM gap in higher education by promoting conversations about ethnicity, identity, race and cultural awareness within the greater CWRU community. As a group, PURMS’ members plan to conduct community outreach, provide a safe space for minorities, and establish mentorship opportunities that may aid in the retention and flourishment of underrepresented students in higher education institutions.


Graduate/Professional Student Diversity Excellence Award: Rebekah Russell

Rebekah Russell

Rebekah Russell is a Cleveland native who is a triple alumna of Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). She received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology in 2018 and her Master of Public Health in 2020. Russell is a second-year medical student in the university program at CWRU. She is passionate about social policy, health policy, health equity and social justice. Russell is committed to increasing diversity, equity and inclusion through her volunteerism, leadership roles and career choices.


Collaboration Diversity Excellence Award Winner: Dennis "Coach" Harris

Dennis Harris

Dennis “Coach" Harris is the director of youth programs and nursing community outreach for the university. In 1996 when he took over the youth program, Harris also began as the administrator of the National Youth Sports Program and the state coordinator of each program in Ohio. Within his first few years, Harris added an educational component to the program so campers could participate in sports as well as classes taught by qualified instructors. Throughout his time at CWRU, Harris has coached both the track and field team and served as an assistant on the football squad.


Office for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equal Opportunity Inclusive Excellence Certificate Winners

Eddie Bolden

Eddie Bolden is the director of institutional research. He has been in the Office of Institutional Research for almost five years, spending the last year and a half as interim director and director. Before moving into Institutional Research, Bolden spent two years as a research and assessment specialist on the Teaching and Learning Technologies team in [U]Tech. 

Lindsay Jacobs

Lindsay Jacobs is the special assistant to the provost. She collaborates closely with the vice provosts, provost and president to provide guidance and oversight for compliance with faculty appointment, promotion and tenure processes. Jacobs also works with [U]Tech to lead the development and university-wide implementation of the Faculty Information System, a newly created centralized system for faculty demographic, appointment and activity data. With her involvement with the Faculty Information System, Jacobs has presented to the Faculty Senate, Faculty Personnel Committee and the Faculty Committee on Information and Communication Technology.

Trever Dodge

Before joining the [U]Tech team in 2017, Trever Dodge received an undergraduate degree in finance from Miami University and an MBA from Cleveland State University, and began his career as a technical business analyst at KeyBank. Dodge is a lifelong member of the Scouting movement and serves as Cubmaster to Pack #68 in Lakewood, Ohio, where his wife, son and daughter have actively participated in fun and adventure. He is an active member of Lakewood United Methodist Church and spends time each summer recreationally racing his T-10 sailboat on the waters of Lake Erie.