Annual Diversity Achievement Awards

The Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Engagement 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 Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Engagement Excellence Certificate

Recognizes Case Western Reserve University campus community members who go above and beyond to support the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Engagement and its mission, particularly with overlooked aspects of diversity. 

2024 Winners

Undergraduate Student Diversity Excellence Award: Ixchel Robles

Ixchel Robles

Ixchel Robles, from Cuernavaca, Mexico, has been passionate about efforts for diversity and advocacy since early high school. Empowered by the communities in UWC and at Case Western, she has been involved in the executive boards of the Residence Hall Association, leading the advocacy committee and in oSTEM, empowering LGBTQ+ STEM students in their professional development and community building. Most recently, she has been involved in Asclepii, putting together an internship in conjunction with the Greater Cleveland Partnership built for international student talent retention in the Cleveland area. 

Faculty Diversity Excellence Award: Cassi Pittman Claytor, PhD

Cassi Pittman Claytor, PhD

Cassi Pittman Claytor is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). Her research focuses on how racial minorities, particularly Blacks, manage contemporary forms of racism. Using qualitative methods her work uncovers how contemporary processes of social exclusion and inequality function to disadvantage even those racial minorities who have access to economic and cultural capital. In Pittman Claytor’s book Black Privilege: Modern Middle-Class Blacks with Credentials and Cash to Spend (Stanford University Press), she enriches our understanding of the Black middle class, focusing particularly on their economic reality and experiences as consumers. She has investigated Blacks’ experiences “shopping while Black” in retail settings, as well as their experiences of discrimination in the mortgage market. Her expertise on retail racism resulted in a unique research venture with the beauty retailer Sephora, resulting in her leading a national study on racial bias and retail racism. Additionally, she has received national and local media attention for her work on retail racism, and in 2020 Business Insider named her one of 100 People Transforming Business. Currently, she is undertaking several projects that aim to promote environmental justice. Her second monograph, tentatively titled Being Black and Being Green, examines Blacks’ experiences navigating the green economy, both as producers and consumers. This line of research builds on her previous work, examining questions of race, class, and consumption, while advancing a new focus on middle-class Blacks’ sustainability-driven consumption.

Senior Leadership Diversity Excellence Award: Paul Owens

Paul Owens

Paul joined Case Western in 2004 as a security guard. Paul's police career began in 2006 as part of the initial CWRU police department. He advanced through the ranks, serving as a corporal, sergeant, training sergeant, and lieutenant. During his leadership tenure, he has been working to re-energize the police and security department and advance the reputation as a respected department through training, discipline, accountability, and stimulating creativity and growth. Paul is committed to building the police department's internal and external relationships by focusing on strong customer service. He enjoys spending time with his family and dogs, and helps coaching his kids in the various sports they play.

Staff Diversity Excellence Award: Susan Freimark

Susan Freimark

Susan Freimark has worked at CWRU for 27 years. She has served as Director of Career Services at MSASS and the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations, Senior Associate Director of the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women, and Director of Faculty Development for the School of Medicine.  She develops, manages, and facilitates leadership development programs for faculty, staff and students, providing insights into best practices to navigate and succeed in organizations and teams.  She has provided executive coaching for over 1000 members of the CWRU community, on issues such as workplace conflicts, defining a new career path, salary negotiations, tokenism, and power differentials.  Her hallmark values are respect, collaboration, and understanding

Department/Office Diversity Excellence Award: Center for Biomedical Ethics

Center for Biomedical Ethics

The Center for Biomedical Ethics (CBME), is a longstanding collaboration between the School of Medicine's Department of Bioethics and the MetroHealth System. The CBME is being recognized today for their commitment to improving disparities through their commitment  to community outreach around advance care planning. Over the past year, members of the CBME have developed or participated in at least 10 events to provide free advance care planning information and documents to marginalized populations. We are very pleased that our outreach efforts have been so successful and are looking forward to keeping the momentum going.

Graduate/Professional Student Diversity Excellence Award: Daniela Schmulevich

Daniela Schmulevich

Daniela Schmulevich, MCM, is a rising 3rd year medical student at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine where she is active in the SNMA/LMSA and Case Med Pride communities. She received her bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, where she completed the honors program in the College of Arts & Sciences, and her master’s degree in communication management at the University of Southern California, where she was a member of the Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society and Women’s Leadership Society. She spent several years working in marketing prior to pursuing a career in medicine. While completing her post-baccalaureate program at the University of Pennsylvania, she worked as a Measey Research Fellow in the Department of Surgery at Penn Medicine. Her previous work in community-based social marketing provided her with the tools to identify motivators and barriers for change, which largely influenced her interest in applying behavioral insights to clinical research. Throughout her academic and professional journey, Daniela demonstrated a commitment to social justice, advocacy, and community. Her efforts thus far have focused on leveraging storytelling to amplify marginalized voices, providing opportunities for peers to learn about policy and advocacy work, and fostering inclusive environments where all students feel seen, valued and supported.

Collaboration Diversity Excellence Award Winner: Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative of Northern Ohio


The Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative (CTSC) of Northern Ohio, a collaborative among Case Western Reserve University and its affiliated partners, the Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth, University Hospitals, VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System, Northeast Ohio Medical University, and the University of Toledo, aspires to be a catalyst for high quality clinical and translational science and transformative research to positively impact the health of those in Northern Ohio and beyond.
In the 2023-2030 grant cycle, our focus is to include the community in the process of clinical and translational research to better address health disparities and achieve health equity. We are working to improve broad participation in clinical trials and train a robust and diverse workforce at all levels so that everyone can benefit from advances in our programs and discoveries. Visit our website to discover all of our program initiatives:
The CTSC is funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Program which supports a national network of nearly 60 medical research institutions that work together to improve the translational research process to get more treatments to more patients more quickly.

Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Engagement Excellence Award: Camille Warner, PhD

Camille Warner

Camille Beckette Warner, PhD is the Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and an Assistant Professor at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Miami University and a Master of Arts and a Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology from Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Warner’s teaching, research, scholarship, and service span over 25 years in the specialization areas of aging, medical sociology, intergenerational caregiving, and research methodology with a major focus on social inequalities and social justice across the life course. She serves on university, community, and national committees to advance and advocate for increased diversity, equity, justice, inclusion, and belonging in higher education and healthcare.

Dr. Warner has been an active member of several professional organizations such as the American Sociological Association, Gerontological Association of America, Association of Gerontology in Higher Education, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Network of the American Academy of Colleges of Nursing. She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Dr. Warner has made numerous scientific presentations, conducted workshops on cultural diversity in university and health care settings and co-authored several articles and book chapters on aging, caregiving, and the health and illness of older adults and their families.

Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Engagement Excellence Award: Arlet Wright

Arlet Wright

Arlet currently works to support students, faculty, staff, university administration and deans of the colleges and professional schools. One way she does this is through her commitment to the University’s diversity and inclusion to achieve and sustain excellence. Her leadership style is collaborative and student-centered, emphasizing the importance of diverse perspectives is one of the reasons why she believes she was the first recipient of the J. Bruce Jackson, MD, Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring, and in 2022 she received the President's Award for Distinguished Service. She is deeply committed to enhancing the quality of life and wellness of each of our CWRU students.  She believes that a diverse and inclusive environment fosters innovation, creativity, and a richer learning experience for all students, faculty, staff, alumni and community. What makes her an advocate for diversity is because she loves learning about people, places, and things and when she is not working, she enjoys her family, friends,coworkers, a good movie(s), or a good book(s).

Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Engagement Excellence Award: Dean Tufts

Dean Tufts

As the Vice President for Campus Planning & Facilities Management, Dean serves as the University’s senior construction and facilities officer.  He also oversees Planning & Design, Energy & Sustainability, Customer Service, and the University Farm. Originally from Western Massachusetts, Dean earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University. He also holds a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley; a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College; and an Advanced Management Certificate from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. Prior to Case Western Reserve University, Dean served as the Vice President for Facilities & Services for Stony Brook University on Long Island, NY. In 2019, Dean completed a 30-year military career in the United States Navy. Dean currently leads a team of over 300 dedicated individuals who are foundational to the success of the University and our campus community.

Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Engagement Excellence Award: Yolanda Cooper

Yolanda Cooper

In January of 2022, Yolanda Cooper began her role as Vice Provost and Lindseth Family University Librarian at Case Western Reserve University. From 2014-2021,  she served as the Dean and University Librarian at Emory University, where she provided leadership and direction for the Emory Libraries. Prior to that she held the position of Interim Dean and Deputy University Librarian, at the University of Miami from 2006-2013, Associate University Librarian for Organizational Development at the University of Virginia from 2003-2006, and Assistant Dean for Human Resources at Indiana University Libraries, Bloomington from 1998-2002. Her research and programming interests and accomplishments are in strategic planning and organizational development; digital libraries and scholarship; information technology; universities and slavery and dispossession; and diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives. Cooper received her Masters in Library Science from Indiana University, Bloomington.