Ward wins MSU Excellence in Diversity Award

February 14, 2019

Arthur WardDr. Arthur Ward, Teaching Professor in Lyman Briggs College, has been awarded the Emerging Progress, Excellence in Diversity Award, from the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives. The award recognizes Dr. Ward’s work with the Lyman Briggs committee for inclusivity. Since 2014, he has worked to weave inclusivity, diversity and equity into the identity of the college.

The Excellence in Diversity Awards Program recognizes individuals, teams, units and organizations for their efforts and commitment to diversity and inclusion at Michigan State University. Begun in 1990, this program celebrates diversity efforts and initiatives across the campus. The recipients of these awards all play an essential role in making MSU a welcoming and inclusive community.

The nomination from the LBC Awards Committee noted Dr. Ward’s active involvement and accomplishments in this area. Under his leadership, the LBC committee for inclusivity made significant contributions to the college. For example, it developed and delivered a workshop on implicit bias and micro-aggressions, and implemented processes to respond directly to troubling events happening locally and nationwide.

Most notably, Dr. Ward played a central role in drafting and promoting LBC’s college-wide inclusion statement, of which he is particularly proud. “On the one hand, it’s just a short paragraph that sits on the wall, but to me it really signifies that the college not only has these values, but that we are communicating them to the community in a proactive way,” said Dr. Ward. “It serves both as a reminder to those that might not incline that way naturally, and as a ballast to those that do.”

Dean Michele Jackson, agrees. “A welcoming and inclusive community is at the core of the Lyman Briggs student experience. This doesn’t happen by magic. It happens because faculty take leadership to create it and to nurture it over time. Dr. Ward is one of these leaders and the impact he has had on strengthening our community is immeasurable. We are extremely proud of his accomplishment and the well-deserved recognition of his contribution.”

Although Dr. Ward’ service to the LBC Inc. committee has concluded, he plans on continuing his work in this area. He will continue teaching about implicit bias, sexism and racism in his courses as he believes it is important for students to engage in conversations surrounding these issues as part of their academic experience. He is also searching for more opportunities to speak to faculty groups and lead workshops discussing the topic of implicit bias.

“From the beginning, Dr. Ward was very conscious of the unusual appearance of a white, hetero, cis-male leading a diversity committee,” said Peter White, chair of the LBC Awards Committee. “One might see some irony in the leader of such a committee in the college exhibiting so many privileged identities. However, Dr. Ward reasoned that historically this labor of inclusion and diversity work has tended to fall on people of color, women, and LGBT faculty. Thus, despite the visual awkwardness of a white man leading this committee, he sought to turn his role into effective allyship.”

The Excellence in Diversity Award Ceremony was held February 14, 2019