2011 Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award

Recognizing individuals or groups who have demonstrated a significant commitment to enhancing diversity and inclusion at The Ohio State University.
Chadwick Allen profile picture

Chadwick Allen

Associate Professor
Department of English


Though a particular focus of Chad Allen’s commitment to diversity has been his work on Native American/American Indian Studies (AIS), his service certainly is not confined to any single population.

“Professor Allen has shown considerable leadership and initiative in promoting diversity at OSU,” wrote one nominator. “Moreover, the breadth and depth of his efforts demonstrate his deep personal investment in making the university a place where all individuals can thrive. He has repeatedly gone out of his way to create new opportunities for education and advocacy.”

It probably is no exaggeration to say that American Indian Studies would not exist at The Ohio State University in its present form without Allen’s guidance, vision, passion and hard work. He was key in establishing AIS as an interdisciplinary minor and created one of the minor’s core courses (American Indian Literature and Culture). He also is organizing an international American Indian conference on campus that will mark the 100th anniversary of the first Conference of the Society of American Indians, which was held on Ohio State’s campus in 1912.

Allen also has served on the committee that reviewed the Multicultural Center, helped to establish the Diversity and Identity Studies Collective at Ohio State and helped create opportunities for faculty and students from underrepresented groups while he was coordinator of the Diversity Enhancement Research Working Group. That group meets regularly to discuss the research of junior faculty of color, providing a forum where members can present their research and receive constructive feedback from their peers and senior faculty members with similar research interests.

“Professor Allen has devoted a great deal of time and energy to promoting education and research on underrepresented groups, well exceeding the traditional standards of faculty service,” another nominator wrote. “Further, through several university-wide efforts, he has worked extensively to cultivate a welcoming, intellectually vigorous environment for OSU individuals from these groups.”

Vincene Verdun profile picture

Vincene Verdun

Associate Professor
Moritz College of Law


For more than two decades, Vincene Verdun has been a stalwart force for expanding opportunity in every realm of her academic life — whether in the Moritz College of Law, the university or the community as a whole.

“You will find a consistent theme throughout Vincene’s life and career that is marked by service and a commitment to enhancing diversity,” a nominator wrote. “It is in every fiber of her being.”

“She has played this diversity enhancement role in hundreds of ways, with enormous creativity and energy and without interruption for what is now more than a thousand weeks,” wrote another nominator. “Her contributions alone have helped many faculty, staff and students thrive at OSU when they might not have otherwise.”

Her terms on the college’s Appointments and Admissions committees have produced rich diversity in the faculty and student ranks. The Black Law Student Association, in fact, was a recipient of the Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award during her tenure as that group’s advisor.

When the US Supreme Court placed restrictions on university programs aimed at diversity, Verdun was at the center of the effort to shape admissions policy that would promote diversity within the court’s guidelines. She’s also served on many university wide committees, including a special Committee of Multi-Culturalism in the Curriculum and one that developed goals and a structure for the Kirwan Institute on Race and Ethnicity.

She also participates annually in the National Conference on Diversity, has chaired the Education Subcommittee of the Coalition of Concerned Black Citizens and helped found Read Columbus Read, an organization that establishes libraries in housing projects.

“Ohio State, the College of Law and countless students are deeply fortunate to have benefitted from Professor Verdun’s leadership and consistent, powerful efforts on diversity matters,” another nominator wrote. “She has made, and continues to make, a great and lasting difference.”

Nominations                    Previous Winners