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James S. Jackson Distinguished Career Award for Diversity Scholarship


The University of Michigan’s commitment to diversity and excellence is rooted in its history. Founded as a public institution that addressed the needs of society, the University has long supported faculty in undertaking research that explores and illuminates complex public concerns, educating students with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, and helping to address the challenges facing the local, national, and global communities. It has recognized that diverse viewpoints and different perspectives are the foundation for new ideas and innovative solutions to complex problems. 

Recognizing both our past contributions to diversity in many forms and the importance of continuing this work as the complexity of diversity shapes and challenges society, the University is proud to establish a new faculty honor, the James S. Jackson Distinguished Career Award for Diversity Scholarship. This award, to be given annually, recognizes important contributions to understanding diversity and addressing disparities in contemporary society.

Biannually, a senior faculty member whose research, teaching, mentoring, and public engagement focus on diversity will be selected to give a public lecture or performance addressing an aspect of diversity.

The next nomination cycle will take place in early 2019.


Nominees must be senior faculty at U-M with the rank of full professor. They must be active members of the faculty when nominated and at the time of delivering the Distinguished Diversity Scholar Lecture. Nominations of outstanding women, minorities, and members of other groups historically underrepresented in academe are encouraged.

Selection Criteria

The award recognizes a senior faculty member who has made important contributions to understanding diversity, equity, and inclusion through research, scholarship and creative endeavors, who has an outstanding record as an educator in teaching and mentoring, and whose work has focused on issues of importance to underrepresented communities.

Number of Awards

One award will be made, with an honorarium of $10,000. The recipient will deliver the Distinguished Diversity Scholar lecture/performance to the campus and the wider community in fall 2019.

Source of Nominations

Nominations may be submitted by any member of the University of Michigan. 

Selection Process

A committee of distinguished senior faculty from different disciplines and academic units and which is chaired by the Director of the National Center for Institutional Diversity reviews nominations and makes recommendations to the Provost and Vice Provost of the University. The selection of the scholar will be publicly announced in the fall term. The award ceremony and lecture/performance will take place during fall 2019.

Guidelines for Preparing Nominations

A complete nomination must include contact information, curriculum vitae, and a nominating letter.

Curriculum Vitae

Provide the nominee’s current c.v.

Nominating Letter

As selection committee members represent a range of disciplines and may not be familiar with the nominee’s field, describe the nominee’s contributions to diversity in a way that conveys their significance to those not acquainted with the field. The letter should explain the particular distinction that makes the nominee exceptionally qualified for this honor. The letter may incorporate quotations from former and current students, peers and faculty, and communities impacted by the nominee’s work.

The letter may be no longer than 2,000 words.

Letters should cover the areas below; those that do not will disadvantage the nominee:

  • An assessment of the range and overall importance of the nominee's research, scholarly or creative endeavors and accomplishments in some aspect of diversity so that readers can understand the scope and value of their professional work.
  • Evidence of substantial recognition among peers and scholars for the impact of the research or scholarship.  
  • Evidence of outstanding contributions as an educator. This should include having education as a high priority during the nominee’s career; engagement in curriculum development and improvement; recognition as an accomplished teacher; and engagement with graduate students and junior colleagues to further their scholarship and careers. It might also include teaching and mentoring in community settings such as K-12 schools, community colleges, and non-profit and community organizations.
  • Evidence of extraordinary service through research, research application, teaching, mentoring, or public engagement to communities that have been impacted by disparities in our society.
  • Attention to activities indicative of the nominee’s breadth of interest and engagement (e.g., interdisciplinary efforts or involvement with public, nonprofit, or entrepreneurial activity) and depth of knowledge in related fields.


For more information, contact Ching-Yune Sylvester at