Eight faculty members from the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus have been named University Diversity and Social Transformation Professors.

The professorship recognizes and rewards senior faculty members for their outstanding contributions to excellence through their commitment to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion with their scholarship, teaching, service and engagement.

The Board of Regents approved the appointments of Roy Clarke, Elizabeth R. Cole, Erica E. Marsh, Barbra A. Meek, Rogério Pinto and Sara A. Pozzi at its July 21 meeting in northern Michigan, and approved the appointments of Germine Awad and Kevin Cokley at its September 22 meeting. The appointments take effect Aug. 29.

“These colleagues are nationally and internationally recognized scholars who are committed to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion through their research, teaching and service,” said Laurie McCauley, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. 

“Their service and engagement have provided greater access and opportunity to the U-M community and beyond.”

Sponsored by the Office of the Provost and jointly administered by the National Center for Institutional Diversity and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, 19 U-M faculty members have been named recipients since the professorship was established in 2019. 

Each recipient was nominated by a U-M dean and recommended to the provost by a faculty committee for further consideration. 

“The University Diversity and Social Transformation Professorship is an important tool for recruiting outstanding senior faculty from other institutions who have made significant DEI contributions,” said Elizabeth R. Cole, director of the National Center for Institutional Diversity. “We are honored that these scholars, who are engaged in transformational DEI research, are part of U-M and our NCID community.”

They will retain this title throughout their appointment at U-M and will receive an annual stipend of $20,000 for their first five years as a UDST Professor to support their scholarly and professional work. They also will receive special faculty fellow status at the NCID and will spend at least one semester as a faculty fellow-in-residence.

Similar to other U-M professorships, such as the Arthur F. Thurnau, Collegiate and Distinguished University professorships, the University Diversity and Social Transformation Professorship is reserved for only the highest level of achievement.

About the Recipients

Germine Awad is nationally recognized for her scholarship on racism and prejudice toward Middle Eastern and North African Americans and African Americans. She studies the psychology of Arab/MENA Americans and the causes and effects of racism toward the Arab/MENA American and African American communities. Her scholarship addresses important issues concerning MENA American experiences and is relevant for addressing social inequality more broadly. She also is active in public engagement and has authored numerous op-eds related to racism, given talks to community organizations, and worked with the U.S. Census on its racial categorization of MENA Americans.

Roy Clarke is the Marcellus L. Wiedenbeck Collegiate Professor of Physics and professor of physics in LSA. He is widely recognized as a visionary for embedding in the cross-disciplinary Applied Physics Program a support and mentorship structure that promotes student inclusion and attracts underrepresented minority and female students to the field of physics.

Kevin Cokley has a record of outstanding contributions to DEI in every aspect of his portfolio of teaching, research and service. As a prolific and nationally recognized leader in the study of African American psychology, he is known for his work on academic self-concept and for challenging the notion that African American students are anti-intellectual, and for having developed an alternative theoretical framework to understand African American students’ academic achievement. His research has culminated in more than 75 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters and two published books.

Elizabeth R. Cole is a professor of women’s and gender studies, of psychology and of Afroamerican and African studies in LSA, and was appointed director of the National Center for Institutional Diversity in June. She has provided deep evidence of the value of considering individuals’ multiple important social positions (gender, race, sexual orientation, ability status, etc.) in psychology.

Erica E. Marsh is the S. Jan Behrman Collegiate Professor of Reproductive Medicine and professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the Medical School; and professor of women’s and gender studies in LSA. Marsh’s work combines her expertise in reproductive endocrinology and infertility with her commitment to fair and equitable health care to raise awareness to address health care disparities, inequities and biases in medicine and beyond.

Barbra A. Meek is a professor of anthropology, of linguistics, and of American culture in LSA. Meek’s current research and teaching focus on representations and performances of linguistic differences in the management of social inequality.

Rogério M. Pinto is the Berit Ingersoll-Dayton Collegiate Professor of Social Work, associate dean for research and innovation, and professor of social work in the School of Social Work; and professor of theatre and drama in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance. Pinto is a leader in research focused on helping health providers to develop networks of care to ease barriers and facilitate access to health services for underserved, racially, ethnically, and sexually minoritized populations.

Sara A. Pozzi is a professor of nuclear engineering and radiological sciences in the College of Engineering; and professor of physics in LSA. Pozzi is an internationally recognized researcher in nuclear detection, who has built one of the field’s most successful research groups and is a tireless advocate for institutional transformation to achieve greater diversity, equity and inclusion.


This story was compiled from University Record stories. See the July 2022 article here, and the September 2022 article here.