Diversity Achievement Award winners announced

The 2015-16 winners of the Diversity Achievement Award at Western Washington University have been announced. They will receive the award at the Welcoming Convocation services to open the coming school year.

Dr. Trula Nicholas

Trula Nicholas has served for many years as a faculty member in Western’s Department of Health and Community Studies (previously Human Services and Rehabilitation), in the Woodring College of Education. She also currently serves as the Chair of the Social Justice and Equity Committee, a standing committee of the Faculty Senate.

Nicholas has received praise for her leadership on this particular committee, and is further recognized by colleagues as a true servant leader, as evidenced by her commitment to ensuring that the highest priority needs of others are being served.

Under the steadfast leadership of Nicholas during the past year, the Social Justice and Equity Committee has implemented opportunities for faculty from across campus to engage in meaningful interactions that facilitate active reflection and examination of academic policies, practices, and behaviors that promote equity, inclusion and social justice at Western and the surrounding communities. In addition, the committee successfully implemented and vetted the first series of Diversity & Social Justice Grants that promote innovative faculty teaching and scholarship initiatives in this area across disciplines and Colleges. All of this was made possible by Nicholas’ leadership and the committee’s hard work.

Nicholas has led the committee in a participatory and inclusive manner, asking for and receiving feedback from members and incorporating these diverse ideas in its strategic mission. Nicholas facilitated the sharing of a diversity of ideas and opinions from faculty across disciplines as the committee navigated through the early stages of its development. Colleagues who have worked closely with Nicholas on this committee are appreciative of her leadership and her tireless work to promote diversity, equity and inclusion at Western, also sharing that they have observed and learned so much from Nicholas’s leadership.

Nicholas recognizes the demands of building community among a wide variety of experiences at Western, and has a gift for inviting and modeling what it means to be present to the testimony and experiences of others without judgment or self-interested reaction. Teaching those she works with to be present to others as she is, she has created a profoundly rare sense of trust and collaboration on the committee, creating bonds across different experiences of oppression and power and the hierarchies of university life such as status, rank, department, college and professional identity.

Further, Nicholas consistently asks that committee members develop skills in negotiating and facilitating courageous/difficult conversations beyond the committee that create the kind of fruitful collaboration that such trust and shared commitment allows. Her work in structuring meetings to develop shared leadership skills, and in bringing skilled leadership to the team of students, staff and faculty leading the campus wide dialogues, has profoundly deepened the relationship of students, faculty and staff and increased exponentially the understanding of the work needed to create an inclusive community at Western and in our communities off campus.

Nicholas’ colleagues describe the joy and playfulness that she brings to the work of increasing inclusivity. She has been doing this work for more than 20 years at Western. The lives and communities she has shifted as a consequence are numerous.

Dr. Joseph Trimble

Joseph Trimble has demonstrated leadership as a scholar, teacher and mentor in promoting inclusion and equity. His influence has been far reaching as his scholarship, teaching and professional service includes and goes beyond Western.

Trimble has served as a faculty member with appointments in Western’s Psychology department and the Woodring College of Education, promoting teaching and scholarship leading to greater intercultural understanding and through his affiliation as a research associate at the Center for Cross-Cultural Research.

Trimble’s scholarship contributions in diversity are exceptional. He has influenced the conversation about diversity-related issues such as Native American mental health, substance abuse among marginalized groups, the social and cultural impact of relocation and land use policy on Native American and other populations, the inclusion of cultural and indigenous considerations in counseling research, education and practice, cultural identity and sexual orientation, ethical issues in cross-cultural research, cultural perspectives on spirituality, cultural competence, infusing diversity in the content of psychology, and most recently, diversity and leadership.

He has been recognized for this work on numerous occasions by scholarly and professional societies and by other universities and organizations who have relied on his expertise and perspectives to help them gain better understandings of the complex and nuanced issues associated with diversity.

In addition to his scholarship, Trimble is a committed teacher who has developed and offered numerous courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels in psychology and education, integrating a cross cultural and diversity perspective in both content and pedagogy that continue to be highly sought after by students. Furthermore, he has been an exemplar of integrating students into scholarship as contributors to his research projects and even as co-authors by mentoring them in their educational journeys.

As one of few Native American scholars in the academy, Trimble is generous in terms of giving of his time, expertise and care to students and colleagues. Students who have worked under his tutelage could not be more laudable about how much he has contributed to their learning and growth.

Trimble has remained active in the Society for Race, Culture, and Ethnicity as a board member and past president, and continues to mentor young professionals at the annual Links and Shoulders signature mentoring event. He patiently and respectfully engages colleagues in dialogue, readily provides information and resources on the division’s list serve, and prominently advocates to promote cultural competence in his research, teaching, and service. Trimble has co-authored a book on Diversity and Leadership, and has made joint presentations on topics in this area.

He recently gave a TEDxtalk calling for new leadership styles that are more collaborative, relational, and culturally responsive to the diversity of members being led. This talk captured Trimble’s gift of knowing how to challenge stereotypes without being offensive. He is a real leader, with a longstanding commitment to diversity, and he serves as a role model to many.