Diversity and Community Engagement
The University of Mississippi

Diversity Innovator Award

Diversity Innovator Crest - Gold center


The Division of Diversity and Community Engagement invites applicants for the Diversity Innovator Award. This award recognizes a faculty or staff member who has demonstrated a commitment to the advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the University of Mississippi. 2023-2024 applications are available now and close on November 8, 2023 at 5pm. For a full overview of award criteria, please visit this link. If you have any questions or need additional assistance, please contact Roger Davis Jr., Inclusive Excellence and Engagement Director at rdavis7@olemiss.edu or 662-915-2933.

To nominate a colleague, or to self-nominate, faculty or staff members may submit the following material:

  • Resume/CV of nominee
  • Letter of Nomination/Recommendation
  • Evidence of nominee’s experience advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion at the University of Mississippi (i.e. publications, presentations, activities, committee membership, and other institutional, regional, national, or international professional involvement)

Award winners will receive the following recognition for their efforts:

  • An engraved plaque
  • $750 in support professional development and/or research efforts
  • Campus announcement via UM Today and/or campus-wide story
  • Recognition in Division of Diversity and Community Engagement material such as website, social media, annual reports, and annual events.
  • Gift bag including Division of Diversity and Community Engagement swag

Diversity Innovator Application

The following current faculty and staff are Diversity Innovator Award recipients:


E. Gray Flora IV, Ph.D.

Inaugural Director of the Grove Scholars Program

Valeria Beasley Ross, M.A.

Program Manager for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, College of Liberal Arts

Edgar Serrano, M.A.

Lecturer of Spanish, Department of Modern Languages


Larry Pittman, J.D., LL.M

Professor of Law and Leonard B. Melvin Jr. Lecturer in Law, School of Law

Nikki Reinemann, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering

Ashleen Williams, M.S.

Senior Barksdale Fellow, Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College

2021 IHL Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award Nominee

Diversity Innovator Winners Announcement 2021-2022


Laura Antonow, Ph.D. 

Director, Office of College Programs and Instructional Assistant Professor in the Department of Higher Education

George Dor, Ph.D.

Professor of Music, Department of Music

Katie McClendon, PharmD

Clinical Associate Professor and Director of Student Affairs, Department of Pharmacy Practice and Assistant Dean of Students, Jackson Campus

Diversity Innovator Winners Announcement 2020-2021


Jodi Skipper, Ph.D. 

Associate Professor, Anthropology and Southern Studies

2019 IHL Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award Nominee

Carrie Smith, Ph.D. 

Assistant Professor, Psychology 

James Thomas, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Sociology and Anthropology

Diversity Innovator Winners Announcement 2019-2020