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Julie Suhr wins award

Julie Suhr (middle) poses with her mentees Jennifaye Brown (left) and Dwan Robinson (right)

Photographer: Evan Leonard

Carr and Chavira-Prado

Alicia Chavira-Prado (left) and Tyrone Carr (right) from the Office for Diversity and Inclusion served as the hosts of the luncheon

Photographer: Evan Leonard


Attendees at the luncheon had a chance to network with other faculty and staff

Photographer: Evan Leonard

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Diversity and Inclusion hosts third Multicultural Junior Faculty Mentoring Program Welcome Luncheon

Dr. Julie Suhr named Outstanding Mentor of the Year

The Ohio University Office for Diversity and Inclusion hosted the third annual Multicultural Junior Faculty Mentoring Program Welcome Luncheon on Oct. 5 in the Multicultural Center in Baker University Center.

The program offers junior faculty members support and assistance by assigning them a mentor who will act as a special guide and support system to them. The program’s goal is to increase the retention rate of multicultural faculty, which is also one of the primary goals of the Office for Diversity and Inclusion.

Dr. Alicia Chavira-Prado, special assistant to the vice provost for diversity and inclusion, talked about the importance of mentoring to early career faculty, especially faculty of color, women and first-generation faculty. She said persistence and retention depend on successful navigation of academic culture and its expectations.

“A mentor can help chart the course. A mentor supports, listens, respects, advocates for, teaches and learns from the mentee,” Dr. Chavira-Prado said. “A mentor represents an invaluable resource and can even be a key to the mentee’s achieving career goals and success.”

Dr. Howard Dewald, associate provost for faculty and academic planning, welcomed the new faculty to the luncheon.

“It's been over 30 years since I arrived in Athens in 1986,” Dewald said. “I've lived here longer than I've lived anywhere else. It hasn't been entirely smooth, there has been bumps and everybody has to encounter something new and try something different. The opportunities are here, and I hope you take advantage of them. I find Athens to be welcoming, and I hope you will, too.”

President M. Duane Nellis couldn’t attend the luncheon, but sent his thoughts on the importance of diversity and inclusion at Ohio University.

“At Ohio University, people of all backgrounds are welcome,” Dr. Nellis said. “We are committed to do what we can to advance equity and inclusion. We are also committed to ensuring a safe and welcoming environment for every member of the Bobcat community.”

Dr. Paul Castelino, associate director and clinical director in Counseling and Psychological Services, provided the keynote talk. He said he first came to Athens in 2005 from Chicago and at first wondered why he made the move. He said he eventually learned to appreciate Athens.

“There's something unique about Athens,” Dr. Castelino said. “I got involved in the community and met some people. I love nature and Athens is beautiful. It has lakes, hiking, mountains, beautiful colors in spring and fall and a great bike path. There's a lot that I really enjoy. I like living in Athens and really love this place.”

Several faculty members were recognized during the luncheon.

Julie Suhr, professor and director of clinical training for the Department of Psychology, was named the Multicultural Junior Faculty Mentoring Program’s Outstanding Mentor of the Year.

Her nominees described her as a sounding board, a compassionate critic, an aspiring voice and a patient friend.

Dr. Dwan Robinson, an associate professor in educational studies who was mentored by Dr. Suhr, said she nominated her for the award because she is the epitome of mentoring.

“She gives selflessly of her time and her talents to support others,” Dr. Robinson said. “She's a motivator and encourager and always has a positive outlook on things. She is willing to process and work through challenges and issues with others. She is very deserving of the award.”

Dr. Robinson said the Multicultural Junior Faculty Mentoring Program has been a great experience for her.

“I recommend this program to others,” she said. “My connection with Julie is very robust and I encourage others to avail themselves of this program.”

Dr. Suhr said she was beyond touched to win the award.

“I've gotten so much out of mentoring, probably as much as anything that I've offered them,” Dr. Suhr said. “This mutual mentoring model is what it's all about. I was a first-generation college student, so one of the things I've been attuned to is how you don't know what you don't know. You don't know how to navigate a world that is foreign to you, like higher education. So when I saw a call go out for mentors, I did it and it's been one of the best things I've done on this campus. I love it.”

Multicultural Junior Faculty Mentoring Program mentors Dr. Lisa Harrison, Dr. Robert Frank and Dr. Anne Paulins were also given special recognition for providing exceptional support to their mentees during the luncheon.

Dr. Ashwini Ganeshan, assistant professor of Spanish, was recognized as a nominee for the Diverse Issues in Higher Education “Emerging Scholars” award.

Based on nominations, the editorial staff of the publication selects the nation's best minority scholars for the award. Selection is based on uniqueness of scholarship, commitment to teaching or community service, scholarly awards, honors and academic accomplishments.

A couple of Dr. Ganeshan’s highlighted accomplishments were securing more than $10,000 in research and student apprenticeship funding as a junior faculty member and doing an outstanding job of mentoring graduate students in their research projects.

Dr. Greg Newton, associate dean for graduate studies, research and creative activity in the Scripps College of Communication, said he is interested in becoming a Multicultural Junior Faculty Mentoring Program mentor after attending the luncheon for the first time.

“This seems like a good opportunity and I plan to find out more about it and try to become a mentor,” Dr. Newton said. “It can be a real challenge to start a new position at any university, but especially in Athens with our rural setting. After working here for 16 years, I've learned a little bit about integrating into a new place and I'm willing to share that knowledge with other folks.”

For more information about the Multicultural Junior Faculty Mentoring Program, visit https://www.ohio.edu/diversity/mentoring.cfm.