KOKOMO, Ind. — Mark Canada kicked off his tenure as Indiana University Kokomo’s eighth chancellor, welcoming faculty and staff back for the new academic year at the annual fall convocation Tuesday (August 16).
Canada shared his theme of “Better Together,” inviting the campus community to join him in improving the campus “100 Ways in 100 Days,” during the fall semester.
“This is about getting better together,” he said. “Everyone can think of something you can do, perhaps with colleagues, to help take IUK and our region to the next level.”
Canada said his goal is to make everyone feel empowered that they play a role — not just the role they have now, but in the one they could have.
The plan dovetails with his personal mission statement — “I help others be their best. By empowering people, I help them create a better world. Their potential, unleashed, will lead to more peace, equality, sustenance, and sustainability in the world.
“That’s what I’m shooting for,” Canada said. “I love working with colleagues who are shooting for the same goals.”
Faculty honored for research, service, teaching achievements
The campus also recognized achievements of its faculty, with presentation of awards for service, teaching, and research.
Sarah Heath, associate professor of history, received the Virgil Hunt Distinguished Service Award, for outstanding service to her department, the campus, IU, her profession, and the community.
Canada noted that she’s been a mentor to student organizations as well as individual students, coordinated a variety of diversity trainings, served as chair of the diversity, equity, and inclusion training policy committee, and was a member of the IU Bicentennial committee. Heath also has been a guest presenter in the community on various topics and has fostered community collaborations relating to Kokomo and its history, particularly the history of the Black community.
“Dr. Heath is most proud of her ongoing work to foster community collaborations relating to Kokomo and its history, particularly the history of the Black community,” Canada said. “She has worked diligently to gather and preserve the history of the Douglass School and serves on the community committee that worked to obtain ownership of the school and to rehabilitate it so it will serve as a museum, and cultural center in the future.”
Cheryl Moore-Beyioku, lecturer in special education; and JR Pico, teaching professor of Spanish, received the Chancellor’s Diversity Excellence Award.
Canada said Moore-Beyioku has promoted the inclusion of those who have often been underrepresented, both in her work and volunteer service. That’s included teaching and designing activities to promote inclusion of people with disabilities in worship services, serving as a foster parent, mentoring minority teachers new to the profession, and volunteering to support parents of neurologically diverse students as they navigate the process of obtaining an individual education plan for their children.
On campus she has hosted a booth at Culture Fest, presented about African American and African cultures in the Folklore 101 class, organized mentoring programs for diverse students, and organized the campus Poverty Simulation to help students understand and empathize with low-income people.
“She is a subject matter expert on special education and is consistently working to help future teachers envision their classrooms not only as effective learning environments for students of diverse abilities, but also supportive environments for students from diverse cultures, socioeconomic levels, family structures, and sexual orientations,” Canada said.
He noted Pico has promoted diversity and inclusion on campus throughout his career and has served extensively. He is director of the Latinos Unidos Hispanic Center, and partners with the Office of Admissions to visit local high schools, attend VIP Days and new student orientation events. He’s also coordinated extracurricular activities, and planned recognition events for Hispanic students and alumni. He serves on the diversity and international travel committees, is advisor for the Spanish Club and the Spanish Honor Society and is a member of the Cougar Cupboard advisory board.
Pico has also served as an interpreter for the Kokomo Police Department, the Howard County Division of Motor Vehicles, and the Indiana Supreme Court, and has developed free English as a Second Language classes for recent immigrants. He’s also led countless intercultural and humanitarian service trips.
“He knows it is essential to educate our students about the diverse world in which we live and work, and to help them understand about different backgrounds of people not only related to race and color, but also to religion, education, socioeconomic status, age, sexual orientation, disability, and other underrepresented groups,” Canada said.
Others recognized included:
Trustees Teaching Awards: Scott Blackwell, Dmitriy Chulkov, Sarrah Grubb, Gin Morgan, Jamie Oslawski-Lopez, and Melinda Stanley;
Faculty Research Awards: Dmitriy Chulkov, senior faculty; and Xiaoqiong (Crystal) Wang, junior faculty;
FACET recognition: Tara Kingsley and Melinda Stanley, FACET induction; Christina Romero-Ivanova and Paul Cook, FACET Innovate Award winners in community engagement; and Olga Korne, Stephanie Medley-Rath, and Jamie Oslawski-Lopez, community engagement award finalists.