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Dr. Cornelius Hopper Diversity Excellence Award

Criteria and Process for the Dr. Cornelius Hopper Diversity Excellence Award

The Dr. Cornelius Hopper Diversity Excellence Award is designed to inspire people in our community to engage in activities that will make Samuel Merritt University a place where all people will come and learn. The award is named for and honors Dr. Cornelius Hopper, who joined the SMU Board in 1997 and served as its chair from 2000 to 2011. Dr. Hopper has been dedicated to addressing racial disparities in the nation’s healthcare system since 1971.

Definition of Nominee Categories

  • Individual – Any faculty or staff employee, SMU student, or an individual affiliated with the University such as an alumna, alumnus, donor or retired employee.

  • Team – Any team or group of University members working collaboratively on a program or initiative dedicated to the achievement of SMU diversity goals; teams are not limited to formal organizational units.

  • Division/Program: any group defined as an organizational unit of the University.

All SMU faculty, staff and students are eligible.

Selection Criteria
The selection criteria reflects the five focus areas highlighted in the University’s Diversity Plan and serves as a guide in identifying exemplary research, programs, and initiatives. Nominated projects and programs must advance one or more of the following selection criteria:

  • Leadership in the development and implementation of programs with measurable outcomes for stimulating and sustaining a diverse and inclusive University (LEADERSHIP).

  • Demonstrated efforts that foster an inclusive and supportive campus and/or classroom climate that encourage culturally competent and respectful interactions across diverse groups (CAMPUS CLIMATE, TEACHING & LEARNING).

  • Development of innovative methods/strategies around advising, mentoring, recruitment and retention of underrepresented students, faculty, and staff with measurable outcomes (RECRUITMENT/THRIVING OF UNDERREPRESENTED FACULTY & STUDENTS, CAMPUS CLIMATE).

  • Research, teaching, and learning grounded in theories, concepts, methodologies, and/or practices that:
    o    Enhance diversity, advance equity and social justice and/or
    o    Contribute to an understanding of cultural differences through infusing the curriculum, co-curriculum with health disparities education and a focus on cultural competency (TEACHING & LEARNING).

  • Designed, implemented and/or participated in community service programs or initiatives that advance diversity across or beyond the university community such as outreach, partnerships, clinical settings, and service learning with the goals to deepen cultural competency and provide health disparities education (*ALL FOCUS AREAS).

Nomination(s) that demonstrate one or more of the following characteristics will receive priority consideration:

  • Sustainable Impact resulting in institutional change for achieving diversity.
  • Collaboration with other units, departments, programs, or communities beyond the University.
  • Accountability through assessment that establishes measurable outcomes or improvement.
  • Intersections across multiple dimensions of diversity (**intersectionality).

Nomination Process

  1. Any SMU faculty, staff, or student member can make nominations; self-nominations are accepted.
  2. A letter of nomination should address at least one of the areas identified under Selection Criteria and demonstrate at least one of the four criteria: sustainable impact, assessment through measurable outcomes, intersectionality, and collaboration.
  3. A statement by the person nominating or nominee(s) describing the exemplary program, initiative, project, or research relevant to the Selection Criteria. (See nomination application details below.)
  4. Nominations should be submitted to 510-869-1528.
  5. The Chair of the University Diversity Action Council (UDAC) will submit all nominations to the UDAC Diversity Award sub-committee, which will review nominations and make recommendations to the University Diversity Action Council, which makes the final decision.

Diversity Excellence Award Application includes:

  1. Letter of nomination: referencing the selection criteria
  2. Cover sheet: point of contact information, phone numbers, and emails
  3. Project description: A statement by the person nominating or nominee(s) describing the exemplary program, initiative, project, or research that advances the University’s Diversity Plan. The statement should include an overview and rationale for the project, outcomes, and a description of how the project advances the University’s Diversity Plan. Not to exceed 1 page single- spaced.


Award and Recognition

An individual awardee will receive $1,000, a team will receive $2,000, and a division or program will receive $3,000. Additionally, each awardee(s) will have their name(s) inscribed on a plaque that will be prominently displayed in the Office of the President.

Nominees will be announced in November 2014 and award will be presented at the annual President’s Dinner in December 2014.

Timeline: Application is due November 15, 2014

Please send proposals to:
Subject line: Dr. Cornelius Hopper Diversity Excellence Award

*The five focus areas are: Leadership, Campus Climate, Recruitment/Satisfaction of Faculty from Underrepresented Groups, Recruitment/Retention of Students from Underrepresented Groups, and Teaching & Learning.

**Intersectionality addresses an individual’s multiple identities and modalities of social relationships and seeks to understand how various biological, social and cultural categories such as gender, race, class, ability, sexual orientation, and other axes of identity interact on multiple and often simultaneous levels, contributing to systematic social inequality and inequity.