School of Literatures, Cultures & Linguistics names 2022 diversity award winners

Faculty, staff, graduate students, and alumni honored for their contributions to the school

The School of Literatures, Cultures & Linguistics is proud to present the 2022 SLCL Diversity Awards.

Xiaohui Zhang Diversity & Community Engagement Award

This award honors graduate students, faculty, and/or staff members in the school who have contributed to our mission of promoting a diverse, inclusive, and engaged academic community, and/or who have facilitated meaningful connections between the school and the wider community, in a spirit of respect, partnership, and reciprocity.

This year, we have two winners (ex aequo):

English as a second language lecturer Amber Dunse has been recognized for her work supporting an inclusive environment that promotes diversity and respect within our classrooms, within the Department of Linguistics, the school, and the community. Her leadership as a trained liaison for the IT Accessibility Liaison (ITAL) program led and continues to support significant improvements and awareness of accessibility practices in the ESL program. Her work as a co-coordinator for the Language Partners Program through the Education Justice Project has supported the appreciation for and improvement of diversity and education in the broader community.

Classics graduate student Ky Merkley is a scholar and teacher whose interests include the performance and policing of gender in antiquity, transgender literary theory, trans identities, and trans history. Ky has founded “Trans in Classics,” a community organization dedicated to supporting and foregrounding trans scholars and scholarship, in order to root that history within an ethics of care that provides support, outreach, history, and hope. They have also initiated the Facebook group “Trans in Classics,” which provides a safe and empowering community space for a growing number of people.

SLCL Diversity & Engagement Award 

This award recognizes alumni or members of the community at large who have made significant contributions (tangible and intangible) to the SLCL community; contributions which strengthen our public service mission, our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusivity, and our international connections.

This year’s awardee is Jude Krushnowski. Jude is a Spanish teacher at Champaign Central High School, as well as an SLCL alumnus (BS, psychology and Hispanic linguistics, MA, linguistics). During the 2021-22 academic year, Jude has served as interim co-director of the Foreign Language Teaching Education Program (FLTE) with Florencia Henshaw. The success of the FLTE program lies in community relationships. In his role as interim co-director, Jude has been instrumental in expanding and strengthening our relationship with school leaders and teachers: he consistently goes above and beyond maintaining open communication with all stakeholders. He has been a great representative of our programs, standards, and values during a very challenging year. It is because of his outstanding merits that he was selected to represent the state of Illinois at the 2022 Leadership Academy offered by the Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages: a great honor, since each state can only send up to two people.

Jude has contributed to SLCL’s public mission during a challenging time, and he has served with notable distinction as a great ambassador of SLCL’s expertise in language pedagogy.

Elena Delgado, Antony Augoustakis, and the SLCL Executive Committee