Belisa González, associate professor of sociology and director of the Center for the Study of Culture, Race and Ethnicity, was presented with the President Shirley M. Collado Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Ithaca College Community during the Center for Faculty Excellence Annual Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, May 14.
The new award supports the professional development of the chosen faculty member, providing $5,000 to further enhance their capacity for equitable and inclusive leadership. It was established by a gift from Gloria Hobbs, an honorary member of the Ithaca College Board of Trustees who was inspired to create the award after learning about Collado’s inclusive vision for the Ithaca College community.
“Belisa González has been working to help Ithaca College and our community become a more equitable and inclusive place for all of us since her arrival on campus 12 years ago,” said Wade Pickren, director of the Center for Faculty Excellence. “Her commitment to inclusive education has been evident in her teaching, her work with students, her scholarship, her service, and her leadership, as well as her work in this community and beyond. She is dedicated to making our world, our campus, and our community places where inclusion and equity matter for all of us.”
González joined the IC faculty in 2007 and became director of the Center for the Study of Culture, Race and Ethnicity in 2015. Her teaching and research focuses on inter and intra group relations between and within communities of color in the U.S.
For more than 10 years, she has run the Urban Mentor Initiative, a distance mentorship program that pairs middle school students from Brooklyn, New York, with students from Ithaca College. González has also co-created and conducted a series of workshops on inequality in higher education; inclusiveness and excellence in the hiring process; micro-aggressions in the classroom; and how to have difficult dialogues in the workplace.
Throughout the last two academic years, González has served as the faculty mentor to the inaugural cohort of BOLD Scholars, advising them on their transformation project, Engaging Mental Health in People of Color, which seeks to use dialogue to challenge mental health stigmas that affect students of color.
“I am completely honored to be the inaugural recipient of an award that captures the essence of everything that President Collado is committed to in higher education,” said Gonzalez. “None of this work gets done alone, and I had a lot of support. There are people who paved the way before I even got here, and I’m really just trying to continue that work to honor them and those who will come after me.”
Six other faculty members were also honored at the luncheon. Asma Barlas, Elizabeth Bleicher, Chrystyna Dail, Te-Wen Lo, Gordon Rowland and Robert Sullivan each received Faculty Excellence Awards. The awards recognize overall excellence in teaching, scholarship, service and/or professional activity.
Retired faculty members who received emeriti status were also honored, as were the college’s two newest Dana professors, Scott Erickson and Keith Kaiser. The awards are funded through the Dana Endowment by a gift made to Ithaca College by the Charles A. Dana Foundation in 1973. They provide each Dana professor with a stipend and release time to further their academic research and to act as mentors and role models for other faculty members and students.