Beginning in 2017, the conference included a presentation of the Inclusive Excellence Award. The award is presented to a UNT department or unit that demonstrates a commitment to excellence in learning, teaching, student development, institutional functioning, and/or engagement in local and global communities. Their efforts should exemplify the institutionalization of diversity, equity, and/or inclusion efforts through its policies, programs, practices, and people. In partnership with the Inclusive Excellence Sponsor, the Division awards a monetary gift to the unit to help continue their work.
Beginning in 2021, the award was renamed the Dr. Bertina H. Combes Inclusive Excellence Award to honor Dr. Bertina Combes who unexpectedly passed away on February 19, 2021. Dr. Combes was a longtime member of our UNT family who was a dedicated educator and tireless supporter of our students and our university.
As the Division of Institutional Equity & Diversity supports and affirms efforts across the University that demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, we are impressed with the work of UNT Libraries. Their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is evidenced through their unwavering support of the Division of Institutional Equity & Diversity such as use of library facilities for Spanish-speaking employees taking the Campus Inclusion Climate Survey, the creation of a digital resource page for the Division of Institutional Equity & Diversity, and their support leading to the first-ever Diversity & Inclusion Fellow.
UNT Libraries’ efforts to facilitate inclusive excellence is evidenced through their continued participation in the programs, offerings, and efforts of the Division of Institutional Equity & Diversity. This is evidenced by early engagement in the Unlikely Allies in the Academy program, where many of your staff have served as facilitators; collaboration in planning documentary and dialogue programs such as "Drawn Together" and "Reel to Real Classics", and support of broader divisional efforts such as screening of While I Breathe, I Hope, a feature of the 20th Equity & Diversity Conference. UNT Libraries was also the first unit to pilot participation the Bias Awareness and Perceptions workshop facilitated by Diversity & Inclusion, which has become the foundational open enrollment training. The Libraries’ original programming such as "The Human Library" allows participants to “check out” real people and their stories, challenging biases by engaging in short, engaging conversations.
To that end, the Division of Institutional Equity & Diversity presents the 2021 Dr. Bertina H. Combes Inclusive Excellence Award to UNT Libraries. Accompanied by a monetary award of $5,000 in partnership with Hilti, the UNT Libraries’ example is both inspiring to and instructive for other departments across UNT who wish to institutionalize inclusive practices and competencies. The award will be presented at our first virtual 2021 Equity & Diversity Conference, themed “Facing the Future Together: Allies, Accomplices, & Action,” keynoted by Jeff Chang on February 23, 2021.