Spring 2021 Diversity and Inclusion Innovation Fund Recipients Announced

January 20, 2021

By Lorraine Parr

Chief Diversity Officer and Director of the Office for Diversity & InclusionDr. Ande Diaz is pleased to announce the recipients of the Diversity and Inclusion Innovation Fund for the spring 2021 semester. Four collaborative projects, each designed to advance diversity and inclusion at Saint Anselm College, were chosen for awards. 

Dr. Diana Sherman, an assistant professor in the education department, chaired the review committee, which included staff, faculty, and students.

“These innovation grants are grassroots initiatives,” says Diaz. “The winning ideas foster collaboration across departments because neither the campus’ nor society’s pressing needs fit neatly into departments or divisions. The innovation grants are also exciting because all the ideas are entirely community generated and community is one of our Benedictine core values.”


This semester’s Diversity and Inclusion Innovation Fund recipients include:

Global Laboratories: Redefining Cultural Skills-Based Learning, Exploration and Research through Virtual Modalities

Jane Bjerklie-Barry, International Programs

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a crucible moment in international education, forcing a much-needed re-imagining of critical global experiences and student mobility. Higher education is re-evaluating delivery modalities of vital global and cultural programs. Simultaneously, schools around the country are engaging in self-reflection regarding existing Diversity, Inclusion and Equity (DIE) efforts and gaps. Saint Anselm is currently engaged in both endeavors. Thus, this is the time to consider innovative programming allowing students to engage more fully in experiential and intentional reflective learning, to tell their stories, gain a stronger sense of who they are and how they fit in the world, and continue building 21st century workplace competencies. As global education and high impact practices continue to be a critical piece of Saint Anselm’s academic mission, this grant project focuses on the integration of global fluency, student access, and high impact learning practices.  The project will partner with the Office of International Programs, Modern Languages and API Abroad (one of Saint Anselm’s strategic study abroad partners).


Picturing Identity and Differences:  A Student Photography Contest

Bryan Picciotto, English

Laura Shea, Fine Arts

This student photography contest opens conversation about the relationship between identity, difference, and photography. Students are invited to submit original photos based on three categories: culture, social justice, and Saint Anselm College. All submissions will be featured in an online album, with special spotlight on the winners and honorable mentions for each category. This contest also involves a workshop that explores photography theories and techniques and an awards ceremony that celebrates student accomplishments. By focusing on identity and difference, this photo contest will help the college community actively and intentionally engage with student understandings of diversity and inclusion.


Reimagining Justice – Increasing Awareness of the Need for Greater Racial Justice and Social Equity in the Criminal Justice System

Liana Pennington, Criminal Justice

We are in a time of a national reckoning concerning racial disparities and issues of unequal treatment of people of different groups in the U.S. social systems. There has been increased attention towards the role of policing and the sustained inequities that pervade our criminal justice system. Grounded in our mission of fostering intellectual, moral and spiritual growth, it is critically important to participate in these dialogues and create opportunities for civil discourse so that we can learn and grow as a community. This initiative will bring together faculty, staff, students, members of the monastic community, and alumni to work on the difficult, but crucial, issue of systemic racism and pervasive injustice in the criminal justice system.


United Nations Interfaith Harmony Week 10th Anniversary Celebration

Bede Bidlack, Theology

Rileigh Armstrong, Class of 2021

February 1-7, 2021 will mark the 10th Anniversary of the United Nations Interfaith Harmony Week. To celebrate this week we will be sponsoring a series of events demonstrating interfaith cooperation, dialogue and diversity on our campus. This initiative is not only consistent with our Catholic mission, but is demanded by it. The mission of Christ in the world through the Church begins with listening. Moreover, Benedictines have played a leading role in interreligious dialogue, perhaps because of the directive to listen, the first word of the Rule. The events will span the semester, not just February 1-7.

The next deadline for proposal submissions for the Diversity and Inclusion Innovation Fund will be in early March for fall 2021 funding.

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