Monday, June 26, 2006
Presidential Diversity Award winners announced
|Vincent Khapoya, professor of political science, received the Presidential Diversity Award given to one faculty and staff member annually.|
By Rebecca Wyatt, OU Web Writer
University Diversity and Compliance (UDC) has awarded the second annual Presidential Diversity Awards to Vincent Khapoya, professor of political science, and Petra Knoche, CAS '02 and assistant director of the International Students and Scholars Office. The award recognized one faculty and one staff member who have been proactive in creating and promoting diversity on campus.
Khapoya, with more than 30 years of service to the university, serves as an advocate for both students and faculty who may be facing diversity challenges.
“My students are my students — period. I see them as students, regardless of race or religion,” said Khapoya, who serves as a mentor to many students he teaches.
Khapoya has also encouraged his students to learn about different cultures. He helped three students secure study abroad opportunities in Kenya, Guyana and Nicaragua.
In recent years, Khapoya has also participated in orientation programs, welcoming new students to campus.
“I discuss with them the challenges and opportunities provided by diversity on campus,” said Khapoya.
Khapoya also helped faculty and staff members understand diversity challenges by serving on a number of committees and working to uphold university standards. He has also conducted workshops about working with a diverse student population.
“I am consistently committed to the idea of treating everybody fairly and equally. I don’t expect anything for that,” said Khapoya.
Knoche was an international student and can relate to the challenges the international students at OU face. With her International Students and Scholars colleagues, Knoche has put together a variety of events to teach students about different nationalities and religions. Events including International Night, International Café and Fashion Show and Coffee Hours featuring Fiesta Latina, Chinese New Year and Holi bring a taste of different cultures to the university community.
|Petra Knoche also received the second annual diversity award. |
Knoche also organized a program for international students to share information about their cultures and traditions to children in local elementary and middle schools.
“I don’t like being in the spotlight. I just want to do the best I can to help international students enjoy their time at OU,” said Knoche. “Being part of the International Office gives me the opportunity to reach out to the OU community to show them that we have students representing more than 50 countries.”
Knoche said her coworkers in ISSO, Dean of Students Glenn McIntosh and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Virinder Moudgil deserve recognition for their support of the international programming.
“It is really nice to see cooperative efforts at OU to organize international events to educate not only our international students, but the OU community at large,” said Knoche.
Khapoya and Knoche will receive $500 for their work in promoting diversity. UDC will also be honoring their accomplishments with celebrations within their departments.
Nominations for the Presidential Diversity Award are accepted in the spring. For more information, contact the UDC office at (248) 370-3496.