The Center for Advocacy, Community Health, Education and Diversity (CACHED), led by Adrienne Morgan, and John Fetter, assistant professor of music education at the Eastman School of Music, were honored as the 2012 Presidential Diversity Award recipients during the University of Rochester’s Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Address on Friday, Jan. 27.
Both awardees were chosen for their commitment to building strong connections between the University and the Rochester community. CACHED was praised for providing visible leadership for the School of Medicine and Dentistry’s diversity and community outreach initiatives, while Fetter was recognized for his work with the Urban Strings program at Rochester City School No. 17.
“Part of the institution’s mission includes creating an environment that encourages individuals to contribute and improve the quality of life for others,” said University President Joel Seligman. “I am grateful to both recipients for their dedication to building sustainable programs and initiatives that are of great service to members of both the University community and the Greater Rochester community.”
CACHED, which is a division of the Offices for Medical Education, provides leadership for SMD diversity and outreach initiatives through a variety of approaches, including community engagement, pipeline programs, affinity groups for medical students, and diversity activities.
In a letter nominating CACHED for the award, Dr. David Lambert, senior associate dean of medical student education, wrote that the center has “created a supportive and responsive environment for students from diverse backgrounds” and has a “well-documented history and commitment of designing effective interventions to respond to community needs and to assist individuals most in need.”
Dr. Linda Chaudron, senior associate dean for diversity, wrote that CACHED is a “cornerstone of the medical school’s diversity efforts at the early end of the educational spectrum,” citing their “stellar efforts … to engage underrepresented students in considering a medical career through education pipeline programs,” such as the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship and the Science and Technology Entry Program.
CACHED also was praised for its advocacy of student participation in service learning activities in the community, including the Free School, Work Permit, and Sports Physicals outreach program. Through this program, faculty and student volunteers provide free physical examinations and physician clearance to attend school and participate in sports for students in the Rochester City School District who may not have access to a doctor. CACHED coordinates six sessions for students, providing more than 700 free physicals each year. “CACHED, in conjunction with the dedicated student volunteers, has had a sustained and transformative impact on diverse populations and underserved individuals in Greater Rochester,” wrote Brenda Lee, assistant dean for medical education and student affairs.
As a master’s degree student at the Eastman School of Music, John Fetter became a leader and advocate for the Urban Strings program, which provides private or small group lessons to string students in grades three through seven at Enrico Fermi School No. 17. Now a member of Eastman’s faculty, Fetter makes weekly trips to the school, where he coaches current Eastman students as they teach the children. In a letter nominating Fetter for the Diversity Award, Elizabeth Hanan, an Eastman alumna and teacher at School 17 wrote that Fetter is the “driving force behind organizing the Eastman teachers and getting them ready to be successful in the urban teaching environment.”
In addition to the strings program, Fetter has been an active member of the Eastman School’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. Ellen Koskoff, professor of ethnomusicology at Eastman and a member of the committee, wrote that Fetter is a strong member of the committee, always ready to “present different perspectives on the diversity issues confronting schools of music.”
Fetter also delivered a presentation during the University’s 2011 Diversity Conference, using his violin to demonstrate the many musical styles that can be associated with one instrument and the varying biases audiences develop toward different styles. He used this concept as a springboard to create dialogue about broader issues of diversity.
“John is a violinist, conductor, and educator with a mission,” wrote Jamal Rossi, Eastman School executive associate dean, in a nomination letter. “He is deeply dedicated to urban education, demonstrating for our students and faculty a philosophy of teaching that he lives out every day.”
The Presidential Diversity Awards were created in 2009 by Joel Seligman to recognize faculty, staff, students, units, departments or teams that “demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusion through recruitment and retention efforts, teaching, research, multi-cultural programming, cultural competency, community outreach activities, or other initiatives.” This year’s winners were chosen from among nine nominees who were recommended by their colleagues. The recipients and other nominees also were honored at a reception with the president and other University leaders yesterday at the Witmer House.
Each Presidential Diversity Award includes a $2,500 prize; individual award winners will receive half and will designate half to support the budget of a program or department of the winner’s choice. Team award winners will designate the entire $2,500 prize to the program or department of the team’s choice.
“The nominees for the 2012 award have impacted the lives of the faculty, staff, and students by helping us appreciate the value of diversity—within our University and the greater Rochester community,” said Dr. Vivian Lewis, deputy to the president and vice provost for Faculty Development and Diversity and chair of the award’s selection committee. “CACHED and John Fetter stood out from this field of outstanding nominees for their ongoing dedication. We hope their examples will serve to inspire others to become involved in making the environment more inclusive. ”