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President Thomas, Janice Welsch, Cathy Couza and J.Q. Adams.
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Adams, Welsch: Couza Award for Outstanding Leadership in Diversity

May 13, 2014

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MACOMB, IL -- J.Q. Adams, professor of educational and interdisciplinary studies, and Janice Welsch, English professor emeritus, at Western Illinois University, each received the Western Illinois University 2014 Cathy O'Neill Couza Award for Outstanding Leadership in Diversity for their contributions to the University and the community at the 25th annual President's Excellence in Diversity Awards Reception held May 8.

"Effective champions of diversity have committed their professional careers to promoting inclusion, multicultural understanding and the advancement of diversity education. They are successful in building alliances and creating educational opportunities for the growth and development of students and staff, and they are are not afraid of challenges, they embrace every opportunity and they know how to effectively confront the conventional wisdom that often impedes the advancement of inclusion for all people," said Cathy Couza, former director of Equal Opportunity and Access at WIU. "Dr. J.Q. Adams and Dr. Janice Welsch are true and effective champions of diversity. Together they have more than 50 years of teaching and leadership excellence. We are proud to honor them with the 2014 award."

Together, Adams and Welsch established Western's Cultural Diversity Cadre, and developed and served as co-directors of the Expanding Cultural Diversity event, held annually at WIU. Adams created the
"Dealing With Diversity" adult learning course for PBS, while Welsch served as the director of Women's Studies at Western for several years. In addition, Welsch was one of the individuals who helped establish a Women's Center at WIU.

"Janice and J.Q. have provided years of campuswide leadership for so many multicultural educational initiatives," Couza added. "We are so proud to recognize them for their invaluable service to this University and this community."

Individuals receiving 2014 Excellence in Diversity awards include:

Excellence in Education: Peter Cole, professor, history; Stephanie Williams, teaching support assistant, Disability Resource Center; Campus Recreation; and the Center for International Studies.

Excellence in Leadership: Tara Buchanan, director, Disability Resource Center; Michael Rogers, graduate assistant, Admissions; and The Sacred Circle (Byron Oden and Jaymee Lewis).

Excellence in Service: Lisa Wen, chemistry; UNITY, the WIU LGBTQA student organization; and Peter Tarantola, Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

Martin DuPuis Mukti Fund Leadership Award: Datrese Hearn, Centennial Honors College Martin Dupuis Leadership Award; and Martin Dupuis Mukti Fund LGBTQA Leadership Award: Paris Hamm.

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations