Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Phyllis S. Lee Award

Here's a picture of me with the plaque for the Phyllis S. Lee Award, standing next to the President of OSU, Ed Ray (he's the guy in the suit). The other two are a student (Hunnan Pope) and Juan Trujillo from Foreign Languages & Literatures, who shared the Frances Dancy Hooks Award.

Phyllis Lee was the first director of Multicultural Affairs (now called the office of Community and Diversity). I took a class from Phyllis back in 1992 (I think) when I was a master's degree student. She and Kathleen Saadat taught a class entitled Minority Groups and Issues. While the whole class was a good one, one exercise in particular sticks out in my mind. Phyllis and Kathleen had us put labels on our backs of various different minority people and we were to walk up to each student and talk to him or her as if they were that label. My label, it turned out, was "Evangelical Christian female". Other students made comments about Tammy Faye Baker and makeup and mascara! I was so afraid of saying anything stereotypical that when I came across a student with the label "African American female", I didn't say anything at all. I was tongue-tied. That exercise taught me more than anything that in order to treat everyone equally, I should have said to that person the same thing I said to someone whose label was Caucasian female or Native American female.

Thank you, Phyllis, for that lesson!

(For more on the Phyllis S. Lee Award, see http://oregonstate.edu/affact/phyllis-s-lee-award. See also this short article on the Life@OSU website. And, the OSU student newspaper, the Barometer had a short mention of the award.)


Anonymous said...

Congradulations on an accomplishment well done! What a great role model you are for so many, including your son!

Bravo, my dear!!!

Daria said...

Wow ... congratulations!