Faculty, Staff Lauded for Innovation in Inclusion

Diversity Innovator Award given to those who prioritize equity

George Dor is among the recipients of the 2021 Diversity Innovator Awards, presented by the UM Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at the University of Mississippi is recognizing four faculty and staff members who are leaders in making campus a more equitable environment for all.

The 2021 recipients of the Diversity Innovator Award are Laura Antonow, George Dor, Katie McClendon and Arthur Doctor, who also received the 2021 IHL Diversity Educator of the Year Award.

“Drs. Dor, McClendon, Antonow and Doctor represent exemplary commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in their respective area and the broader community,” said Shawnboda Mead, interim vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement. “We began the Diversity Innovator Award to highlight the work of talented faculty and staff on our campus who are partners and leaders in the university’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

“Each awardee has dedicated their professional efforts to ensuring our community can achieve its goals through embracing individual difference and prioritizing equitable practices.”

Arthur Doctor

Arthur Doctor

Since becoming director of fraternity and sorority life in 2018, Doctor has incorporated diversity and equity conversations into all the programing done by his office and worked to create spaces for all types of people within the university’s many fraternities and sororities.

He said although he is proud of the statewide IHL award, being recognized by the department he partners with on a daily basis is special.

“This is home, so for the people at home seeing value in the work we’re doing means so much,” he said. “Being able to build those partnerships and relationships – I can’t put into words what it means to be recognized for the work we’re doing on campus every day.”

Laura Antonow

Laura Antonow

Antonow is director of college programs in the Division of Outreach and Continuing Education and an instructional assistant professor in the Department of Higher Education. She chaired the commission on the status of women for three years, was the co-author of a pay-equity report that is resulting in salary adjustments across campus and helped create a five-year plan to expand child care options for students, faculty and staff.

Antonow said she is most interested in pursuits that result in tangible change.

“I teach and have done research in diversity issues, but primarily I’m a practitioner, so I deal with the tangible,” she said. “That is important to me because then I think other people reap the benefit.”

George Dor
Dor, a professor of music and director of the Ole Miss African Drum and Dance Ensemble, believes in bringing diverse groups together through celebration. To commemorate 50 years of integration, Dor composed a song celebrating and thanking James Meredith.

Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dor has staged virtual concerts and continued his annual Black History Month concert.

“The best way to celebrate is through music,” he said. “Music is central in celebrating; it brings awareness and brings people together.”

Dor also has worked to acquire drums and recruit students from his home country of Ghana to continue offering Ole Miss students diverse musical perspectives.

Katie McClendon

Katie McClendon

Through McClendon’s role as the director of student affairs for the Department of Pharmacy Practice and the pharmacy school’s assistant dean for student services at the UM Medical Center, she’s been able to work with her students to open a pharmacy in the Jackson Free Clinics.

“COVID has really highlighted all these barriers, and taking care of patients and meeting their needs is important,” she said. “Patients from all over the state come to the Jackson Free Clinics because they don’t have access.”

McClendon also partnered with the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy to host the first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Institute virtually from the Medical Center campus.