Father Jenkins receives Champion of Diversity Award

by Dennis Brown

Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.

Indiana Minority Business Magazine (IMBM) has honored Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of the University of Notre Dame, with a 2011 Champion of Diversity Award. Father Jenkins was one of 14 individuals, institutions and companies recognized by the magazine at a ceremony Jan. 14 in Indianapolis.

Father Jenkins and the other award recipients were cited as “leaders in their respective fields, not only because they excel at what they do, but also because they are inclusive,” according to Shannon Williams, president and general manager of IMBM. “This year’s esteemed group of awardees has promoted diversity with their hiring practices, outreach programs or have individually transcended racial or gender barriers.”

Now in his sixth year as Notre Dame’s president, Father Jenkins recently has acted upon the recommendations of two university committees to enact a series of initiatives designed to enhance support for a diverse faculty.

“The intellectual interchange that is essential to a university requires, and is enriched by, the presence and voices of diverse scholars and students,” Father Jenkins said last year. “Beyond the benefits diversity brings to all universities, we hold this commitment also because Notre Dame is a Catholic university.”

The initiatives, based upon reports prepared by the University Committee on Cultural Diversity and the University Committee on Women Faculty and Students, include:

  • The appointments of Don Pope-Davis, vice president, associate provost and professor of psychology, and Susan Ohmer, William T. and Helen Kuhn Carey Associate Professor of Modern Communication and assistant provost, to oversight roles for University efforts related to faculty of color and women faculty, respectively. Their work involves close coordination with deans, department chairs and others involved in faculty recruitment, hiring, retention, mentoring and development.
  • The creation of the Moreau Academic Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, which is a two-year research, teaching and mentoring initiative for scholars who meet one or more of the following criteria: represent populations that are historically underrepresented in American higher education, including women and minority groups; conduct research focusing on gender or ethnic groups; engage in interdisciplinary research projects that aspire to enhance cultural competency and diversity within the American educational landscape with an interest in exploring the implications of such work for liberal education in the Catholic tradition; and/or have track records of involvement in initiatives aimed at promoting diversity in higher education through teaching.
  • The Dual Career Assistance Program, which assists the spouses of recently hired full-time faculty and staff identify with potential employment opportunities in the area or at Notre Dame, now is available to spouses of current faculty.


A professor of philosophy, Father Jenkins was elected president-elect of the University by the Board of Trustees on April 30, 2004, and became the University’s 17th president on July 1, 2005.

More information on diversity initiatives at Notre Dame is available at http://diversity.nd.edu.