August 23, 2019
Congratulations to Dr. Amy Williamsen, Professor of Spanish at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, recipient of the 2019 Dean’s Award for the Promotion of Diversity & Inclusiveness in the College of Arts and Sciences
Throughout her 7.5 years as head of the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (LLC), Dr. Amy Williamsen worked assiduously to support diversity not only through her own research and community-engaged teaching, but also through the initiatives that she enthusiastically developed and endorsed as the chief administrator of one of the College’s most distinctly diversitydedicated departments. Under her leadership, LLC succeeded in recruiting and retaining diverse faculty and students while also launching curricular and co-curricular efforts that promote a better understanding of and positive engagement with diversity and civic responsibility. During one of UNCG’s accreditation reviews, LLC was even singled out for its notable achievements around promoting diversity and inclusiveness.
With similar zeal, in 2013 Dr. Williamsen helped establish Alianza,the UNCG network supporting LatinX students, staff, and faculty. As a founding member of the group, she has vigorously championed its many initiatives to promote dialogue and collaboration around Hispanic/LatinX issues on campus and in local communities, including increasing the awareness of the region’s growing Afro-LatinX population. Through Alianza ‘s collective efforts over the past five years, the percentage of LatinX students who enroll at UNCG has doubled, thus making significant progress toward the university’s goal of becoming an “Emerging Hispanic-Serving Institution.”
Dr. Williamsen’s legacy must include her contributions to our CHANCE summer bridge program, which has earned national recognition from Insight in Diversity Magazine as a best practice in recruitment of high school students from Latino backgrounds. Let me share some of the accomplishments of CHANCE, which stands for Campamento Hispano Abriendo Nuestro
Camino a la Educación…. Through dedicated and intensive collaborative efforts, CHANCE recruited 61 students to attend the first camp in July, 2017 at UNCG. An impressive 100% of those recruited to attend did participate in the camp and experienced a range of classroom and co-curricular experiences…. Whenever Dr. Williamsen gets an opportunity to speak, she always praises the CHANCE volunteers, ALIANZA, and the students who are eager to learn and ascend to all the possibilities which higher education brings… Data from 2018 show that out of 36 senior students who attended CHANCE, 22 applied for admission, and 14/22 were accepted.
Without doubt, Dr. Williamsen exemplifies the College’s diversity mission at all levels of her amazing contributions to inclusiveness across our campus and community.
There is no better faculty champion on the UNC Greensboro campus regarding the Latinx community than Dr. Williamsen. She blends strategic organizational thinking, practical programmatic know-how, scholarly expertise, and a deep sense of passion in helping to create multiple platforms for the voices, development, and empowerment of students, staff, and faculty who are Latinx.
— Omar Ali
Although I mainly see Amy’s drive and earnest determination in issues of the Latino community, I know that she supports all forms of diversity in our Spartan community . Amy is a true leader in injecting diversity discussions into curr iculum. She can explain the benefits of diversity with clarity that moves staff, faculty and students to positive action.
Amy is an ardent believer in the good of man and the power of that goodness. She puts that conviction int o her work without regard to diff erences; and manages to unite differences for positive outcomes.
– Kattya Castellón
In my many years of service at UNCG, I cannot think of anyone more dynamic and more invested in the promotion of diversity than Amy. As the CAS statement indicates “Diversity fosters excellence, innovation in research, intellectual growth, and both personal and professional development.” Amy’ s efforts to make UNCG a more inclusive institutionare almost legendary and will have a lasting impact on the life of many UNCG students, as well as faculty and staff.
– Carmen Sotomayor