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Dr. Heather Ann Moody earns UW System Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award

| Denise Olson

Dr. Heather Ann Moody

Dr. Heather Ann Moody

The University of Wisconsin System has announced the 13 recipients of the 2019 Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award. The UW-Eau Claire recipient is Dr. Heather Ann Moody, assistant professor of American Indian studies.

The annual awards are given to faculty, staff, students or community members to recognize their achievements in advancing equity and inclusion for people of color within the UW System as well as communities across the state.

Over the last 24 years, 388 women of color have been recognized by the UW System for their transformational work in the advancement of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI). 

“The UW System is proud to recognize the outstanding work of this year’s award recipients," UW System President Ray Cross said. "Their leadership, scholarship and outreach activities across a diverse range of academic programs and educational services are inspiring our students and enriching our campus communities.”

Recipients will be formally recognized at an awards ceremony and reception Nov. 7 in Madison. 

A few highlights of Moody's work demonstrate the breadth of her efforts to advance equity and inclusion of people of color at UW-Eau Claire, particularly those of Native American heritage.

Moody, who holds degrees from UW-Eau Claire, the University of Arizona and the University of Minnesota Duluth, has served as an assistant professor of American Indian studies since 2014, and prior to 2014 was an associate lecturer in AIS and other departments. 

Among Moody's many interests and areas of expertise, her research focused on teacher education stands out. She currently serves as the state chair of the American Indian Program Curriculum, the body that oversees implementation of Wisconsin Educational Act 31, which outlines American Indian requirements for curricula in K-12 and higher education. At UW-Eau Claire she teaches courses in American Indian history and culture with an emphasis on Wisconsin and Minnesota tribal nations, American Indian literature and film, and indigenous methods and research.

Moody's active role in engaging students on campus is another indication of her EDI leadership at UW-Eau Claire. She advises the Inter-Tribal Student Council, a group of Native American students and non-native allies who work to educate the campus and greater community on Native American issues through panels, forums and weekly meetings.  

"Dr. Moody has been instrumental in helping this group of students to plan a robust calendar of events for Native American Awareness Month at UW-Eau Claire," said Jodi Thesing-Ritter, executive director for diversity and inclusion. Dr. Moody is frequently called on to give guest lectures and talks on issues facing American Indian people." 

Moody also has been instrumental in creating and expanding domestic intercultural immersion experiences to allow students to study native history and culture. Recurring immersion trips to Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and the Lake Superior Watershed have provided dozens of students unique and transformational learning opportunities they often describe as life-changing.

Moody is honored to receive this award, and is proud to be taking a major role in the continual advancement of EDI goals on campus, along with education for the greater community on issues relevant to native people.

"The work I do on campus through my teaching, service and research directly relates to the advancement of EDI at UW-Eau Claire," Moody said. "Everything I do is meant to bring awareness to the campus and surrounding community. There is a general lack of knowledge regarding Native Americans and I hope to bring more attention to both the history of our peoples and what we are facing in our communities today."

Along with her educational impact, Moody sees a key function of her leadership to be creating an environment of success for native students. 

"I hope to create a home away from home for our native students and promote retention of our native population on campus," Moody said. "I think we have a long way to go with EDI on our campus. Bringing in more faculty of color and building support and acknowledgement of all people of color on campus will be vital to continued EDI progress at UW-Eau Claire. I hope my work will help to establish UW-Eau Claire as a place where equity, diversity and inclusion can be observed on a day-to-day basis, and not just talked about as an initiative."

Top photo caption: Dr. Heather Ann Moody's active role in engaging students on campus is an indication of her EDI leadership at UW-Eau Claire.