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Dr. Rose-Marie Avin receives Board of Regents diversity award

| Gary Johnson

Photo caption: For her work, Dr. Rose-Marie Avin, a professor of economics and director of UW-Eau Claire’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, is among three recipients of this year's UW System Board of Regents’ Diversity Award.

In her 35 years at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Dr. Rose-Marie Avin has been passionate about mentoring students as they find their voices, bringing them along on her journey to improve equity, diversity and inclusion on campus.

Dr. Rose-Marie Avin

Dr. Rose-Marie Avin

For her work, Avin, a professor of economics and director of UW-Eau Claire’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, is among three recipients of the 14th annual UW System Board of Regents’ Diversity Award. The award recognizes her work to foster the success of students from historically underrepresented populations.

The recipients will be honored with 2022 Regents Diversity Awards on Feb. 11 in Madison. In addition to Avin, other recipients are Barbara Stewart, vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion at UW-La Crosse, and the Pioneers Helping Pioneers Emergency Grant Program at UW-Platteville.

Avin says she’s proud and humbled by the award “given that there are so many people doing extraordinary work” around EDI at UW-Eau Claire and throughout the UW System.

“My life’s work has been dedicated to supporting EDI in all its forms and this advocacy is manifested in my work as a teacher, mentor and transnational activist,” Avin says.

Regent Héctor Colón, who chaired the special Regents’ committee to determine the recipients, praised the award winners “for making a lasting impact on their UW communities and beyond.”

 “Their exceptional dedication to expanding opportunity supports success for students, faculty and staff of all backgrounds,” Colón says.

Each Regents Diversity Award recipient will receive $7,500 to support professional development or continue the program being honored.

Award recipients were selected using the following criteria:

  • Sustainable positive impact on equity and diversity, leading to positive institutional change.
  • Accountability demonstrated through routine assessment and feedback to promote forward movement on equity and diversity goals.
  • Intersections across multiple dimensions of diversity.
  • Collaborations with other units, departments or communities — within the university and beyond.

Avin, originally from Haiti, has spent her career promoting an environment free from bias and discrimination.

“Dr. Avin has been an invaluable resource for our faculty and for staff in the area of inclusive practices and pedagogies, and engages in constant discussions to improve her own and others’ teaching,” says UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt. “Dr. Avin works tirelessly and effectively to realize an environment of equity, diversity and inclusion on our campus.”

As a teacher, Avin has collaborated with faculty across campus on curriculum to enhance the learning experiences of UW-Eau Claire students.

“I strongly believe that a curriculum that includes a discussion of race, class, gender, sexuality and ability and their intersections benefits students in all disciplines at UWEC,” Avin says.

Through her courses and immersion programs, Avin has taught students to advocate for gender, racial and economic justice in the U.S. and other countries. She developed study abroad programs in Argentina and Nicaragua and received two Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad Awards for work in Brazil and India. She has conducted research with students on the work of women factory workers in Nicaragua, and on women entrepreneurs in Vietnam.

“My work with students has always been to enhance their learning environment and to empower,” Avin says.

Today, mentoring students, especially traditionally underrepresented students, and faculty of color are at the heart of the Avin’s work as director of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at UW-Eau Claire.

Avin serves on UW-Eau Claire’s Commission on the Status of Women and co-chaired the Rapid Action Task Force Implementation Team during the summer of 2020.

Avin received UW-Eau Claire’s Excellence in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award in 2021 and the Martin Luther King Social Justice Leadership Award in 2019.

“I cannot do justice to the groundbreaking, influential and long-lasting impacts of Dr. Avin’s work in the last 35 years at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire,” says Dr. Kong Pheng Pha, an assistant professor in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program.