Cindy West, dean of the College of Education, Health and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Tennessee at Martin, received one of seven President’s Awards presented to faculty and staff members throughout the UT System. West received the award for the “Embrace Diversity” category, which honors an individual who respects the qualities and circumstances that make each individual and the UT System stronger. The awards were presented following the UT Board of Trustees annual meeting June 24 in Knoxville.
President’s Awards were established in 2016 and are the highest honor a UT employee can receive and are intended to spotlight success and inspire excellence. Honorees are selected each year from a systemwide pool of candidates nominated by campus and institute leaders.
Since she began serving as college dean in 2015, West has dedicated herself to recruiting and serving students and faculty of color. During her time as dean, she has actively recruited six Black faculty members, and since beginning her career at UT Martin in 1990, she has recruited and supported 31 faculty members of color. West also makes herself accessible to any student or faculty member who needs assistance by maintaining an open-door policy.
West co-founded UT Martin’s Call Me MiSTER program, which strives to prepare male students from diverse backgrounds for future careers in education and is the only program of its kind in Tennessee. The program, which began at Clemson University in 2000, provides participants with financial assistance as well as a cohort and mentorship system that provides them with academic and social support. In fall 2022, the group will have 17 students, and the first graduates will complete their degrees in 2023.
“When you think about embracing diversity on the Martin campus, Cindy West is the first name that comes to mind,” said Chancellor Keith Carver.
“When you think about embracing diversity on the Martin campus, Cindy West is the first name that comes to mind,” said Chancellor Keith Carver. “She’s a tireless recruiter of students for both social work and education and behavioral sciences programs. She’s also an incredible recruiter of new staff and faculty talent who will help diversify our campus.”
Other UT Martin faculty and staff members who were nominated for awards include Dr. Michael Gibson, professor of geology; Gina McClure, chief housing officer; Dr. Steve Elliott, associate professor of mathematics; Dr. Clinton Smith, chair of the Department of Educational Studies and associate professor of special education; Ryan Martin, assistant director of residence life; and Ashley Bynum, associate athletic director for compliance/academics.
For more information about the President’s Awards, this year’s winners, and a full list of nominees, visit president.tennessee.edu/awards.