Communication and Media

Mitchell Receives UNI Diversity Matters Award

Posted on Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Communication Studies Professor Karen Mitchell was one of six recipients of the University of Northern Iowa Diversity Matters Award in recognition of their efforts to help the university achieve its diversity-related goals. The awards were presented by executive vice president and provost Gloria Gibson during the UNI Town Hall Meeting on Diversity, on Thursday, Jan. 20, in the Old Central Ballroom in Maucker Union.

In her comments on Dr. Mitchell, Provost Gibson described her achievements:

"During her 20 years of service at UNI, this recipient has created a legacy by creatively using her performance skills to make visible social injustices, and by teaching others how to work toward social change. She has done so by infusing her curriculum, extra-curricular opportunities for students, and other community service with a focus on her deep-seated commitment to social justice.  Though probably best known on campus for her leadership in founding and directing the UNI SAVE Forum Actors in 2000, as part of effort to prevent gender violence on campus, she also advances our efforts in her roles as a grantwriter, as a trainer, and as a consultant.  Beloved professor, committed activist and capable collaborator, for her exceptional leadership and service to the University of Northern Iowa, this Diversity Matters Award is presented to Karen Mitchell, professor of Communication Studies."

Mitchell was nominated by Professors Victoria DeFranciso and Laura Kaplan. In their letter of nomination, they noted Mitchell's most notable accomplishment of the SAVE Forum Actors.

"Dr. Mitchell is probably best known on the UNI campus for her leadership in founding and directing the UNI SAVE (Students Against a Violent Environment) Forum Actors in 2000, as part of a U.S. Department of Justice grant to prevent gender violence on campus. Graduate and undergraduate students participate in this extra-curricular activity to learn interactive theatre techniques and conduct workshops for students in Liberal Arts Core courses, for athletes, and for members of the Greek student community. Now in its 10 year anniversary, SAVE has become institutionally established, drawing 40-50 members; well over 200 students have participated since it was founded. The quality of the workshops and the number of students who have participated in the workshops is so astounding, SAVE has become a model for the other two state universities and Dr. Mitchell was funded by a million dollar grant to oversee the development of these programs."

This was the second annual presentation of the UNI Diversity Matters Awards.