Faculty Recruiting Support CICS

Anderson, Dawson Head Honored with CICS Outstanding Staff Achievement Award

Emma Anderson, Erika Dawson Head
Emma Anderson, Erika Dawson Head

Emma Anderson, director of inclusive education and teaching support, and Erika Dawson Head, director of diversity and inclusive community development in the UMass Amherst College of Information and Computer Sciences (CICS), were recently announced as winners of the college’s annual Outstanding Staff Achievement Award for their efforts to foster greater diversity in the college.

“In the context of an acute need in our society to address systemic racism, Emma and Erika stepped up to provide crucial leadership in the effort to build a truly safe, inclusive, equitable, and diverse college,” says Laura Haas, dean of the college.

Nominating letters noted their “tireless” outreach to faculty and students, providing “countless opportunities” to promote diversity and inclusion in the college. One letter specifically credited the antiracist book groups run by Anderson and Dawson Head as providing important insight and tools for the college’s faculty hiring process.

“In the midst of a pandemic and university furloughs, the killing of George Floyd and subsequent Black Lives Matter protests sparked new energy in the college for working towards antiracism,” says Anderson. “Together with hundreds of participants, Erika and I were able to create an unprecedented space in CICS to facilitate real conversation about our shared humanity between students, faculty, staff, and college leadership.”

“Every member of the CICS family is essential, regardless of their status, or salary, or anything else,” explains Dawson Head. “I’m proud of the work our community has begun this summer, and of the incredible support my office has received from every part of the college. Our community-driven, antiracism efforts say to every person with a passion for computer and information sciences that they are welcome here, and that they belong in computing.”

The Outstanding Staff Achievement Award is given annually to an individual or team at CICS who demonstrates an exemplary work ethic, makes impressive contributions to their department, and fosters a positive and successful environment.

For more information about the award and a list of previous recipients, see: https://www.cics.umass.edu/awards-programs