OHREA Awards Recipients

Accessibility Awards

Joyceln Lorito (2019) has worked tirelessly since her start at the University in 2012. She has devoted her time to bettering the experience on campus for students in need of service animals. She is committed to making sure there is an equitable, humane, transparent, and seamless process for our students with service animals in the University. Joyceln is an active member of the Accessible Employment and Customer Service Committee which supports our University community by identifying and exploring the issues surrounding barriers for those with disabilities, helping to remove them where ever possible.

Sandra Ondracka (2018) has been the Campus Recreation Coordinator at the University of Windsor for 25 years. Over the course of those 25 years, she has served on the Faculty of Human Kinetics Equity Committee, working towards improving accessibility and inclusivity. As a coordinator of Campus Recreation, Sandra leads the delivery of Intramural, recreation and fitness opportunites to over 5000 students annually. Through all this activity, Sandra has been a champion for inclusivity and accessibility to recrecreation programs. She has been a proponent for diversity, eqality, social justice, mental wellness and healthy active living.

Nicolas Harris (2017) while completing his undergraduate studies in Political Science, Nicholas carved out time to actively participate in a variety of ways to improve accessibility across the University of Windsor campus. For instance, he volunteered with the Accessible Built Environment Committee for several years. As a part of this committee, his focus was on identifying and exploring the issues surrounding barriers experienced by people with a range of disabilities in the areas of the built environment and facilities of our campus. Outside of our campus community, Nicholas has also served as the Chairperson of the Kingsville Accessibility Committee where his responsibilities included ensuring that various town projects complied with the Accessibility of Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

Dr. Don Leslie (2016) developed and taught the first Social Work and Disability Studies course in the School of Social Work. He collaborated across disciplines and with the greater Windsor community to establish an Undergraduate Disability Studies Degree program at the University. Furthermore, in collaboration with Employment Equity Services, he developed the University’s plan to implement the goals of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

Dr. John Cappucci (2015) is a sessional instructor in the Department of Psychology, as professor Dr. Cappucci strived to make his classroom inclusive and accessible to all students. For example, he made sure that all of his teaching materials, including PowerPoint lectures, assignment guidelines and rubrics are placed on the CLEW site at the beginning of the semester.

Mr. Richard Dumala (2014) has been instrumental in creating a more accessible and inclusive campus from presenting on Web Accessibility at the Universities Computer Conference, to creating the website for Accessibility Awareness Day

Employment Equity Awards

Shirley Knight (2019) joined the University in 1986 with a passion for equity and inclusion. She joined the President’s Commission on Traditional Prejudices and Discrimination Committee in 1993 to help make important changes here in our University community. Since its inception in 1995, Shirley has been part of the Employment Equity Coordinating Committee; EECC for short, and has been the Vice Chair of the committee for over 10 years now. Shirley is the current chair of the EECC Inclusion and Retention Subcommittee, a committee that devotes their time to helping our University community be an inclusive environment every student, faculty, and staff member would love to be a member of. Shirley was a member of the Accessibility IQ Poster Project Team in 2009. She had also joined the Accommodation Facilitation Panel for a one year term; this panel made recommendations to explore all relevant activity under the workplace accommodation regulations. In 2002, she was given special mention as part of the individuals whose efforts respecting employment equity should be acknowledged. She had also been a part of the Diversity Action Committee in 2005-2006.

Purita Bristow (2018) is a retiree and former Assistant Director of Enterprise Information Systems Services in I.T Services.  She has a proven track record of promoting employment equity within the University, as well as her overall contribution to diversity and inclusion in the work place. In May 2007, the University of Windsor successfully streamlined the process of generating electronic Curriculum Vitae (eCVs) for internal and external academic review. Today, faculty members in all disciplines can enter career information online into a standardized CV template which is “effective yet simple”. Pritz provided IT support for Employment Equity for many years and was a founding member of the Employment Equity Coordinating Committee from its inception in 1995 until retirement. She served as an acting Employment Equity Manager in 1994, and in 2014 was the project consultant for the Employment Equity Process and Procedures project.

Dr. Karen Roland (2017) has held a variety of positions on our campus throughout her career, including Coordinator of Co-Operative Education with the Co-Op Education & Career Services team, the Employment & Education Equity Co-ordinator with the Department of Human Resources, as a Learning Specialist with the Faculty of Education and as Acting Dean of the Faculty of Education. Throughout her career, Karen’s research interests have focussed on restorative justice, equity and peer education. She actively consults and collaborates with teacher candidates, faculty, and school partners as an impartial resource, assisting in the development of strategies and programming to address equity and social justice issues in teacher education.

Ms. Gwen Ebbett (2016) concluded her term as the Dean of Library in 2015. She contributed to advancing equity throughout her career as the University Librarian. She was a founding member of the Employment Equity Coordinating Committee (EECC). Ms. Ebbett also served on the Legal Defense Fund Committee in 2003 and the Accessibility Planning Group (APG) from 2007 to 2012. As an active advocate for equity, she exemplifies someone who integrates employment equity throughout her everyday practice.

Dr.  Bruce Tucker (2015) is a retiree who began his career as a faculty member in 1988. He served as an Equity Assessor from 1997 through 2006 and held many positions such as President of WUFA, Director of Interfaculty Programs, and the Associate Vice-President, Academic. Throughout his career, Dr. Tucker contributed to promoting equity at various levels at the University.

Dr. Lois Smedick (2014) was the first female Graduate Dean in Canada. She was the first Chair of the Review Committee on Employment Equity at the University. Dr. Smedick was instrumental in importing the idea of Equity Assessors (EE/PA) to the University of Windsor.

Human Rights and Social Justice Awards

LGBTQ+ in STEM Conference Committee (2019) began working on this national conference in the summer. They were propelled into action by a desire to address challenges faced by LGBTQ+ in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In addition to creating an engaging programme from the ground up, a tremendous amount of effort was required to solicit funding from both internal and external sources. The diverse group of speakers tackled issues such as visible and invisible social barriers, the need for more representation and role models, experiences of microaggressions, the role of allies, and much more. Overall, the conference achieved the vision of the committee by creating meaningful connections to build a community that both highlights and uplifts achievements in the STEM fields, presents role models for younger STEM generations, and promotes concrete change within universities and their surrounding communities. This conference committee was able to put together a high-quality event that was one of the first if not the first of its kind in Canada in just three short months. They clearly demonstrated that they are committed to spreading awareness of issues pertaining to equity, diversity, and inclusion in STEM fields, which are generally less likely to be addressed.

Dr. Kathy McCloskey (2018) is an adjunct associate professor in the University of Windsor’s Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology. She has won awards in recognition for her research into the culture of the Diné people, commonly known as Navajo. Many Diné endure extremely poor living conditions and were dramatically affected by rapid transformations occurring in agriculture and textiles. Her analysis challenges anthropologists’ support of unauthorized reproduction of Diné designs by Zapotec weaver’s rights to protection. Kathy has advocated for the rights of Diné weavers who have encountered competition from the investment market and knock-off textiles not only by campaigning in the justice system, but also by her forthcoming book Why the Navajo Blanket Became a Rug: Excavating the Lost Heritage off Globalization. She is described as someone who is “ahead of her time” by students around her and she has a demonstrated dedication to human rights and social justice through her scholarship over the past twenty years.  

Professor Beverly Jacobs (2017) joined Windsor Law for the Fall 2017 semester, Beverly Jacobs has already made an impression, sharing her vast experience specializing in the rights of Indigenous peoples and inspiring law students to advance issues of human rights and social justice. In 2008, Beverly received the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case which recognized her contribution to the advancement of Aboriginal women’s equality. She is the recipient of the Circle of Honour Esquao Award from the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women in Edmonton, Alberta. Beverly received a Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law from the Governments of France and Germany for her human rights fight for the issues relating to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada. One of fifty women recognized by Canadian peace organizations for her work to further a culture of peace in Canada she has also held the title of President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada and is an Aboriginal Advisory Member with Save the Children Canada.

The University of Windsor chapter of Engineers Without Borders (2016) connects, educates, and empowers people through humanitarian efforts to end poverty around the world. The chapter hosts an annual Run to End Poverty to raise money for water filtration systems in Kenya with their venture LishaBora Hydroponics. They have numerous teams working to implement initiatives around the community

The Bystander Initiative’s Drs. Anne Forrest, Charlene Senn, and Dusty Johnstone (2015) are the cornerstones of the Bystander Initiative. These professors were instrumental in adapting the initiative from the University of New Hampshire’s Bringing in the Bystander - In Person Prevention workshop and creating a powerful approach to sexual assault prevention for the University of Windsor campus.

Dr. Manu Sharma (2014) initiated and organized the Annual Social Justice Conferences at the Faculty of Education and Academic Development. As an active member on the University’s Accessible Employment Committee and as a member of her Faculty’s Curriculum Development working committee, she incorporates social justice in her practice.

Mental Health Champion Awards (established in 2017)

Name withheld (2019)

Jessica Tetreault- Fazio (2018) completed an Honours, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Family and Social Relations degree at the University of Windsor in 2018. She is a founding member of the UWindsor Jack.org chapter, speaking publicly as a “Jack Talks” speaker.  She was also featured in the Canadian Mental Health Association’s “Get Loud” campaign.  Jessica has contributed to many initiatives, such as working on the Shinerama fundraising campaign. She raises awareness as a public speaker by giving safe and engaging talks in high schools and at various events. She works to break down stigma, prompting the importance of mental health and well-being. In 2015, she was awarded a University of Windsor GEM award for her dedication to mental health and anti-stigma.

Snakes and Lancers (2017) at the Faculty of Law invites all Law Students to come together, socialize and decompress by playing board games in an alcohol-free atmosphere. The club was created with a simple premise in mind, “Make space for play.” The board-game nights are strategically scheduled throughout the semester in the weeks leading up to midterms, on-campus interviews for law students, intensive assignment periods and final exams. By doing so, the Snakes and Lancers events model balancing work and play, an important lesson and essential component to long-term professional success and personal mental well-being.

OHREA Awards

Vicky Paraschak (2019) joined the faculty of Kinesiology in 1984, and since then she has provided leadership, guidance, mentorship, and support to many students and colleagues. Vicky has been on a number of committees throughout the years, representing employment equity, accessibility, diversity, inclusion, and human rights. She also served as an Equity Accessor. She has been a member of the Faculty of Human Kinetics Equity Committee since its inception and became Chair shortly after. As a Human Kinetics Professor, she has taught many undergraduate courses, leading her to become a graduate student supervisor for multiple masters students within the faculty of HK. Her students primarily investigate situations of unequal power relations and how to address them through the critical analysis of existing situations and the creation of programs that allow for more equitable conditions. Vicky is very involved within the University community and beyond, advocating for equity and diversity in sport. She has facilitated several workshops using a “strengths perspective” to help improve conditions for Aboriginal Sport in Canada. Vicky exemplifies equity in all aspects of her life, all that Vicky does in and out of the classroom is viewed through an equity and diversity lens. Every moment of every day she is proactive in making students, colleagues and the community recognize the value in every individual regardless of our differences, with a goal of meaningful inclusion.

Chantal Kayumba (2018) has advanced human rights and employment equity both on and off campus.  During a field placement, she noted areas of discrimination that would have a negative impact on vulnerable populations.  Her advocacy and willingness to educate helped change the work environment to reduce discrimination and be a more safe and inclusive space.  In her on-campus participation with the student group the Young African Union, she was instrumental in assisting in integrating international students into the University community.  She led the development of a holiday initiative to alleviate homesickness over the holidays and was central in organizing a gala and awards event to recognize high achieving students of African descent.  Off campus, Chantal worked with a First Nations social justice group, where she advocated for those requiring mental health assistance and diabetes screening.  She is noted as being a strong voice and an important contributor to creating opportunities in the face of lacking resources.

Victoria Pedri (2017) focused on advancing and embedding inclusivity and diversity into the University of  Windsor culture. She created the Windsor chapter of the national “Get REAL” organization, a youth-focused, non-profit organization that energizes LGBTQ+ students and their allies to voice their stories. Through this chapter, she coordinates “Get REAL” events both on and off campus such as facilitating antibullying workshops for high school students which are aimed to break down prejudice, promote unity and foster compassion. On campus, Victoria has used her talents to create the Anti-Homophobia Poetry Night and has volunteered countless hours with the Womxn’s Centre and with the Campus Pride Centre where she has also lead a bi-monthly book club.

Dr. Erica Stevens Abbitt (2016) is a professor in Dramatic Art and the Director of the Humanities Research Group. She also served on the Women’s and Gender Studies Advisory Committee. Dr. Abbitt contributes to the advancement of culture, diversity, and inclusivity at all levels of her work such as through publishing academic articles regarding inclusive pedagogy. Furthermore, she incorporates and acknowledges the intersectionality between gender, sexuality, and race throughout her teaching and practice.

Aboriginal Education Centre—Turtle Island (2015) opened in 1992. The Centre serves as a valuable educational resource for students, staff, and faculty at the University, as well as engages in outreach to current/prospective university students, to elementary through high school students, and to the community.

Out on Campus (2014) is a student-run group that provides a positive environment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer people and allies at the University. OOC runs several workshops for the University community and holds a number of educational events throughout the year such as National Coming Out Day.