Amanda Hopkins An assistant professor of nursing, Hopkins was described by a student nominator as
a “dedicated champion for diversity and inclusion.” Another student said, “Dr. Hopkins
makes a conscious effort to be inclusive in her lectures and address issues of diversity
as it applies to both nursing and our daily lives. She is constantly gaining knowledge
and experience to share with us, which in turn enhances our understanding of the world
around us. She has shaped the way I approach quality nursing care, it is our responsibility
to treat each patient with respect and dignity.”
Colleagues noted Hopkins’ ability to use her own voice to speak on behalf of those
who cannot speak for themselves or who are not heard. “Dr. Hopkin’s passion for diversity
and inclusion initiatives dominates her teaching, scholarship, and service,” according
to a faculty nominator.
Hopkins has expertise in working with underrepresented and vulnerable populations,
including children with chronic conditions and their families as a pediatric nurse
and nurse educator. On campus, Hopkins has participated as a member of the University
Council for Diversity (UCD) and the Faculty Committee on Diversity (FCD), and she
chairs the Student Affairs Committee in the School of Nursing where she has lent her passion for inclusivity into creating a student handbook which
includes more inclusive language. In addition to leading several University talks
focused on diversity topics, Hopkins serves as the 2018-19 Posse Foundation faculty mentor and, according to a faculty nominator, she has “attended to the Posse
students with a gusto, ensuring they are mentored in such a way to ensure their successful
transition to Illinois Wesleyan University.” The Posse foundation is a national college
access and leadership development program.
Hopkins is interested in the study of providing culturally competent, family-centered
care. Her research has focused on creating culturally competent healthcare work environments
and mother's perceptions of the management of their children's chronic conditions,
specifically sickle cell disease and cystic fibrosis, within the context of the school
Hopkins earned a bachelor’s degree in 1999 from the University of Illinois at Chicago
where she later received a master’s (2005) and Ph.D. (2010). She arrived at Illinois
Wesleyan in 2013 after beginning her teaching career at UIC.
Brandon Common The Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs, Common was described by a nominating
staff member as exemplifying “inclusive excellence in many ways that have benefitted
campus constituents on all levels.” The nomination continued, “Dr. Common brings his
whole-self to work and treats everyone with respect, sincerity, and a hearty dose
of humor. Social justice work can be taxing, but Dr. Common takes on each day and
every challenge with a genuine love for his work and a heartfelt dedication to supporting
IWU’s mission of inclusive excellence."
Common was named Assistant Dean of Students for Campus Life in 2016 before being promoted
into his current role in 2017. Among his many job responsibilities, Common has provided
leadership in developing inclusive hiring policies. He also serves as co-chair for
the Inclusive Excellence Education Task Force for campus-wide diversity training implementation.
“Most importantly, in the midst of his busy days, he finds a way to be a mentor, role
model, and support system for the underrepresented student on campus,” a nominator
Before joining Illinois Wesleyan, Common served as assistant director of fraternity
and sorority affairs at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where he also
earned a Ph.D. At Ohio University, where Common received a master’s degree, he worked
in residential life, serving as a peer mentor and advisor to the LINKS program that
aids in the transition and success of first-year multicultural and disproportionately
represented students. Common earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri.
About the President’s Award for Inclusive Excellence The President's Award for Inclusive Excellence – presented to a faculty member and
staff member annually – is intended to recognize outstanding contributions made by
individuals that champion diversity, inclusion, and sustained commitment at Illinois
Wesleyan University. The Award for Inclusive Excellence is intended to recognize the
commitment of Illinois Wesleyan faculty and staff who have made exceptional efforts
in celebrating diversity and demonstrating a commitment to advancing inclusion to
create a safe and supportive community.
Recipients of The Award for Inclusive Excellence are recognized at the springtime
Faculty-Staff Recognition Celebration and receive a one-time monetary award of $1,000
for their leadership. Awardees display understanding of the dynamic issues surrounding
the intersectionality of race, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, religious heritage,
national origin, socioeconomic status, disability, and sexual orientation. Assistant
professor of nursing Wendy Kooken and Senior Administrative Assistant to the Provost
Sharla Brown-Ajayi were named 2018 recipients of the inaugural President’s Award for
Alumni, students, staff and faculty will once again be invited to submit nominations
next year. Nominations submitted this year will also be considered for 2020 President’s
Award for Inclusive Excellence. The University Council for Diversity (UCD) and the
previous recipient of the award will select awardees based on submitted nominations.