By Amy Matzke-Fawcett

A group of Old Dominion University faculty has been given an award recognizing their community and education efforts.

The Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice received the inaugural T.E.A.A.C.4.H.E (Teachers, Educators, Advocates And Champions 4 Higher Education) Honors from the African American Creative Community Series organization in collaboration and sponsorship of Norfolk Public Library's Multicultural Diversity Committee. Along with the departmental award, Mona Danner, chair and professor; Ruth Triplett, professor; Calisa Farmer, program and support technician; and Melvina Sumter, associate professor, were recognized with individual honors for the Women in Administration in Higher Education.

The department was honored for its on-campus educational work and outreach in the community, including panels, conferences and webinars, and for their work in social justice, racial justice and efforts during the pandemic. Outreach during the 2020-21 school year included the public events "Assessing the Verdict of Minnesota v. Chauvin: A Collective Discussion of the Broader Implications" and "Deconstructing the Entanglement of Race and the Justice System," along with a series of professional development events for graduate and undergraduate students.

The department's faculty and staff were excited to be honored both as a group and individually, Danner said, because it recognizes the outreach they do.

"Our work is really about educating about issues in sociology and criminal justice, particularly around social inequality and social justice, and we strive to make that the focus of much of what we do," Danner said.

The award ceremony was planned for April 2020 but rescheduled to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When the ceremony was again canceled this year, but the award was presented to the department and announced in June.

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