2007 Regina Stanback Stroud Award

2007 Winners

Don (Ajene) Wilcoxson, Riverside City College

Three years ago, Don (Ajene) Wilcoxson was troubled by the disappointingly low number of African American students succeeding at Riverside City College. Along with other faculty members and an administrator, this Business Administration instructor conducted an African American Orientation, which attracted a mere three students. When the district’s Student Equity Plan confirmed Wilcoxson’s suspicions regarding African American student performance, faculty, staff, and administrators decided to develop a plan that would directly impact these students. The result is The Ujima Project. Students who join this project participate in campus cultural activities, develop civic leadership through mentorship, and enroll in learning communities to support their academic endeavors. Now, Riverside City College’s African American student orientations average 60-75 students and their African American graduation celebration draws 150-225 participants. As the current president of the student club explained, “I feel he is trying to make history with the goals that he has set for himself, as well as the students he works with on a daily basis.”

Wilcoxson’s commitment to diversity extends to other areas on his campus and to the community, too. He has advocated for proactive hiring procedures in hope of adding more diversity to faculty ranks, as well as for a global diversity general education requirement. He has been instrumental in several planning initiatives, including learning communities, supplemental instruction, and one-on-one mentoring, while also teaching in a learning community. He has traveled nationally and internationally with Business Leaders of Tomorrow, a student club he sponsors, and he works with two African American and two Hispanic non-profit organizations to align community and student needs. While working tirelessly, “the single outstanding quality [Wilcoxson] brings to all his efforts is his good humor, respect and affection for all members of the campus community – administrators, fellow faculty, staff and students.”

Teresa Guadiana, College of the Sequoias

Teresa Guadiana grew up in a rural southern Arizona copper mining community, where everyone shared similar lifestyles, jobs, incomes, houses, hobbies, and goals. It was only when she left her community for the University of Arizona that she encountered the religious, political, economic, and cultural diversity of her peers. This experience sparked both her curiosity about the lives of others and her passion to help them. As both a general and EOP&S counselor, Guadiana is known for a number of firsts. As the first EOP&S counselor at the campus, she helped design and create new services, such as study skills workshops, and developed the first degree-applicable course in college study skills. She implemented an EOP&S Academic Achievement Ceremony that continues to draw students, their families, and instructors, to honor the students’ success. She co-implemented the first Puente Project at her campus that successfully transferred over 52% of its students in its first five years. Her colleagues consider her a “change agent,” a rare individual whose influence on others is “life-changing,” and “a storm of activity,” whose “tenacity is legend.” Some comments from her students, who affectionately refer to her as Ms. G, include: “She is always there,” “She has been a true inspiration for social change in my community college,” and “Personally, I owe Ms. G a lot, and will be indebted for life.”

Guadiana has been the main organizer for the Cinco de Mayo celebration, and works with leaders of the other clubs on campus, including Gay Pride, Disabled Students, Native American, and MEChA, to participate in the event so that they can interact with each other. She is a member and leader in the League of Mexican American Women and the Association of Mexican American Educators has honored her as teacher of the year. As noted by one of her colleagues, “…[S]he pulls people together, puts them in the same room, connects them in an activity and gets them to share. For her, diversity is not another thing to ‘do.’ Helping people to see and celebrate difference is part of her nature and her style is seductive. She not only believes we can all get along, she makes sure we have plenty of opportunities to do so.”