2022 marks the inaugural year of the Dr. Deneese L. Jones Award for Inclusive Excellence. Deneese Jones, Ph.D., is a multicultural educator, scholar of equity pedagogy, and senior academic leader with a career in education spanning more than 40 years. She served as vice president for academic affairs at Trinity from 2016-2021 and was the first woman of color to serve as Trinity’s chief academic officer.
In honor of Jones, a $2,000 award will be given annually to one tenured or tenure-track faculty member, and another $2,000 award will be given to one staff member, for outstanding support of inclusive excellence.
Meet the 2022 award recipients:
Shawne Stewart-Zakaria, Director of Special Events, Alumni Relations and Development
Shawne Stewart-Zakaria is deeply engaged in inclusive excellence work at Trinity at both a divisional and a University level. Stewart-Zakaria was an active participant on the President’s Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion, which met regularly throughout the summer of 2020. In connection with the task force, she helped research a benchmarking study with more than 80 peer institutions and assisted in forming a series of recommendations relating to a DEI Center. She has also emerged as a leader in the inclusive excellence work in the Alumni Relations and Development division (AR&D). Thanks to Stewart-Zakaria’s encouragement, the senior team in AR&D is embarking on a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace Certificate.
Jie Zhang, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures
Jie Zhang has touched countless students, faculty, and staff through her involvement in the East Asian Studies at Trinity program. In response to rising anti-Asian sentiment and in the wake of the Atlanta shootings, she took the lead in organizing webinars, experience-sharing events, and book clubs with departments across campus. Zhang has also planned a history harvest for Alumni Weekend, ally training, a new special graduation ceremony for Asian American and Pacific Islander students, and a library exhibit for AAPI History Month. Locally, she has been invited by the Texas Historical Commission and the John Igo Branch Library in San Antonio to speak about AAPI stories. Last year, as a member of the International Society for Educational Biography, she organized the first panel on Asian-American life stories in the group’s history.