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MU Recognizes Contributions to Diversity

March 1st, 2012

Story Contact: Nathan Hurst, 573-882-6217,

By Jerett Rion

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Officials from the University of Missouri Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative have awarded two MU students, two faculty members and an organization with the 2012 Inclusive Excellence Award. The award is given to individuals or groups who have made contributions to any area of diversity such as gender, racial-ethnic background, language, religious belief, sexual orientation, disabilities and economic strata. This year’s recipients are:

  • April Langley is an associate professor of English and interim director of the black studies program at MU. In 2010, she was nominated to the Diversity Enhancement Committee. As a result of this committee’s efforts, the Family Friendly Campus Committee (FFCC) became a standing committee at MU. She now serves on the FFCC and is a co-chair of the Black History Month Committee. As the interim director of the black studies program, Langley is responsible for student advisement.
  • Troy Balthazor is an information specialist for the Great Plains ADA Center and is an adjunct teacher in the department of parks, recreation and tourism at the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. He has taught disabilities courses at MU and facilitated more than 12,000 hours of students’ volunteering and in support of individuals with disabilities. Students benefit from his personal and professional experience as they examine and challenge stereotypes and enhance their abilities to provide recreational opportunities for people with disabilities.
  • John Steven Cummins, a second year professional student at the MU School of Medicine, founded MizzouMed Pride. MizzouMed Pride is a student interest group with a mission to support medical students, faculty and staff interested in improving their understanding of issues facing LGBTQ patients, health care providers and students. He also is a member of the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists, and is an active voting member of the MU Executive Board.
  • Mahir Khan, a junior biological sciences student, is the vice president of the Muslim Students Organization at MU. He has strived for more diversity within the organization and encourages members to visit the Multicultural Center and the Women’s Center. Khan also is a member of the Muslim Speakers Bureau of Columbia (MSBC). As an MSBC member, he reaches out to community groups and organizations to give educational programming on Islam.
  • The MU Diversity Education Program is a part of the Family Nutrition Education Program Extension. The program has recently developed a “Diversity Education Plan,” designed to train assistants in the field to work effectively across the many dimensions of diversity. The program teaches participants how to adapt their personal communication style and behavior to be effective communicators and to feel comfortable teaching programs to diverse audiences. The program has completed more than 60 hours of training across the state of Missouri.