Black Excellence in Mentorship 2024 recipients
Earning mentorship awards are (l to r): Jarena Lee, Katherine McKittrick, Kesha Fevrier, Juliane Okot Bitek, Kristin Moriah, and Grace Adeniyi-Ogunyankin.

For the second year, the Black Excellence in Mentorship Awards were presented at the Agnes Etherington Arts Centre.

This award is designed to acknowledge and reward exceptional examples of peer-to-peer mentorship, both formal and informal. The values and principles of the award are derived from recommendations in the FAS Strategic Plan, PICRDI Report, and reaffirmed through the Scarborough Charter.

Five individuals were honoured and the Black Feminist Interludes Collective were given a group award for their research leadership and mentorship efforts.

“The award recipients tonight come from a wide range of departments including Geological Sciences, Geography and Planning, Black Studies, and Religious Studies just to name a few,” Dean Barbara Crow, Faculty of Arts and Science said at the event. “Their departments might be quite different, but what they have in common is their unwavering committee to mentorship. They are passionate about their students, their colleagues, the staff working within their departments and the incredible nomination letters support that.”

The winners this year include:

  • Kesha Fevrier (Department of Geography and Planning)
  • Jarena Lee (Department of Gender Studies)
  • Daniel McNeil (Department of History)
  • Grace Adeniyi-Ogunyankin (Departments of Gender Studies and Geography and Planning)
  • Jennifer Leath (School of Religion)
  • Black feminist Interludes - Black Feminist Interludes members are faculty members from across campus: Dr. Okot Bitek, Dr. Beauchemin (Department of Gender Studies Postdoctoral Fellow and now Assistant Professor at York University), Dr. McKittrick (Departments of Gender Studies and Black Studies), Dr. Adenyi-Ogunyankin (Department of Gender Studies), Dr. Moriah (Department of English), Dr. Bouka (Department of Political Studies), Dr. Fevrier (Department of Geography and Planning), Dr. Leath (School of Religion), Dr. Thompson (Department of Black Studies), Dr. Butler (Faculty of Education), and Dr. Savoie-Bernard (Department of French Studies).

Calling it “a different and innovative approach to mentorship”, Associate Dean (Research) Stéfanie von Hlatky, welcomed Dr. McKittrick to the podium to talk about the Collective and its impact on FAS and the university as a whole. The Collective was formed soon after the Black Studies cluster hire in 2022.

“We wanted an informal space to talk about university life, especially as it relates to Black women-identified scholars and feminists,” Dr. McKittrick says. Privileging organically generated topics, the collective launches “small-scale and collaborative activities” focusing on publishing, student support, tenure and promotion, and other institutional matters. The most important work, Dr. McKittrick said, is developing and sustaining “radical friendships” that centre the collective’s commitment to practices of liberation, rigorous scholarship, and creativity.  

Dr. Crow added she recognizes leadership comes in many forms and “all the award winners strive to make our Faculty a place to thrive and grow. I offer my personal congratulations.” 

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