Melissa Latimer, professor of sociology and director of the WVU ADVANCE Center, has been awarded West Virginia University’s 2018 Neil S. Bucklew Social Justice Award. As director of the WVU ADVANCE Center, Latimer works to develop an institutional culture committed to diversity and equality in employee recruitment, development, retention and promotion to leadership.
Named after WVU’s 21st president, Neil S. Bucklew, the Bucklew award is presented annually to a WVU faculty or staff member who demonstrates outstanding leadership, courage and support in the areas of social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion.
“Melissa’s work creating impactful and inclusive institutional change at WVU has yielded positive results that have rippled far beyond her own office or department,” said Meshea Poore, vice president of the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion “Her dedication to equity on our campus and in the field of higher education as a whole makes her an exemplar of the difference that one person with a passion for social justice can make.”
Latimer joined WVU’s faculty in 1994 as a member of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, eventually serving as the department’s chair for five years. Her recent research examines gender inequality and organizational change in institutions of higher education.
Over the course of her career at WVU, Latimer has published 27 manuscripts, including one book, and acquired almost $4 million in external funding. She is currently the co-investigator on a $3.2 million National Science Foundation ADVANCE IT grant, as well as the primary investigator on an NSF Career-Life Balance grant.
The ADVANCE project is designed to improve the collective understanding of barriers to large-scale organizational change. The knowledge generated from this work can be translated into more effective, systemic approaches to change and applied in a variety of large-scale organizations in the academic, public, or private sector.
In addition to this work, Latimer also pursues academic work based in understanding the disciplinary similarities and differences in academic training as well as its implications for the attitudes and behaviors of faculty members.
As the recipient of the 2019 Bucklew Award, Latimer will receive $2,500 that may be used for professional development or directed to one of several worthy WVU Foundation accounts.