The Presidents Office for Social Justice and the University Social Justice Council has selected M. Duane Nellis, dean of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, as the 2003 winner of the Neil S. Bucklew Award for Social Justice.

“It is one of my most pleasant tasks each year to announce the Neil S. Bucklew Social Justice Award winner. This year we get to acknowledge the leadership of a fine dean,”said Jennifer McIntosh, WVU executive officer for Social Justice.”From the very beginning of his tenure as the dean of the college, Duane Nellis has shown an abiding commitment to social justice.”

“I am extremely pleased to receive this special recognition, especially because of what this award signifies to the importance of social justice to the university community and to our everyday lives,”Nellis commented.”I am touched that the selection committee and the individuals who nominated me felt I was worthy of such recognition.”

Since arriving at WVU in July 1997, Dean Nellis has worked to strengthen and diversify programs and departments in his college, including the hiring of new tenure-track faculty from diverse backgrounds.

“Throughout his time here, he has been a real advocate for programs like Womens Studies, Native American Studies and Africana Studies,”said Barb Howe, director of the Center for Womens Studies.”With his support, there has been real growth in Womens Studies and Native American Studies in the last few years, and a new coordinator of the Africana Studies program joined the faculty this year.”

In addition to strengthening these programs, Nellis has also strongly supported the social work program, international studies and the Regents Bachelor of Arts program. Outside the college, he has provided critical support for the lectures, programs and events sponsored by student organizations affiliated with the EberlyCollege.

Nellis has worked closely with the Committee for the Preservation of Italian-American History and Culture in the past few years, and he recently approved the hiring of a full-time professor of Italian language and literature within the Department of Foreign Languages.

His support for these programs illustrates his belief in the universitys core social justice value that”The rich diversity of people, their cultures, and the bonds that tie people together are appreciated and celebrated,”McIntosh said.

He has also supported students by increasing the amount and number of scholarships and establishing an undergraduate student advisory committee to enhance communications with students who otherwise would rarely have an opportunity to talk to the dean of the college.

With the Department of English, he worked to establish a Center for Writing Excellence, which helps students improve their writing and succeed in their English courses.

Nellis has also provided financial support for the annual international fall colloquium sponsored by the Department of Foreign Languages, enabling students and faculty to hear scholars from around the world.

“Duanes support for individual faculty and staff members is also impressive,”McIntosh added.

“Dean Nellis really understands the role that staff plays within the college,”said Cathy Jasper, former chair of the colleges outstanding staff selection committee.”He has been very supportive and very adamant about the importance of the outstanding staff awards program. He wants to be sure that the tangible rewards are beneficial to the recipients.”

“As a geographer, Duane has an enhanced awareness of the world and of its amazing diversity,”added Mark Dalessandro, director of university relations for the EberlyCollege.

This award recognizes former WVU president and current WVU professor Neil S. Bucklew, whose leadership and vision led to the establishment of the Presidents Office for Social Justice.

Criteria for selection include outstanding contributions in social justice and may include, but are not limited to, such qualities as outstanding leadership, courage, advocacy, innovation and/or support on a continuous basis in the area of social justice at WVU .

Nellis will accept his award during a special Weekend of Honors convocation at 7 p.m. Friday, April 11, in the Mountainlair Ballrooms.