ASU professor earns leadership award for contributions to diversity

portrait of ASU Regents' Professor Rebecca Tsosie

Arizona State University Regents' Professor Rebecca Tsosie has been awarded the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education 2014 Individual Leadership Award.

The award recognizes leaders who have made outstanding contributions to research, administration, practice, advocacy and/or policy, and whose work informs and advances understanding of diversity and inclusive excellence in higher education.

“I am incredibly honored to be a recipient of this award, and very grateful to the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education for the exceptional leadership that they provide to faculty, staff and students from diverse communities. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with many outstanding faculty, staff and students across the ASU campus on issues that are of importance to tribal governments and Native communities throughout the state and the nation,” Tsosie said.

Among the reasons that Tsosie was chosen to receive the award include her pioneering work in Indian law, particularly through Native Nations and the federal system, as well as her leadership at the institutional, state and national levels.

“I take the commitment to serve our students and communities very seriously, and I am inspired by the leadership of people who hold a similar set of values and commitments. So, to me, this award symbolizes our collective commitment to those ideals,” she added.

Tsosie served as executive director of the Indian Legal Program in the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at ASU from 1996 to 2011. She has written widely about tribal sovereignty, environmental policy and cultural rights, and is the author of many prominent articles dealing with cultural resources and cultural pluralism. This work has served as a foundation for her latest research that deals with Native rights to genetic resources. Tsosie, who is of Yaqui descent, has worked extensively with tribal governments, and she serves as a Supreme Court justice for the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation.

Tsosie is a well-known speaker who addresses topics related to tribal sovereignty, self-determination and environmental and cultural resources. A teacher of classes in Indian law, property, bioethics and critical race theory, Tsosie was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, and received the American Bar Association's "2002 Spirit of Excellence Award." She is the 2006 recipient of the "Judge Learned Hand Award" for Public Service.

The National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education is a professional organization of senior and chief diversity officers in higher education, and a leading voice for strengthening diversity and inclusion efforts in academia.