UW System honors

Taviare Hawkins and Deb Hoskins.

Taviare Hawkins and Deb Hoskins.

UWL’s Hawkins, Hoskins earn diversity, inclusion kudos

Two colleagues at UW-La Crosse will be honored this fall for their contributions to women of color and LGBTQ people.

Taviare Hawkins will receive the Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award and Deb Hoskins will be honored with the Dr. P.B. Poorman Award for Outstanding Achievement on Behalf of LGBTQ People.

The award for Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award, created in 1994, honors women of color from around the state for their leadership in making a significant and lasting contribution to their campuses and communities. Each UW System institution is invited to select one woman to receive the recognition.

The UW System and the LGBTQ Inclusivity Initiative established the annual Dr. P.B. Poorman Award for Outstanding Achievement on Behalf of LGBTQ People in 2008. It honors UW System faculty, staff and students for excellence in advocacy, research or service efforts on behalf of LGBTQ communities. Each UW System institution is invited to select one person to receive the recognition.

The awards will be officially presented during the 2019 ceremony at Gordon Commons in Madison on Thursday, Nov. 7.

Outstanding Woman of Color Award — Taviare Hawkins
Hawkins, who was the 50th African American woman in U.S. history to earn a doctorate in physics, joined the UWL Physics Department in fall 2012. She came to UWL with an extensive background in the field of microtubule biomechanics.

Hawkins is involved in activities that increase the number of women and other underrepresented groups in physics and astronomy, that promote the sciences, and increase the retention and graduation rates of science students.

Hawkins has received UW System funding, as a co-principal investigator, for her “UWL Summer Research Program for Increasing Student Retention and Graduation” and funding, as a co-principal investigator, from the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium (WSGC) for “Promoting Women in Physics and Astronomy Through Distinguished Lecture Series at UWL.” She has coordinated and organized physics shows for students from Rufus King Middle School in Milwaukee and participates in the Physics Department’s annual “Physics and Laser Light Show Extravaganza” for approximately 700-800 local area school children.

UWL Physics Professor Taviare Hawkins, the 50th African American woman in U.S. history to earn a doctorate in physics, will receive the Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award.
UWL Physics Professor Taviare Hawkins, the 50th African American woman in U.S. history to earn a doctorate in physics, will receive the Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award.

In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Hawkins has set up a productive biophysics research laboratory at UWL where several physics students are currently working on various projects. In the last six years, 30 students have worked with her and then presented their research at local, state and national conferences. She is also in charge of the Wisconsin Economic Stimulus Program in the Biophysics area and incorporates a number of students on several undergraduate research projects there.

“The energy and determination that Dr. Hawkins brings to all her activities is phenomenal,” says UWL Provost Betsy Morgan. “She is a model citizen who has dedicated her life to the benefit of students and the community, particularly to women and other underrepresented groups.”

P.B. Poorman Award — Deb Hoskins
Hoskins has been a strong advocate for the LGBTQ+ community on and off campus for more than 20 years. Through her professional roles as the chair of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department and the Inclusive Excellence Coordinator for the Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning, as well as through her personal care and concern for people of any marginalized identity, she embodies the spirit of the Dr. P.B. Poorman Award.

Hoskins has overseen the department’s name change to “Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies” to keep sexuality studies, especially for the LGBTQ+ identified peoples central to the academic program. She also was central to the curricular and administrative work to take the women’s studies minor to the women’s studies major in 2008.

UWL Associate Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Deb Hoskins will be honored with the Dr. P.B. Poorman Award for Outstanding Achievement on Behalf of LGBTQ People.
UWL Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Deb Hoskins will be honored with the Dr. P.B. Poorman Award for Outstanding Achievement on Behalf of LGBTQ People.

Hoskins has taught courses on Lesbian Studies and Transgender History to expand program offerings on the LGBT+ community. She also has a section on “LGBTQ students” on her “Known Groups” CATL website about strategies for addressing equity gaps for various marginalized groups. She is an out lesbian on campus and also to her students to let them know both know that she’s a “Friendly Face,” but also to serve as an example of someone with this particular identity who had to navigate the rigors of academia and get tenure.

Hoskins is generous with her time and money and often contributes said resources on the LGBTQ+ community to collections, like the WGSS Resource Center, so that these might be accessible to a broader audience. She has also made many contributions to community organizations like The Center: 7 Rivers LGBT Connection.

“In essence, through her teaching and service to the campus, La Crosse community, and beyond,” says department colleague, Associate Professor Mahruq F. Khan. “Dr. Hoskins now serves as the very leader she likely needed as a young college student.”