Hanasono earns Hoch, college awards for commitment to diversity

Dr. Lisa Hanasono's work is founded in the integration of research and teaching and lived out in her commitment to the community. In recognition of her engagement of students with such important issues as promoting unity, diversity and inclusion, Hanasono, an assistant professor of communication, received a 2016 David Hoch Memorial Award for Excellence in Service.

The award was presented by Ohio Campus Compact, a nonprofit membership organization of 41 Ohio colleges and universities working to promote and develop the civic purposes of higher education. The Hoch award honors the outstanding work in service-learning and/or civic engagement by a faculty or staff member at an Ohio Campus Compact member institution.

In addition to the Hoch award, Hanasono has also been selected to receive the College of Arts and Sciences Diversity Award for 2016, again in recognition of her putting into practice her research and pedagogical interests in diversity and inclusivity. That award will be presented today (May 2).

Collectively, Hanasono’s teaching, research and service activities work together to strategically develop, deliver and evaluate the effectiveness of community engagement projects and initiatives that advance diversity at BGSU and beyond. Drawing from her research expertise on discrimination, advocacy and social support, she worked with community partners and students to design, launch and assess BG4Unity, a community-based service-learning project.

BG4Unity encourages people to use social media responsibly to advocate against hate and engage in community building. Undergraduate students enrolled in Hanasono’s Persuasion courses partnered with local organizations and applied course concepts to raise community members’ awareness about the prevalence and danger of cyberbullying and online discrimination, motivate people to join BG4Unity to demonstrate their solidarity against hate, and inspire people to use social media to spread messages of hope and support to those coping with discrimination.

She and her students used Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to encourage BGSU and community members to use social media to promote diversity and challenge stereotypes. Over the past year, Hanasono and her students partnered with BGSU and community organizations such as the Center for Community and Civic Engagement (CCCE), Not in Our Town (NIOT), the Graduate Student Senate and the Office of Multicultural Affairs. Recognizing the importance of combining social media advocacy with face-to-face community outreach initiatives, they attended several key events to spread the word and invite people to get involved with BG4Unity, such as the Black Issues Conference, the 19th State of the State Conference on Diversity, and the 2015 NIOT’s Interfaith Community Breakfast. In January, BG4Unity students volunteered as the CCCE’s social media outreach specialists on BGSU’s 2016 MLK Jr. Day of Service, and Hanasono's peer-reviewed pedagogical article about BG4Unity was accepted for publication in Communication Teacher.

BG4Unity now has more than 800 followers on Facebook and over 525 followers on Twitter. They have gathered over 500 photos from community members and BGSU students, faculty, and staff that challenge hate and advocate for the responsible use of social media. Moreover, analytics from Sprout Social indicate that BG4Unity’s social media posts have reached over 17,200 people on Twitter and Facebook through followers’ and group members’ social networks.

“This work has generated a cultural shift towards equity and inclusion on our campus,” said Vicky Kulicke, equity and diversity officer and Title IX deputy coordinator. “With each course taught and every educational opportunity, Dr. Hanasono regularly cultivates skills for putting theory to practice.”