María del Carmen Caña Jiménez, a professor in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, has received the university’s 2018 Presidential Principles of Community Award.
The award was established in 2013 by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, now the Office of the Vice Provost for Inclusion and Diversity, to recognize faculty and staff members who exemplify and promote a welcoming and inclusive environment in accordance with the university’s Principles of Community. Each recipient is awarded a $2,000 cash prize.
Jiménez is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for diverse groups on campus and in the surrounding community. She received a Departmental Diversity Grant from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences to recruit underrepresented and underserved students to Virginia Tech. In 2017, she cohosted a visit by 40 students from the Galax area. Additionally, she cohosted a visit by 40 Hispanic students, most of them potential first-generation college students, from Harrisonburg City Schools in 2015. Jiménez organized a Flamenco dance workshop for the visiting students to show how diverse and engaging student life on campus can be.
As a former vice chair and chair of the Hispanic and Latino Faculty and Staff Caucus, Jiménez worked closely with leadership in other caucuses to create a cohesive group committed to improving inclusion and diversity at the university. They collaborated in the formation of InclusiveVT as an organizing principle for inclusion and diversity at Virginia Tech.
At the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Jiménez is currently serving on the Diversity Committee and the Dean’s Advisory Committee on International Initiatives. At the university level, she serves on the Commission on Equal Opportunity and Diversity. She has also previously served on the steering committee of the President’s Beyond Boundaries Initiative.
Her role as faculty advisor, choreographer, and dancer for Olé at VT, an organization she started, has allowed Jiménez to live out the Principles of Community by creating a space for expression, diversity, education, and outreach both at Virginia Tech and beyond.
— Written by Lindsey Grooms, Class of 2019