Johnson recognized for leadership in diversity and inclusion


Harley Johnson
Harley Johnson
In recognition of his efforts to advocate for inclusion and access at Illinois, Professor Harley Johnson was selected to receive the 2018 Larine Y. Cowan Make a Difference Award for Leadership in Diversity. Presented by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the award honors those who demonstrate dedication to promoting diversity and inclusion through research, hiring practices, courses, programs, and events. He was honored at the 33rd Annual Celebration of Diversity breakfast on November 9.

During his leadership as MechSE Associate Head for Graduate Programs, he helped the department reach a historically high enrollment of women graduate students and increased efforts to enroll and retain underrepresented minorities. Johnson has also been an advocate for diversity in faculty hiring, and his efforts have helped the MechSE Department maintain a leadership position among its peers for faculty diversity. He also has a record of distinguished service in promoting inclusion throughout engineering. He was recently designated as the first Chief Diversity Officer in the College of Engineering, and from 2017 to 2018, he was appointed as the founding chair of the college’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, leading students, staff, and faculty in an examination of diversity and climate issues across the college.

At the campus level, he served on the Provost’s and Chancellor’s Gender Equity Council for more than five years, working with the committee to improve policies and support for women faculty. He was appointed to the Chancellor’s Enhancing Diversity, Guiding Excellence (EDGE) Council, and more recently, the External Review of Diversity Programs, advising campus administration on ongoing issues of diversity and inclusion. He serves as a link between administration, academic units, and faculty governance. As a member of the Senate Committee on Equal Opportunity and Inclusion, he helped advocate for important issues of diversity across campus.

“This award is especially meaningful to me because it's coming from campus and community leaders who are, themselves, so dedicated to this work. I’ve learned so much from them over the last few years. Much of the work that is being recognized was done together with the other members of last year's College of Engineering Diversity Committee, a wonderful group of colleagues, including Tami Bond, Lance Cooper, Lynford Goddard, Cecilia Lead, Sahid Rosado Lausell, Mariana Silva, Zachary Berent, and Anabel Rivera,” said Johnson.

The Larine Cowan awards are named for the retired assistant chancellor and director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access at Illinois. Cowan devoted her career to building programs and fostering research to promote diversity and equity programs in the workplace.