April 19, 2023

San Diego Mesa College Professor Dr. Veronica Gerace Receives Prestigious Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) Regina Stanback Stroud Diversity Award

By Jennifer Kearns

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Sacramento, CA ----  This week, San Diego Mesa College Professor Dr. Veronica Gerace received the prestigious 2023 Regina Stanback Stroud Diversity Award from the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC)As the official voice of California community college faculty in academic and professional matters, the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) is committed to equity, student learning and student success. The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges acts to empower faculty to engage in local and statewide dialog and take action for continued improvement of teaching, learning, and faculty participation in governance.


Each year, amazing faculty work and dedication to students are recognized with submissions for statewide awards, and Dr. Gerace was recognized for her contributions leading up to and during the 2022-23 academic year. Serving the most diverse student population of any higher education system in the country, the California Community Colleges system is largely comprised of demographic groups that have traditionally faced barriers to education. The prestigious Regina Stanback Stroud Diversity Award acknowledges an individual or group that is exceptional in contributing to the advancement of intercultural harmony, equity, and campus diversity at their college.


I have observed with amazement and enthusiasm Dr. Gerace’s relentless innovation and hard work advancing an inclusive, supportive, and engaged campus climate that benefits all aspects of our campus community, stated Dr. Ashanti T. Hands, Mesa College President. “Dr. Gerace’s contributions to equity span a broad range of more than 25 initiatives, new organizations, programs, policies, processes, workshops, and classes. We are blessed to have Dr. Gerace as a part of the Mesa College community and are a better campus because of who she is! I am excited, but not surprised, to see her recognized for such a prestigious award.”


Regina Stanback Stroud Diversity Award Announcement


The recipient of the Stanback Stroud Award this year is Veronica Gerace, communications studies faculty member at San Diego Mesa College.


The following is an excerpt from the local academic senate letter of support: “An experienced instructor for more than two decades, our nominee helped create a number of classroom and non-classroom initiatives to foster diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). In addition, the nominee has endeavored to institutionally embed DEI both locally and throughout California. Professor Gerace conceived of the Common Grounds Initiative that gathers students, faculty members, classified professionals, and administrators for informal conversations that build trust among the college’s stakeholders. She founded the Regional Chapter of the American Association for Women in Community Colleges that currently includes more than 150 members. In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, Professor Gereace and a colleague launched Propelled by Protests, a project that encouraged African American student leadership to host substantive dialogue among all the College’s stakeholders. Propelled by Protests activities included guest speakers who addressed concerns specific to Mesa’s African American students.”


Dr. Gerace is a faculty member in the Communication Studies Department at San Diego Mesa College. She has a passion for guiding students to success by developing and implementing innovative and creative teaching strategies which often disrupt the status quo.  Dr. Gerace is a leader who often challenges systems to ensure that traditionally marginalized and underserved students have rich opportunities to thrive as scholars. She has also developed numerous programs to empower students to advocate for themselves and build self-efficacy. Dr. Gerace also serves on regional and statewide organizations which work to address equity. Additionally, she has served in many capacities for numerous non-profit organizations throughout the world for most of her life. Dr. Gerace is also a Board Member for the San Diego Mesa College Foundation.


About San Diego Mesa College

San Diego Mesa College is a fully accredited, comprehensive college committed to equity and excellence. We honor our diverse community of students, faculty, professional staff, and administrators who collaborate to foster scholarship, leadership, access, and innovation in an inclusive learning environment. By promoting student learning and achievement that leads to degrees and certificates, transfer, workforce training, and lifelong learning, we empower our students to reach their educational goals and shape their future. Among the largest community colleges in California, Mesa serves 25,000 students per year, 25% of whom are full-time. Mesa offers nearly 200 associate degree and certificate programs and is one of 15 California community colleges offering a four-year baccalaureate degree. Mesa ranks as San Diego’s top transfer institution, is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI), and a Military Friendly School, serving nearly 2,500 veterans and their families.


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Tags: California Community Colleges, Diversity, Mesa Foundation, President Ashanti Hands, award, equity, SD Mesa College