Sami Schalk, an associate professor of Gender and Women’s Studies, has been named one of the 2021 Outstanding Women of Color in Education by UW System, as part of the organization’s annual recognition of educators who advance equity and inclusion for people of color within the UW System, as well as communities across the state.

Schalk, who received tenure in 2020, is the author of the 2018 book “Bodyminds Reimagined: (Dis)ability, Race, and Gender in Black Women’s Speculative Fiction.” Her research focuses on disability, race and gender in contemporary American literature and culture, with an emphasis on African American and women’s texts. She frequently contributes essays to a long list of national publications and has long been a voice for and champion of marginalized groups.

Earlier this year, Schalk received a UW–Madison Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award for Inclusive Excellence for her efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the classroom. Her then-department chair, Professor Janet Sibley Hyde, described her as “an engaging and impactful teacher.”

“The work of addressing racism and sexism on campus, in Madison, in Wisconsin and beyond is continual and ongoing labor that falls heaviest on women of color like myself,” says Schalk.  “I’m honored to be named one of the Outstanding Women of Color in Education for UW–Madison and the UW-System this year and to have my contributions to social justice and liberation as a scholar and activist recognized at this level. I look forward to continuing to advocate for a better campus, city, state and world for myself and all marginalized people.”

Recipients were formally recognized on Nov. 4 in Madison at an awards ceremony and reception hosted by UW System Senior Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Officer Warren R. Anderson. The ceremony and reception will be held in conjunction with UW System’s presentation of the Dr. P.B. Poorman Awards for Outstanding Achievement on Behalf of LGBTQ+ People.

The 2021 Outstanding Women of Color in Education honorees are:
  • Winnifred Bryant, Professor of Biology, Department Chair, UW-Eau Claire
  • Renita Robinson, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, Prevea Health, selected by UW-Green Bay
  • Monica Yang, Outreach Program Manager I, Multicultural Student Services, UW-La Crosse
  • Sami Schalk, Associate Professor, Department of Gender & Women’s Studies, UW-Madison
  • Brittany Ochoa-Nordstrum, Graduate Teaching Assistant, UW-Milwaukee
  • Doris Johnson Browne, Counselor/Therapist, UW-Milwaukee
  • Elisabeth Arguello, PreCollege Programs Coordinator, UW Oshkosh
  • Giovanna Gutierrez, Outreach Program Manager and Assistant to the Dean, UW-Parkside
  • Angela Yang, Interim Assistant Director, TRIO Student Support Services, UW-Platteville
  • Natasha Rayne, Assistant Professor, Plant and Earth Science, UW-River Falls
  • Kaia Fitzgerald, Student, UW-Stevens Point
  • Wei Zheng, Professor and Program Director, Plastics Engineering Program, UW-Stout
  • Salisa Hochstetler, Assistant Director for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, UW-Superior
  • Ana Caballero Mengibar, Associate Director, Undergraduate Research Program, UW-Whitewater

UW institutions submit nominations for the award, which highlight each recipient’s contributions to improving the status and climate for women and people of color and to advancing the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion.