UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Robert Loeb, professor of biology and forestry at Penn State DuBois, has been selected to receive the 2018 Dr. James Robinson Equal Opportunity Award.
The award, sponsored by the Penn State Alumni Association, was established in 1988 and renamed in 1998 to honor the late James Robinson, a distinguished alumnus and former member of the Alumni Council. It recognizes a full-time faculty or staff member with at least two years of active service who has promoted equal opportunity through affirmative action and/or contributes to enhancing the educational environment of the University through improving cross-cultural understanding.
Colleagues said Loeb exemplifies the spirit of the award because of his long-term commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, well beyond his duties at Penn State.
Loeb’s many contributions include:
● Supporting programs and priorities of the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity, including the University’s “All-In” initiative;
● Providing consultation for the Commission on Racial/Ethnic Diversity’s initiative on the best practices in diversity for faculty;
● Partnering with the commission on Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer Equity on the “Commission Reads” program;
● Providing support to the Commission for Women on the gender equity and female faculty recruitment retention and advancement initiative; and
● Supporting Penn State’s middle and high school pre-college programs including TRIO Upward Bound, Upward Bound Migrant, Upward Bound Math and Science and Talent Search.
A colleague singled out Loeb’s commitment to recruiting and retaining underrepresented minority faculty members and his push for additional diversity requirements for students.
“Those two efforts combined — strengthening the diversity course requirement and improving the process for recruiting, hiring and retaining underrepresented minority faculty members — contributed to a definite uptick in the number of diverse new faculty hires for which Penn State was nationally recognized,” the colleague said. “Additionally, Loeb enacted key recommendations at Penn State DuBois, including establishing a diversity advocate position on all faculty searches, an initiative adopted by the Commonwealth College and which is still recommended to colleges as best practices.”