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Faculty Recognition

Denise Isom Receives MLK Legacy Award

Ethnic Studies Chair Denise Isom has received Cal Poly’s Cross Cultural Centers’ Annual MLK Legacy Award for her determination and devotion to create a more just, equitable and diverse Cal Poly campus. The Cross Cultural Centers created the award in 2019 to recognize a campus community member who upholds the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. by leading with love and hope to create a better campus for all.

Isom, who came to Cal Poly in 2008 and has led the Ethnic Studies Department for almost seven years, has created a space for underrepresented students to be heard and find support and community. She has served as the interim associate director of Cal Poly’s Office of University Diversity and Inclusion; co-created the annual Teach In event, now in its fourth year; and co-created and co-leads the diversity and equity in teaching summer workshop for faculty. Isom’s recent honors include the College of Liberal Arts 2017 Diversity Award, the 2019 faculty award for Outstanding Contribution to the African American Community “Living the Dream” Award, and the 2019 Award for Excellence in Partnership and Service from the Cal Poly History Department.