Winona State University Director of Inclusion and Diversity Alex Hines is motivated by the prospect of bettering the life of his students and recently, Hines’ hard work inspired by that motivation was recognized by diversity and leadership organizations.

Hines was recognized at the Minnesota Education Equity Partnership’s (MnEEP) annual meeting with the “All My Relations” award, given annually to someone who has contributed to the program’s mission of “increasing the success of students of color in Minnesota schools, colleges and universities.”

Hines also received the Education Leadership Award and Calvin P. Styles Service Award from JV Educational Consultants, an educational leadership and diversity empowerment organization.

Hines said he strives to use professionals who study topics of diversity, representation, feminist theories and more to further understand and educate himself on what would be best for student achievement at WSU. Hines’ research with Rinnel Atherton, Ph.D., which delved into the preparations for pre-service teachers for cultural competence, has been published in “Critical Black Studies Reader.”

Since 2005, efforts by Hines and the Inclusion and Diversity Office to make the educational experience of WSU better for all students has resulted in an increase in the percentage of students of color at WSU—from 2.5-4 percent in 2005 to 12.4 percent today. With programs like HOPE Academy, a summer camp designed to represent underrepresented and under-served students, and Inclusion and Diversity lectures, workshops and programming on campus, Hines and his team have worked to create a university that actively recruits underrepresented students and advocates for an environment that allows them to succeed and accomplish their goals.

“To be recognized by people who know I’m doing the work is humbling, and it’s gratifying,” Hines said.

But Hines said he doesn’t do what he does on a daily basis for the awards or the accolades. He does it for his students.

“You can always learn things from different people and different perspectives,” Hines said. “It’s all about making things better for students in general.”

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