The New York University Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Faculty Award is sponsored by the Offices of the President and Provost, in partnership with the Office of Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Strategic Innovation. The purpose of this award is to recognize outstanding faculty who exemplify the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through teaching excellence, leadership, social justice activism, and community building. In addition, these faculty make a positive impact within the classroom and in the greater NYU community. Current NYU students nominate faculty and recipients are chosen by a committee of past recipients and student leaders.
Faculty Award Recipients, 2020–2021
Noel S. Anderson, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
Dr. Noel S. Anderson currently holds the positions of Chairperson of the Department of Administration, Leadership and Technology; and Clinical Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at NYU Steinhardt.
Prior to NYU, Professor Anderson was Chief Program Officer for Year Up, Inc., a national workforce and education organization. Before leading at Year Up, he was a tenured Associate Professor and Interim Chairperson in the Department of Political Science at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York (CUNY). His academic research focuses on career and post-secondary pathways for low-income youth as well as race and equity in education. Much of his research integrates the capabilities approach (a theory developed by Amartya Sen, Nobel Prize winner in welfare economics) to education and equity. He is one of only a handful of U.S. scholars applying this complex methodology to education.
In addition to teaching and lecturing around the world, Professor Anderson has authored and edited numerous scholarly articles and books. His most recent co-authored book is Working to Learn: Disrupting the Divide between College and Career Pathways for Young People (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2020).
Professor Anderson has earned over a dozen awards and fellowships, including the Presidio Institute Cross-Sector Leadership Fellowship and the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Education Leadership Award by the National Urban League. In fall 2020, he served on then Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s Education Policy Committee where he used his expertise to inform the campaign’s national platform on career readiness. Professor Anderson received his BA cum laude from Brooklyn College, MSEd from the University of Pennsylvania and his PhD from New York University.
Leo R. Douglas, Liberal Studies
Dr. Leo R. Douglas is a clinical assistant professor in Liberal Studies. His scholarship and NGO involvement focuses on the representation of Black and other minority scholars in nature conservation.
Professor Douglas received his PhD; Masters of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology; and Environmental Policy Certificate from Columbia University. He also received a Masters of Philosophy degree with honors in Zoology from the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica.
Professor Douglas is the past-President of BirdsCaribbean, the largest single international NGO focusing on the conservation of flora and fauna within the greater Caribbean region. He is a past recipient of the Musgrave Medal (2018), the Government of Jamaica’s Millennium Scholarship, and a Fulbright OAS Scholarship. His current and past courses taught include Global Nature Conservation – A Postcolonial Perspective, Social Conflicts & Conservation, Conservation Marketing & Behavior Change, Biodiversity, and Environmental Studies.
Erica Foldy, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service
Professor Erica Foldy is an associate professor at NYU Wagner and affiliated faculty with the Center for Gender in Organizations at the Simmons School of Management.
She is a scholar, teacher, consultant, and organizer. Her research explores what enables and inhibits collaboration and learning across potential divisions, with a focus on race and racism.
Professor Foldy is co-author of the book, The Color Bind: Talking (and not Talking) About Race at Work; and co-editor of the Reader in Gender and Organizations. Her numerous papers have been published in a variety of outlets, including those in organization studies, public administration, psychology, social service, and medicine. Professor Foldy also leads NYU Wagner’s Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy MPA program and co-leads its Capstone program. She teaches a course called Race, Identity, and Inclusion in Organizations, among others.
Her expertise has been featured in The Washington Post, Reuters, CNN.com, and other media outlets. She has also consulted on equity, diversity, and belonging within a range of groups and agencies. Most recently, on behalf of Wagner Action for Social Justice, Equity, and Democracy (SEAD), Professor Foldy has begun to lead a program that funds fellowships for NYU students to work at pro-democracy organizations.
Phil Galdston, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
Professor Phil Galdston is NYU Steinhardt‘s Director of Songwriting and a songwriter/producer whose numerous and varied efforts have made him one of the few in the field to score hits on nearly every major Billboard chart.
Over 130 million copies of his songs and productions have appeared on nearly 80 million records worldwide and in recordings by artists ranging from Celine Dion to Sheryl Crow, Chicago to Beyoncé, Brandy to Esperanza Spalding, and Yolanda Adams to Kurt Elling. Among Professor Galdston’s many successes is "Save the Best For Last," recorded by Vanessa Williams, which topped Billboard's three major charts while being nominated for a GRAMMY® (Song of the Year) and selected as ASCAP's Song of the Year. Professor Galdston has also produced a diverse group of artists and scored four motion pictures. His work has appeared in many films and television programs.
Professor Galdston is the recipient of numerous awards including the American Song Festival’s Grand Prize, two Nashville Songwriters Association citations, a Cable ACE nomination, an ADDY, a DOVE Award nomination, five ASCAP awards, five GRAMMY® nominations, and the Time for Peace Award. He has also received recognition from many children’s music groups.
He is the founder, curator, and moderator of WORDS & MUSIC, conversations with the great songwriters, where his guests have included many of the most important practitioners of the art and craft of song. Professor Galdston is also a curator/moderator of Steinhardt’s FRIDAY@1, a weekly series of conversations with musical luminaries.
Faye D. Ginsburg, Faculty of Arts & Science
Faye D. Ginsburg, a disability ally, activist, and scholar, is the David Kriser Professor of Anthropology. She founded and directs the Graduate Certificate Program in Culture & Media and The Center for Media, Culture & History.
In 2017, she co-founded NYU’s Center for Disability Studies with co-director, Professor Mara Mills. These centers provide opportunities for interdisciplinary pedagogy and community building within and beyond NYU. They also focus on cultural activism and social justice, showcasing the work of diverse artists, intellectuals, and activists.
For three decades, Professor Ginsburg’s work with Indigenous media makers has been central to her research, writing, and teaching. In 1993, she created fellowships to bring Indigenous scholars/filmmakers/activists to NYU, attracting diverse students—from Indigenous communities and elsewhere—to enroll in the certificate program, create documentaries, and develop innovative scholarship. Her curatorial work includes First Nations/First Features (2004) with MoMA and the National Museum of the American Indian; as well as the ReelAbilities Disability Film Festival, which launched in 2007.
Professor Ginsburg is the author/editor of four award-winning books and is in the process of completing two works: Disability Worlds (with Rayna Rapp); and Mediating Culture: Indigenous Media in the Digital Age. A dedicated mentor, Professor Ginsburg has supervised over 50 doctoral students. Her awards include a MacArthur, a Guggenheim, and support from many foundations.
Michael McElroy, Tisch School of the Arts
Michael McElroy is an associate arts professor in the New Studio on Broadway (NSB) musical theater acting studio in undergraduate drama at Tisch School of the Arts. He is also Director of Diversity Initiatives for Tisch Drama.
He received his BFA in Drama from Carnegie Mellon, where he was recently awarded the 2020 Alumni Achievement Award.
His Broadway credits include Sunday in the Park with George (2017 revival), Disaster! (vocal arr:) Next to Normal, Rent, The Wild Party, Big River (Tony Nom), The Who's Tommy, Street Corner Symphony (vocal arr:), Miss Saigon, Patti LuPone on Broadway, and High Roller Social Pleasure Club. New York Philharmonic: Candide; National Tour: Next to Normal, Rent, and Big River Sarafina.
Professor McElroy is also the Founder/Musical Director of Broadway Inspirational Voices (BIV). In 2019, he accepted the Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theater on behalf of BIV, from the American Theater Wing. Professor McElroy was also nominated for a Grammy in 2005 for “Joy to the World,” the arrangement of BIV’s first holiday CD, Great Joy: A Gospel Christmas. His compositions and arrangements have been performed at The Kennedy Center, Constitution Hall, Lincoln Center, Crystal Cathedral, as well as churches and concert halls around the world.
Michele Mitchell, Faculty of Arts & Science
Michele Mitchell is an associate professor of history. Her courses include Surveys of African American History and U.S. History, as well as Black Women in America, Writing Gender Histories, Theories of Race, and Twentieth-Century U.S. History in Film.
A 2017 recipient of the Golden Dozen Award, Professor Mitchell considers teaching to be a calling that entails a mission to trouble the very notions of “race” and “difference.”
A former North American editor of Gender & History, her scholarly work has appeared in many venues, including Keywords in African American Studies (NYU Press, 2018), Journal of Women’s History, Cuban Studies, The Public Historian, and The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. In addition to her book, Righteous Propagation: African Americans and the Politics of Racial Destiny after Reconstruction (University of North Carolina Press, 2004), Professor Mitchell has co-edited Dialogues of Dispersal: Gender, Sexuality, and African Diasporas (Blackwell Publishing, 2004); Gender, Imperialism and Global Exchanges (Wiley-Blackwell, 2015); and Heterosexual Histories (NYU Press, 2021). She is currently writing Idle Anxieties: Youth, Race, and Sexuality during the Great Depression.
Professor Mitchell serves on the editorial board of the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History and was a historical adviser for the New-York Historical Society exhibit, Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow.
Sam Pollard, Tisch School of the Arts
Sam Pollard is an accomplished feature film & television video editor and documentary producer/director.
Between 1990 and 2010, Professor Pollard edited several Spike Lee's films including Mo' Better Blues, Jungle Fever, Girl 6, Clockers, and Bamboozled. Professor Pollard and Professor Lee co-produced many documentary productions for the small and big screen, including Four Little Girls, a feature-length documentary about the 1963 Birmingham church bombings which was nominated for an Academy Award; and When The Levees Broke, a four-part documentary that won numerous awards including a Peabody and three Emmys. Five years later, he co-produced and supervised the edit on the follow-up to When The Levees Broke, If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise.
Since 2012, Professor Pollard has completed (as a producer/director) Slavery By Another Name, a 90-minute documentary for PBS that competed at the Sundance Festival; August Wilson: The Ground On Which I Stand, a 90-minute documentary in 2015 for American Masters; Two Trains Runnin', a feature-length documentary in 2016 that premiered at the Full Frame Film Festival; and Sammy Davis Jr., I’ve Gotta Be Me for American Masters which premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. In 2019, Professor Pollard co-directed the six-part series Why We Hate, which premiered on The Discovery Channel. Most recently, Professor Pollard served as one of the directors on the 2020 HBO Series Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children; and completed MLK/FBI, which premiered at the 2020 Toronto Film Festival and New York Film Festival.
Dina C. Tate, School of Professional Studies
Dina C. Tate is an adjunct professor at NYU School of Professional Studies’ Department of Integrated Marketing and Communications, within the division of Programs in Business.
One of her passions is to incorporate a culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) through project-based learning. She also seeks to encourage students to think creatively and look for innovative ways to solve business problems.
Professor Tate has created a niche wherein she has her students work with Black-owned businesses to redefine their digital or social media strategies. Both parties come away from the experience having learned about themselves and business design on a deeper level.
Professor Tate also leads an EdTech organization named Global Girls Squad which provides young girls of color with a safe space to access content and characters that they can see themselves in. The future Global Girls Squad characters and stories aim to motivate kids to explore the world around them and ultimately guide them toward high-achieving life paths while inspiring self-learning along the way. Through her research and organization, Professor Tate addresses the current deficiencies and lack of diversity in books, games, and animation.
The 2021 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Faculty Award was presented to honorees during a special ceremony on Tuesday, February 2, during NYU MLK Week (February 1–6). Winners of the award receive a $1000 research stipend.