Staff Leader in the Department of Engineering Systems and Environment Earns University-Level Award
Michelle Busby, director of operations for the Department of Engineering Systems and Environment, has received the Lincoln Lewis Outstanding Staff Recognition Award.
Lewis was the first advisor to the University of Virginia president in the position of equal opportunity-affirmative action officer, serving from 1988 to 1995. The award is given by the UVA Black Faculty and Staff Employee Resource Group to an exceptional staff member who actively and enthusiastically seeks to promote greater diversity in the UVA community and demonstrates a record of forward thinking and new ideas.
Brian L. Smith, chair of the department, wrote in support of Busby’s nomination, noting her unwavering commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
“This is evident in all of her actions, from working with faculty, students and staff, to reaching out to the Charlottesville community, to ensuring that our department’s purchases provide opportunity to minority-owned businesses,” Smith said. “Michelle ‘walks the walk,’ and I have seen firsthand the impact of her efforts on our community.”
Busby is responsible for hiring the department’s staff, whose proficiency, creativity and adeptness in working with all constituents is due in large measure to members’ diversity and Busby’s leadership, Smith said. It is the most diverse staff in the department’s history, said Garrick E. Louis, associate professor and the department’s director of diversity, equity and inclusion, who also wrote in support of Busby’s nomination for the award.
Busby is a member of the department’s leadership committee, where she advocates for staff and ensures diverse perspectives are considered in decision-making. She also facilitates diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, such as the creation of the department’s DEI Merit Scholarship to help recruit a diverse body of graduate students, and the Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award. The award recognizes engineering systems and environment students, staff and faculty for promoting the department’s vision to create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive place where everyone feels accepted and respected as they work, study and advance.
Busby is a founding member of the department’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, and she chairs the Community Outreach and Participation Subcommittee. She created and coordinates the ESE Cares program, in which the department’s students, staff and faculty participate in community outreach efforts such as drives to donate school supplies, winter clothing and holiday gifts. Through Busby’s efforts, ESE Cares partners on a Thanksgiving food drive with the African American Pastors Council, and she regularly coordinates ESE Cares volunteer activities and food donations for the Charlottesville Ronald McDonald House.
Busby also served on the UVA Engineering Task Force on Racial Equity and has served on the School’s Staff Recognition and Awards Committee. She is a member of the executive board of the UVA Black Faculty and Staff Employee Resource Group. She recently was elected to the UVA Staff Senate to represent employees of the School of Engineering.
“Michelle is an exemplar for excellence in diversity, equity and inclusion in the department, School and University,” Louis said. “Her service also provides an important and vibrant connection for these different levels of the University to the Charlottesville community. Michelle embodies Dr. Lewis’ commitment to the importance of a racially, ethnically and culturally diverse staff at the University and extends that commitment to UVA’s engagement with its surrounding community.”