University of Vermont

HESA 2013 graduate Dirk Jonathan Rodricks named Trillium Scholar


HESA 2013 graduate Dirk Jonathan Rodricks named Trillium Scholar

CESS is proud to announce that Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) 2013 graduate Dirk Jonathan Rodricks has been named a Trillium Scholar for doctoral study at the University of Toronto (UofT). He will be one of 75 Trillium Scholars from across the world that will be heading to Ontario in the fall.  Awarded by the Government of Ontario, the Trillium Scholarship is the highest provincial award, surpassed only by the Government of Canada’s Vanier Scholarship.  Valued at $40,000 annually, the award is renewable for a maximum of four years of doctoral study, and is similar in prestige to the Trudeau, Truman, and Ford Scholar programs. 

The Trillium Scholarship will supersede Dirk’s earlier receipt of the University of Toronto’s Connaught award.  As part of the University of Toronto’s institutional commitment to him he has also been awarded a Research Fellow position to work with a faculty member on a five-year diversity education grant on issues of access and success. 

Dirk expresses special appreciation to Department of Leadership & Developmental Sciences chair, Dr. Deb Hunter, and program coordinator, Dr. Kathy Manning, and the rest of the HESA faculty, for “the excellence of my graduate preparation as a major reason for my selection.”  He singles out for special thanks Dr. Dorian McCoy (now at University of Tennessee-Knoxville), and Dr. Shametrice Davis (outgoing Henderson Post-Doctoral Fellow), both of whom, he says, were “instrumental in my success and underscore the importance and necessity of a faculty member of color in the HESA program.  I could not have done this without them.” 

Not new to UVM, Dirk graduated in 2011 with a B.A. in Theatre from UVM’s College of Arts and Sciences.  Originally from Mumbai, India, Dirk has been in the US for well over a decade, and considers Boston his home. 

Dirk credits CESS’s HESA program for introducing him to concepts of power, privilege, and oppression and for encouraging him to integrate them into his coursework and practicum experiences.  He sees an understanding of these concepts as critical to working effectively with diverse populations.  In his PhD studies, Dirk intends to explore further the “pedagogical relationship between teacher and student at the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and national origin and how these identities are performed in the classroom.”  Toronto, he says, “offers a fascinating cultural environment to study these particular intersectional relationships.”  Moreover, he continues, the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto, “offers excellent support and much of their work is done through a strong social justice lens that includes critical theory and queer theory.” 

Dirk goes on to say, “Both my communities at Royall Tyler Theatre and Mann Hall have been instrumental in providing valuable mentorship to ground where I am and what I plan to do.  The mentoring,” he says, "came in different ways, from different people in ways active and passive, meaning that some of the faculty whose support I received didn’t even realize their influence and impact.”  As a student who "definitely pushed the envelope,” Dirk especially appreciated the fact that he was “always challenged and supported to do more” by the faculty.  He concludes, “I am thrilled to finally connect all the things I love: education, theatre, and social justice.” 

In a note to Dean Miller, Dirk says, “Thank you for your leadership and support of the HESA program.  I am pleased to represent HESA, CESS, and UVM at this next stage of my academic career.”

And we are proud to have Dirk Jonathan Rodricks carry on the work he started at CESS, and wish him in the future every success he richly deserves.