2014 D.W. Brooks Diversity Award - Faculty
Department: Agricultural and Applied Economics
Since 2001, when he joined the University of Georgia, Dr. Cesar Escalante has actively mentored minority graduate students in his department. Through his personal approach, Escalante's students have successfully overcome obstacles and completed their programs of study. Escalante encourages advisees to assert themselves and to accomplish goals beyond the usual thesis or dissertation research expectations. As a result, many of his students have been recognized with awards at the departmental, regional, national and international levels. Among these many accolades, one advisee won the Outstanding Master's Thesis award in 2009 from a premier national professional organization.
One key strategy for student retention lies within the attractiveness of Escalante's research agenda, which focuses on socially and financially disadvantaged farmers. Minority students appreciated the value of working on his projects as the projects touched the students' personal and social lives. For example, an African-American student investigated lending biases following the launch of a class action lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture by black farmers. In another example, an Asian-American student researched how the poorest households in her native country of India were lifted out of poverty through microfinance.
Outside UGA, Escalante's research accomplishments helped raise awareness for the need for improved, more equitable implementation of programs and policies that respect diversity in various facets of societal relationships, whether farm management, borrower-lender relationships, microfinance, foreign labor employment or empowerment of women.
- News release:
2014 D.W. Brooks Awards recognizes faculty, staff and students
DW BROOKS 2014 on Flickr