CLEVELAND, Miss. — Each February, the Mississippi Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) recognize Black History Month by honoring leaders in diversity and inclusion at IHL institutions during their February board meeting. This year, Sylma Samuel-Ferreira, instructor of Spanish at Delta State University, received the 2023 IHL Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award on Thursday, Feb. 16, in Jackson.
Professor Samuel-Ferreira has spent over 25 years as an educator in classrooms around the world. She has been instrumental in organizing and promoting programs and events aimed at expanding the DSU community’s exposure to the cultural, ethnic, and linguistic diversity of the Delta since her arrival in 2016.
“Instruction should always encompass diversity issues in order to bring out the best in students,” Samuel-Ferreira said. “That allows them to contemplate on the disadvantaged, to understand underrepresented groups. I am always grateful to Delta State for affording us the opportunity to do those types of activities by supporting all my projects that I have done so far, and it’s a continual project.”
“Professor Samuel-Ferreira continues to be a strong advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion at Delta State University,” said Michael Smith, chair of the Division of Languages and Literature. “As an instructor, she works tirelessly to involve the larger Spanish-speaking community in both her classroom and in the many annual events of the program.”
Samuel-Ferreira’s continued professional development includes recent certificates from the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) and Inter-American Teacher Education Network (ITEN). She is a member of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), Mississippi Foreign Language Association (MFLA), and Gamma Epsilon Chapter of Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society. She also serves as the state liaison for Mississippi with the National Museum of Languages and serves as a member of the museum’s Language Leadership Council.