2020 DWA Recipients

The Distinguished Woman in Higher Education Leadership Award is presented annually by the Michigan ACE Network. It is the highest honor the MI-ACE Network presents.

The 2020 recipients are recognized below. While there will not be an in-person annual conference, special recognition is planned to highlight and honor these women.


Rebecca Campbell, MSU professor of psychology

Headshot: Rebecca Campbell

Rebecca Campbell, MSU, Professor of Psychology


A renowned researcher, Rebecca Campbell has conducted critical research regarding how contact with legal and medical systems affect the well-being of sexual assault survivors, served as lead researcher for a four-year multidisciplinary study of Detroit’s 11,000+ untested rape kits, and conducts additional training for law enforcement and practitioners in civilian, military, and campus settings on the neurobiology of trauma. 

In addition, Campbell chairs MSU’s Relationship Violence & Sexual, Misconduct Expert Advisory Workgroup, which serves as an expertise resource for gathering MSU community input to ensure diverse viewpoints are brought into decision-making and to deliver recommendations regarding protocols and policies ensuring a safe campus for all.

She also serves as a special advisor to President Stan Stanley for RSVM issues. Based on this group’s recommendation, MSU is creating a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program that will provide 24 hour first-response medical care to sexual assault survivors on campus.

Honored in 2015 with the Vision 21 Crime Victims Research Award from the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime, she has also been recognized for her outstanding research by the American Psychological Association and the Association of Public & Land Grand Universities, as well as by MSU.

Katie Kiacz, Mott Community College senior academic services specialist

headshot: Katie Kiacz

Katie Kiacz, Mott Community College senior academic services specialist


As Advisor to the Mott Community College Feminist League Student Club for the last three years, Kiacz has ensured opportunities for students to participate at the National Young Feminist Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., changing the lives of students, empowering them with knowledge in critical issues areas, and providing academic career networking support. She is currently working to bring the 2020 National Conference to Mott Community College.

Kiacz served as the point person to lead the annual participation of MCC, Flint, and Genesee County in the “Bring Back the Night” worldwide movement to stand against sexual violence. Last fall, more than 100 people participated in this important movement. She led the movement for the Equal Pay Day and effectively combined that vital action with Student International Week to create a worldwide focus. In addition, Katie served as a pregnancy advocate for MCC students who continue their education during and post-pregnancy, as well as many leading Title IX programs and professional development opportunities for students.

Kiacz further advocated for institutional board policy, spring-boarded by support to two women completing the U.S. asylum-seeking process striving for a safer environment to raise their children. She initiated a student association to serve international and immigrant student populations, all while continuing her community work. Kiacz is hosting children’s author, LaTashia Perry, whose books include, “Hair Like Mine” and “Skin Like Mine,” with the goal of providing 300 books to children and families.

Carla Koretsky, WMU dean of the College of Arts & Sciences

Carla Koretsky Dean, College of Arts & Sciences

Carla Koretsky, WMU Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences

“Dr. Koretsky is a visionary with a passion for people, a collaborative spirit, and a dedication to diversity,” said WMU President Edward Montgomery. Those qualities have led her to earn grants of $4.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy, American Chemical Society, and the National Science Foundation. Carla Koretsky served as principal investigator for a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Racial Healing Planning Grant to address health disparities, advance educational equity and promote access to underserved community in West Michigan. 

Koretsky is currently serving as a member of the National Science Foundation Advance for Cross Institutional Integrated Equity Support, designed to increase retention and career advancement of underrepresented women and women with family responsibilities in STEM departments. She has served as a faculty member in the environmental studies program and the geosciences department, and as a geochemist, she recognizes the obstacles women face within the scientific disciplines and works to ensure equity.  

In 2015, Koretsky created the “Raise Your Voice” series, featuring female artists, academics, politicians and activists, including Gloria Steinem and Anita Hill. This led to her next step, a Lecture Series, “Imagine a World Without Gender Based Violence,” which created opportunities for all to learn from and engage with activities and national voices to learn how to act and effectively contribute to a solution by helping create a safer, more equitable world.