Photo of Rhetaugh Dumas

Rhetaugh Dumas was an esteemed leader with vision, insight, and wise counsel who had a major impact in the advancement of nursing, health care, and academic programs at U-M. Vice Provost Emerita Dumas was the first African-American woman to hold the position of a Dean at the University of Michigan when she was appointed in 1981. She remained Dean of Nursing until 1994, when she was named the inaugural vice provost for health affairs and the Lucille Cole Professor of Nursing. Prior to those appointments, she was the first woman and first nurse to serve as a deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health. Dumas was Deputy Director, Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration (1979-1981) and before that, Chief, Psychiatric Nursing Education Branch of the Division of Manpower and Training Programs (1972-1976). She was also a founding member, a Charter Fellow, and a former president of the American Academy of Nursing. Dumas served the University of Michigan for over 20 years with vision and a commitment to excellence.

The rationale for the Rhetaugh G. Dumas Award is that achievement of a diverse faculty requires an institutional commitment to change that transcends the impact of individual actors. The full professor rank presents the zenith of faculty career ranks. Having concurrent ethnic/racial and gender diversity in the faculty holding the rank of full and associate professors, tenured and non-tenured, provides an emblematic statement about the institutional commitment of that unit to implementing a climate of inclusion. Thus, the Academic Women’s Caucus seeks nominations of units that have demonstrated the vision, commitment and dedication to achieve a truly diverse faculty.


The Academic Women’s Caucus is pleased to accept nominations for the Rhetaugh G. Dumas Progress in Diversifying award.  Selection will be based on the academic unit’s goals to increase the equity and inclusion of new and existing diverse faculty by race and gender, potential impact of those goals, and progress towards reaching those goals.

Self-nominations from academic units for 2023-2024 are due October 23, 2023.  Nominations from all three University of Michigan campuses – Ann Arbor, Flint and Dearborn, are encouraged.

A Unit Leader is required to attend the Award Ceremony that will happen in Winter Term 2024 on February 7, 2024.

Questions? Contact Dr. Tiffany Marra at tmarra@umich.edu; Dr. Patricia Coleman-Burns at pcb@umich.edu or Dr. Marilee Benore at marilee@umich.edu.

Past Award Recipients


The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion


U-M Department of Mechanical Engineering in the College of Engineering
U-M School of Kinesiology


U-M School of Information


U-M Women’s Studies Department


U-M School of Nursing


UM-Dearborn’s College of Engineering and Computer Science


U-M Department of Communication Studies, LSA


Department of Health Behavior and Health Education in the School of Public Health


Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Division of General Pediatrics


The American Culture Department of College of Literature, Science and the Arts


Department of Psychology, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts