Sonya Gunnings-Moton receives Distinguished Alumni Award

November 14, 2011

College of Education Alumni Association President Wendy Darga, right, presents Sonya Gunnings-Moton with the 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award.

Sonya Gunnings-Moton has spent much of her career improving educational opportunities for young people, especially those growing up in under-served or under-resourced communities. She is a faculty member and two-time graduate of the Michigan State University College of Education, which presented her with its prestigious Distinguished Alumni Award on Nov. 11, 2011.

Dr. Gunnings-Moton serves as assistant dean for student support services and recruitment in the college and as an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education.

Her job is to foster the recruitment and retention of under-represented groups for undergraduate and graduate program study. She has done so through a variety of successful partnerships and programs, many of which focus on addressing a critical mission of the college: improving urban education.

Through the Broad Partnership, she created powerful connections with the Detroit Public Schools and established a pipeline of opportunities that help young people from urban areas pursue higher education – and particularly careers in education – at MSU. Today these efforts continue with the Summer High School Scholars program, the Urban Educators Cohort Program and the Urban Immersion Fellowship, which each year exposes dozens of future teachers to the challenges and rewards of teaching in urban environments.

Dr. Gunnings-Moton has also been instrumental in setting up the College of Education’s connections in Chicago Public Schools (where many MSU teacher candidates now spend their internship year), seeking new scholarship opportunities and reshaping curriculum to ensure all our students understand the issues at stake in today’s urban schools. In total, her initiatives have brought more than $7 million in funds to the university.

Dr. Carole Ames, former dean of the College, has stated that “this College of Education owes its urban agenda to Dr. Sonya Gunnings-Moton… She has been the core and fiber of our progress in addressing urban education and social justice.”

Beyond the college, Dr. Gunnings-Moton has served as an executive board member of the Association of Black Psychologists, Midwest regional representative of the Association of Multicultural Counseling and Development of the American Counseling Association, and associate editor of the Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development.