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2022 Award Winner


Allison Swan Dagen, Ph. D.
Assistant Provost for Graduate Academic Affairs
Professor, College of Education and Human Services

The WVU Council for Gender Equity is pleased to announce Dr. Allison Swan Dagen as the 2022 recipient of the Mary Catherine Buswell Award.

The Mary Catherine Buswell Award was established in 1978 to recognize an individual who demonstrates excellence in their field as it relates to the advancement of university women, community and civic activities that serve and advance women, and/or significant pioneering activities that improve the status of women in the WVU community.

Dr. Swan Dagen served as the Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) Director from 2019 to 2021. During that time, due to the pandemic shutdown, the WLI shifted and created a virtual-based network for WLI members to learn, connect, and network. Over those two years, membership in the WLI doubled to include early-career women and more women from regional campuses. Swan Dagen believes that by providing quality learning and networking opportunities, women participating in WLI individually experience a boost in self-efficacy as influencers and leaders who are positioned to make valuable contributions to the efforts and mission of West Virginia University. 

Swan Dagen’s award nomination letter stated, “Under the leadership of Dr. Swan Dagen and the Steering Committee, WLI has evolved to strategically raise the ranks of women leaders at WVU. In her two short years of tenure as WLI Director, Dr. Swan Dagen has made significant strides in expanding access to WLI opportunities, ‘leveled up’ the leadership development activities, spearheaded partnerships to promote women across the WVU community, and amplified the achievements of women leading across the WVU campuses.”

Most recently, Dr. Swan Dagen and colleagues developed a WLI Framework outlining the strategic ways in which WVU’s WLI supports women. A manuscript outlining the framework has been accepted for publication with APA’s Consulting Psychology Journal.

As a Professor in the College of Education and Human Services and Assistant Provost for Graduate Academic Affairs, Swan Dagen’s leadership efforts also focus on WVU’s Academic Transformation in Graduate Education and the West Virginia Public Education Collaborative’s Sparking Early Literacy Growth in West Virginia grant initiative.

Swan Dagen’s leadership extends beyond her roles at West Virginia University. She is an active member of the International Literacy Association and served on the national 25-member committee that developed the Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals (2017). As a Lead Writer, she developed competencies for one of the newest critical standards, “Learner and the Literacy Environment.” Swan Dagen is also the lead co-editor of Best Practices of Literacy Leaders: Keys to School Improvement, 2nd Edition (2020).

As the recipient of the Mary Catherine Buswell Award, Swan Dagen will receive a $1,000 award for travel, supplies, salary supplement, or other use commensurate with WVU policies.