NASPA award honors career of work in the field

Monday, April 17, 2023
Yashwant Prakash Vyas

Yashwant Prakash Vyas, director of UNH’s Aulbani J. Beauregard Center for Equity, Justice, and Freedom, was recognized with the Outstanding Contributions to Student Leadership Programs Award from NASPA’s Student Leadership Programs Knowledge Community (SLPKC) at the organization’s 2023 annual conference in Boston, Massachusetts.

NASPA, an organization representing student affairs administrators in higher education, is the largest association in student affairs with a diverse network of more than 15,000 professionals at 2,100 institutions around the globe.

The Outstanding Contributions to Student Leadership Programs Award honors a professional staff or faculty member’s work at the campus level in the area of student leadership programs. The award recognizes individuals who have made contributions above and beyond the assigned duties of their position and have had a significant impact on student leadership programs at their institution.

“I want to congratulate Yashwant on winning this award. His dedication and passion for student development and leadership are truly admirable,” says Kenneth Holmes, senior vice provost for student life at UNH. “His efforts in promoting equity, inclusion, and social justice have not gone unnoticed, and I want to express my appreciation for his commitment to these crucial issues. In his short time at UNH, he is becoming a role model and mentor to students and others and making a positive impact on the lives of many.”

Vyas was recognized for his collective work at and associated contributions to the field from Texas A&M University, University of Iowa, University of Mississippi, and for his continued work at the University of New Hampshire. 

“Yashwant continues to be a rising star as it relates to building and facilitating initiatives that provide avenues for student growth and development, particularly as it relates to student leadership skills and competencies around allyship, advocacy, diversity, equity, inclusion and justice,” says Nadine Petty, associate vice president and chief diversity officer and interim Title IX coordinator at UNH. “His recognition by NASPA is well-deserved and is a reflection of his unwavering dedication to students and his abilities in the DEIJ arena.”

Vyas also led a number of educational sessions around peer leadership programs, student retention, graduation, leadership development, intercultural competence, inclusive and equitable organizational culture and implicit bias at the conference.

“I am grateful for all the opportunities to complicate the understanding of and approach to leadership by facilitating leadership development with an equity, inclusion, and social justice lens,” Vyas says. “I am consistent in my philosophy and approach whether developing student leadership programs, designing and teaching an academic leadership studies course, leadership development training, or executive leadership development. I am grateful to NASPA, and specifically the Student Leadership Programs Knowledge Community, for recognizing my labor of love with this honor. I am grateful to my students, mentors, and colleagues for their encouragement, appreciation, and continued support.”

Vyas has previously been recognized by NASPA with the NASPA Now Professional Award for Innovation in 2022 and the NASPA Now Professional Award for Inclusion in 2019.