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Partners in diversity Texans know that the strength of our state lies in the rich variety of its people, its geography, its history, and its cultures. At The University of Texas at Austin, we continue to be committed to recognizing and embracing the diversity of cultures and ideas that makes Texas great. Our university, as well as our state, is strengthened by our commitment to the worthy goals of fairness and respect for everyone. Higher education should encourage us to see beyond the insularity of our own particular interests and point of view. To that end, the existence of diversity within our campus community—and tolerance and fairness within our workplace—is indispensable. We simply can’t be at our best without first achieving these goals. Our Division of Diversity and Community Engagement is an important component of the university’s effort to be its best. Our work can be, and should be, among the best in the world. Through academic courses and programs that focus on cultural issues; campus support services for women, underrepresented groups, and persons with disabilities; museums and research centers with ethnic or cultural concentrations; and student organizations that celebrate diversity, the DDCE has enhanced the intellectual life of our campus community and added to the confidence we have in the fairness and equity of our workplace. In the past year, Vice President Greg Vincent and his staff have been especially effective in creating mutually beneficial partnerships that have created an even more diverse culture on our campus and connected the university even more firmly with the diversity we find across our state. These efforts have made the university a stronger institution—a place where the leading students and scholars from across Texas and around the world want to come and flourish in what they do.

The University of Texas at Austin is a university of the first class— a university that is an example to others in the 21st century. We have achieved this level of excellence by creating a disciplined and diverse culture, where differing viewpoints and cultures are respected and shared. Our goal is to continue our pursuit of excellence with a persistent focus on making our outstanding university even better. I applaud the efforts of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement to identify areas of scholarship that are underdeveloped at the university and to take steps to hire faculty who will help diversify the university community. Our core mission of research, teaching, and service is enhanced by a faculty with diverse experience, perspectives, and backgrounds. A more diverse faculty means role models and mentors for a more diverse student population. As well, I applaud DDCE’s work to support students from underrepresented populations and firstgeneration college students. These efforts contribute to the culture of excellence we want here at UT and help ensure the academic success we want our students to achieve. The advancement and promotion of diversity on The University of Texas at Austin campus are central to our strategic vision. It is also central to our mission to serve all Texans; our state’s population is becoming more diverse every year. Our differing backgrounds, cultures, and ways of thinking make this university an exciting place to work and learn and one where excellence is always within reach.

I invite you to read through this report and learn more about what the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement has done in the past year to improve the richness of academic life on our campus. I think you’ll be impressed by the quality and scope of the work it has done.

William Powers, Jr.

Dr. Steven Leslie

President, The University of Texas at Austin

Provost, The University of Texas at Austin


Division of Diversity and Community Engagement

D D C E I M PA C T R eport


Committed to partnership The Division of Diversity and Community Engagement is pleased to present its Impact Report for the 2008–2009 academic year. Our first report was published in 2008, less than a year after the division was formed. That report introduced the units and programs that were brought together under the DDCE portfolio. In this report, we want to demonstrate the impact of our work thus far and highlight the partnerships we have formed in the past two years. Since the division’s launch in 2007, we have partnered with dozens of units, colleges, and departments on campus and many more organizations and individuals beyond The University of Texas at Austin to build a robust portfolio of programs and projects dedicated to creating and supporting diversity and community engagement. When he became president of the university in 2006, President William Powers, Jr., had the foresight to establish diversity as one of his strategic areas for the university. He realized that the student, faculty, and staff population should reflect the increasingly diverse population of the state of Texas. He saw the strengths that academic, ethnic, and cultural diversity bring to campus: Teaching, learning, research, and service are strongest when guided by a diversity of viewpoints and backgrounds. This is reflected in research over the past decade that has suggested educational policies that support student interaction with diverse peers can result in greater student learning, increased interpersonal competencies, greater self-confidence, greater gains in critical thinking, and greater involvement in civic and community service. President Powers also strongly supported UT’s service ethic, rooted in the mission statement of the university. As a result, the university’s community engagement work shares intellectual resources with communities statewide to solve challenging problems. President Powers aligned the university structure and budgets to support diversity and community engagement. In doing so, he created a model for such a division at other universities. It is one that is broad in scope, but reaches out to others to serve as a catalyst for diversity and community engagement in many forms. We hope you see the progress we’ve made and want to continue on this journey with us, a journey set in motion by the university’s core purpose to transform lives for the benefit of society and its core values:

• Learning—A caring community, all of us students, helping one another grow. • Discovery—Expanding knowledge and human understanding. • Freedom—To seek the truth and express it. • Leadership—The will to excel with integrity and the spirit that nothing is impossible. • Individual Opportunity—Many options, diverse people and ideas, one university. • Responsibility—To serve as a catalyst for positive change in Texas and beyond.

Dr. Gregory J. Vincent Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement W. K. Kellogg Professor in Community College Leadership Professor of Law


The Division of Diversity and Community Engagement advances socially just learning and working environments that foster a culture of excellence through diverse people, ideas, and perspectives. We engage in dynamic community-university partnerships designed to transform our lives.

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Table of contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Thematic Faculty Hiring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Dr. Richard Reddick . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Dr. Justin Driver . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Dr. Lok Siu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Dr. Maggie Rivas-Rodríguez . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Community Engagement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 DDCE Faculty Fellow: Dr. Eric Tang . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 VSLC: Service Learning Courses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Project 2009 and the Clinton Global Initiative . . . . . . . . 19 Regional Foundation Library . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Community Incubator in Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 The Excellent 11: DDCE GRAs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Spotlight on TCEP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 DEI: Partners in Diversity Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 University Resource Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 UIL: Celebrating 100 Years . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 DDCE Development: A New Generation of Giving . . . . . . . 34 The Lola Wright Foundation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 DDCE Advisory Council . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Research Project Serves Exonerees . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 DDCE Welcomes UT Elementary School . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Neighborhood Longhorns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 ChemBridge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 SPURS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 University Outreach Centers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 ICUSP: Tapping Potential . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 LCAE: Pursuing Academic Excellence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Gateway Scholars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Preview Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Longhorn Link / McNair Scholars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Services for Students with Disabilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 The Clock Awards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 QPOCA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Gender and Sexuality Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Multicultural Information Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Intellectual Entrepreneurship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 DDCE by the Numbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 Barbara Jordan Honored . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66




Fostering Diversity, Ser ving Texas The Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE) at The University of Texas at Austin is one of the most comprehensive units of its kind in the country. The division was established by President William Powers, Jr. in 2007 to foster a richer, more diverse climate on campus and to “tap into the diversity that our state embodies.” Creating an intellectually and culturally diverse environment that values multicultural perspectives is one of President Powers’ four strategic goals for the university. It is an impressive vision for the institution, and one that requires more than increasing the racial and ethnic diversity of the faculty, staff, and students—although that is crucial. It requires transforming teaching, learning, research, and the climate of the university overall. The payoff for this transformation is great: Not only is diversity important to the state’s future economy, work force, and civic health, it also results in richer scholarship, greater intellectual diversity, and positive educational outcomes for all students. In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that diversity is a “compelling state interest.” This ruling, coupled with the university’s mission to serve the people of Texas, undergirds the work of the DDCE to help ensure that the university is relevant to all people in the state.

CREDITS: Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement Dr. Jennifer W. Maedgen, Associate Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement and Chief of Staff Deb Duval, Director of Communications Managing Editor: Leslie Blair Graphic Designer: Ron Bowdoin Writers: Leslie Blair, Leslie Brouer-Belt, Deb Duval, John Egan, Darryl Ewing, Merrell Foote, Veronica Luna, and Linda Prieto


Photographers: Bret Brookshire, Marsha Miller, Christina Murrey, and DDCE staff members; other photographers as noted. Special thanks to the many DDCE staff who helped us by providing information, contacts, and photographs, and who reviewed the stories included in this report. Copyright © 2010. All rights reserved. Division of Diversity and Community Engagement The University of Texas at Austin

Division of Diversity and Community Engagement

D D C E I M PA C T R eport

Making the Connection Between Diversity and Community Engagement To meet these ambitious goals, it was necessary to align the university’s structure and budgets for the strategic work— a reflection of the university’s long-term commitment to creating a more diverse climate. Thus, the DDCE includes a robust portfolio of units and programs that establish partnerships across campus and communities around the state to • foster and improve the climate of intellectual and cultural diversity, • ensure that all students in the state of Texas have equal access to higher education, • demonstrate and implement best practices related to the recruitment, support, and retention of students, faculty, and staff from populations underrepresented on campus, and • leverage the university’s intellectual resources to collaboratively solve significant problems with communities throughout the state. The units and programs selected to form the division encompass a wide range of work including mental health, elementary and secondary education, and educational policy services, as well as more traditional university functions. Freddie Dixon, Sr., Diversity and Community Engagement Officer, works with local groups under the auspices of the DDCE Community Engagement Center to build and strengthen partnerships between the university and the community.


All were selected for inclusion in DDCE on the basis of their alignment with the goals of the university with regard to diversity and community engagement and their commitment to best practices. In addition, new initiatives were created. Essentially, the strategic and operational responsibilities for diversity and community engagement were combined under one coherent division to more effectively and efficiently meet President Powers’ goals for the institution and to develop partnerships to carry out the work.

The Impact of the DDCE Under the direction of Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, vice president for Diversity and Community Engagement, the DDCE has positively affected diversity across campus, enriched the cultural and intellectual climate of the university, increased the number of underrepresented students in the education pipeline, added ethnically and racially diverse faculty members, expanded areas of scholarship, and reached out to people across the state of Texas. Some of our most crucial work has taken place here in Austin, which is a growing, vibrant city, but one that still has challenges around issues of equity and social justice. Most importantly, DDCE has developed scores of partnerships to help carry out its work. One division alone cannot bring about change—but one division working with colleges, departments, and administrative units across campus and with community partners across the state can. This report is dedicated to those partnerships. As you read through the following pages, you will see evidence of these efforts and best practices, and meet some of the people who are helping to make the changes. The work of DDCE is difficult to distill in a single report, as we are a division that includes four major strands of work, more than 50 programs and projects, dozens of partners, and approximately 300 faculty, staff, and student employees. The entire DDCE staff is committed to ensuring that The University of Texas at Austin remains a university serving all of the people of Texas and is a model for all other universities with regard to intellectual, cultural, and ethnic diversity and community engagement.

Professor Michael Olivas signs his book, Colored Men and Hombres Aquí, at the DDCE Fall Lecture Series.

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Creating a

more diverse campus through Thematic

DDCE’s thematic faculty hiring initiative focuses on partnerships between DDCE, the provost’s office, academic departments, schools, and colleges within The University of Texas at Austin in order to attract and retain faculty in areas of scholarship that are underrepresented within the university. “The university is working to diversify faculty in a number of ways, and the deans and department chairs are taking the lead,” said Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, vice president for Diversity and Community Engagement. “DDCE is supporting and enhancing their efforts.” Vincent notes that through the years, thematic faculty hiring has resulted in more ethnically and culturally diverse faculty members coming to UT, receiving tenure and promotion, enriching the intellectual climate, and diversifying the university community overall. “As more diverse scholarship areas are brought to the university, students who might not have considered UT in the past are attracted to these new areas. Faculty also want to pursue graduate students who are interested in studying the same areas of research,” he explained. DDCE works with the deans, department chairs, and faculty to determine areas of scholarship lacking within their schools and colleges. The identified scholarly areas are not add-ons but are part of each college’s strategic initiatives. By offering lines of funding and helping to identify potential faculty members, DDCE is able to help facilitate the deans’ efforts to strengthen the intellectual diversity of their schools.

Faculty Hires

For example, the Department of Art and Art History has been trying to create a strong program in the arts in the African diaspora over a number of years. The DDCE initiative offered two lines of funding for the Department of Art and Art History’s effort: in 2007–2008 for African art and 2008–2009 for African diaspora. The resultant hires were Nigerian-born Moyo Okediji and Eddie Chambers, a well-known British art critic whose research and curatorial interests lie in the art of the African diaspora. Okediji has taught at Wellesley College and the University of Colorado, Denver, and served as curator of African and Oceanic arts at the Denver Art Museum. Chambers has taught at Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, in Kingston, Jamaica, and at Emory University. Dean Doug Dempster acknowledged that the College of Fine Arts has made steady progress over the years toward hiring a more diverse faculty. However, Dempster said, “DDCE’s thematic hiring initiative gave sharper focus and more resources to this effort,” noting an additional thematic hire was made in the Butler School of Music in addition to the two in the Department of Art and Art History. “These hires are collaborative efforts requiring administrative determination and substantial financial resources from the DDCE, the College of Fine Arts, the Graduate Dean’s Office, and often the provost in order to be successful. This collaborative effort has been working, with the College of Fine Arts now having among the most diverse and gender-balanced faculties at The University of Texas.”

“By using thematic hiring to bring new faculty to the College of Liberal Arts, we’ve been able to attract some world-class talent over the past few years while significantly expanding our areas of study and classroom opportunities for students. This approach has yielded outstanding faculty in such fields as anthropology, Spanish and Portuguese, and sociology and is helping us strengthen our African American scholarship. The College of Liberal Arts remains committed to working with the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement to identify new areas of scholarship where we can recruit new faculty.” —Dean Randy Diehl, College of Liberal Arts 6

Division of Diversity and Community Engagement



“While the College of Fine Arts has made steady progress over many years toward hiring minority faculty members, the DDCE’s thematic hiring initiative gave sharper focus and more resources to this effort. The thematic hires are meant both to recruit faculty of color and to build our curricula and programs in areas that might prove more attractive to students of color, especially African American and Hispanic students. These hires are collaborative efforts requiring administrative determination and substantial financial resources from the DDCE, the College of Fine Arts, the Graduate Dean’s Office, and often the provost in order to be successful. This collaborative effort has been working, with the College of Fine Arts now having among the most diverse and gender-balanced faculties at The University of Texas.” —Dean Doug Dempster, College of Fine Arts

DDCE has also worked with the numerous Centers that focus on interdisciplinary fields of study such as the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies, the Center for Mexican American Studies, and the Center for Asian American Studies (CAAS). The university now has more than 100 tenure and tenure-track African American faculty and a new degreegranting department has been created—the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies. Dr. Madeline Y. Hsu, director of the Center for Asian American Studies, said, “With the support of DDCE, CAAS has hired one faculty at the senior level, Dr. Lok Siu in Anthropology. Recruiting at this level—and bringing to UT a scholar of Dr. Siu’s prominence—would not have been feasible without resources from DDCE for thematic lines.” Hsu elaborated on the importance of recruiting Siu. “Like the other interdisciplinary centers, CAAS works to recruit faculty to UT who may have specializations that do not align neatly with the priorities of traditional departments but who, through interdisciplinary methodologies and innovative research questions, speak to many communities on campus. Dr. Siu serves as a great example with research that shapes the fields not only of her home bases in Asian American Studies and anthropology, but also Latin American, women and gender, and Asian studies.” Another aspect of the thematic hiring initiative is DDCE’s faculty fellows program. These usually are faculty members who are currently integrating teaching, research, service, and community engagement. Some were hired through DDCE’s

thematic hiring activities, and some were not. Their projects have ranged from Dr. Shannon Speed’s Indigenous Studies Initiative to Dr. Cherise Smith’s annual series, Lectures on Art in the Black Diaspora, to Dr. Maggie Rivas-Rodríguez’s oral history project of Latinos and Latinas who served in World War II. DDCE provides support that will enhance their research and community work as they progress toward tenure and promotion. Dr. Vincent sees tangible results from the university’s efforts overall to enrich the campus climate and from DDCE efforts as well. “This year new faculty hires were more diverse than ever, we’ve enrolled the most diverse freshman class ever, and our hires are staying at the university, receiving tenure, getting promoted, and becoming an integral part of the university.”

“With the assistance of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, the School of Architecture has recently hired Talia McCray and Fernando Lara. . . . We are thrilled to have two individuals join our faculty who can provide our school with a better understanding of a crucial component in our quest for excellence. Just as no problem can be solved without all its components, no design challenge can be adequately addressed without the advocacy of all voices.” —Dean Fritz Steiner, School of Architecture

“One of our major mandates is to reflect in our teaching and scholarship the variety of historical experiences that we recognize to be a part of the meaningful past. The Division of Diversity and Community Engagement has provided us very important assistance, largely under its thematic hiring initiative, in enriching our offerings in African and American History and the History of Science. With such support we have been able to broaden our range of courses, teaching perspectives, and faculty, which in turn has strengthened our department as a whole.” — Dr. Alan Tully, Chair, Department of History

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Richard L. Reddick:

determining the role of

UT African American

faculty in the community

Bolstering the world-class reputation of a university may, as a first step, involve increasing its institutional impact right in its own backyard. At UT, researchers like Dr. Richard Reddick are attempting to do just that. “When I was growing up, we could see the UT Tower from my house, but it may have well been in another city, based on our connection with it and its connection with our community,” says Reddick, who grew up in the Dove Springs neighborhood in southeast Austin. He attended Del Valle, Travis, and Reagan high schools in Austin before graduating from Johnston High School with honors in 1990. Among his research interests are two key diversity areas: (1) exploring ways to increase the impact of African American faculty in the community, and understanding the professional and personal challenges of African American faculty as they research and teach in Austin; and (2) examining mentoring relationships between African American students and faculty, and the extent to which those relationships impact academic success.

Dr. Richard Reddick partners with Dr. Kenya Walker, executive director for DDCE’s Pre-College Academic Readiness programs.


Division of Diversity and Community Engagement



“The College of Education has built multiple, very successful partnerships with the DDCE—we’ve worked with them to complete over 10 thematic hires of star faculty nationwide, with part of the financial support for this being provided by the DDCE. We collaborate with their office to develop curriculum and programs for UT Elementary School, as well as middle school reform initiatives that we hope will become a model for all middle schools in AISD.” —Dean Manuel J. Justiz, College of Education

High-profile incidents concerning race, such as the arrest of Harvard University scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., or the closure of several stores in Austin allegedly because of safety concerns during the Texas Relays, which are attended by hundreds of African Americans, spur Dr. Reddick’s qualitative research—phenomenological interviewing—on the role of African American faculty in helping to improve and increase diversity understanding in a community like Austin. “African Americans, whether UT faculty or other professionals, are still dealing with broader societal issues around race,” Reddick says. “Austin is a fascinating laboratory to be in because of its demographics.” Reddick is an assistant professor in the UT College of Education’s Department of Educational Administration and is the coordinator of the master’s program in College and University Student Personnel Administration. He is a faculty affiliate in the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies. Dr. Reddick has co-authored and co-edited three books on the African American family, historically black colleges and universities, and the impact of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling on diversity in American education. He received his doctorate in higher education from Harvard, a master’s degree in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from Harvard, and his undergraduate degree in the Plan II Honors Program from The University of Texas at Austin. Reddick’s research on mentoring relationships between faculty and African American undergraduate students includes examining factors influencing faculty mentorship, the role of formative experiences in professors’ lives in their approach to mentoring, and the advising and counseling approaches used by faculty in mentoring African American undergraduate students. He currently is working with a Pennsylvania State University researcher and colleague to explore the differences in how African American male and female faculty approach mentoring. Reddick says UT President Powers’ 2006 promotion of Dr. Gregory Vincent to vice president for Diversity and Community Engagement has sent a positive message to faculty, students, alumni, and the community at large about the importance of diversity, “where it’s no longer an add-on, but embedded and centralized in the power structure of the university.”

“Diversity is no longer an add-on, but embedded and centralized in the power structure of the university.” — Dr. Richard L. Reddick

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Justin Driver:

leveraging the Diversity of at UT Law School


While discussion about ethnic and gender diversity generally dominates news headlines, The University of Texas School of Law is rich with another dimension of diversity. “We have a strong sense of intellectual diversity here, and that stimulates the academic environment,” says Assistant Professor Justin Driver, who joined the UT School of Law faculty this year and whose principal research interests include constitutional law and the impact of race on U.S. institutions such as the Supreme Court and Congress. “I have students from across the ideological perspective, and I think the academic environment thrives when that’s the case.”


Division of Diversity and Community Engagement



“Recruiting a young star like Justin Driver is an important event in the life of a vibrant academic institution like UT Law. Greg Vincent was a great help at every step of the way. Greg is a member of our faculty, and I have turned to him on a number of occasions. He has always been a great source of counsel and support.” — Dean Larry Sager,

The University of Texas School of Law

Driver is leveraging that diversity of thought in teaching a new UT School of Law course exploring the Reconstruction Amendments that came in the aftermath of the Civil War. Driver has developed the curriculum for this innovative course that examines Supreme Court choices in the Reconstruction Amendments and how those decisions shape our reality today— economically with the abolishment of slavery with the 13th Amendment, socially with the 14th Amendment and its equal protection clauses, and politically with the 15th Amendment and the right to vote provisions. Driver brings an impressive background to UT. He received his undergraduate degree from Brown University, a master’s degree in Teaching from Duke University, and a master’s degree in Modern History from Magdalen College at the University of Oxford, where he studied as a Marshall Scholar. In 2004, he graduated from Harvard Law School, where he was an articles editor and book reviews chair of the Harvard Law Review. Driver served as a law clerk to Judge Merrick B. Garland on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and to Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Stephen Breyer. His Supreme Court clerk experiences shape his research work exploring the Court’s “ability to facilitate racial equality” through interpretation of the equal protection clauses or the voting right provisions over time. Driver’s latest work involves exploring the hypothesis of New York

University Professor Derrick Bell that the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954 was partly an attempt to bolster America’s image in the world during the Cold War than it was about advancing long-term educational opportunity for minority youth. Driver also is beginning work on a project exploring “tokenism,” the practice of making perfunctory or symbolic efforts toward the accomplishment of a goal, such as racial integration. Driver’s interest in diversity issues developed at an early age. He grew up in an all-black neighborhood in southeast Washington, D.C., but rode public transportation to an elementary school in a more affluent neighborhood, which forced him to grapple with issues of race at an early age. Similarly, he says, the UT School of Law has “been on the forefront of thinking about decisions around diversity” because of the 1950 Sweatt v. Painter decision involving the admissions of African Americans to the UT School of Law and the Hopwood v. Texas decision by the Fifth Circuit in 1996 that prevented race from being used as a factor in admissions to achieve diversity. Although the UT School of Law has had a high-profile history with respect to racial diversity, Driver says, “I think people in general, our faculty, and our students are cognizant we’re moving in the right direction, and we’re a far more diverse place today.”

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Lok Siu:


Sense of Self and Community through the Asian Diaspora

When an ancient Greek philosopher was asked where he was from, he reportedly replied, “I am a citizen of the world,” sparking the foundation of “cosmopolitanism,” the idea that all humanity belongs to a single community. At the core of UT researcher Lok Siu’s work is exploration of how Asians are linked through cosmopolitanism and transnationalism, and how Asians dispersed throughout the Americas—through diaspora—share a cultural identity although they live in very different places. “My work focuses on how we can use the concept of diaspora so that we can be more comparative across ethnic groups within the Asian culture, and think about the interaction and intersections between Asian ethnic groups,” including the Chinese, Japanese, South Asians or Indians, Koreans, and Filipinos, says Dr. Siu, an associate professor in the College of Liberal Arts Department of Anthropology. Siu is in her first year at The University of Texas at Austin this fall, working with the Center for Asian American Studies and conducting research through a Dean’s Fellowship. In her current work, Siu draws on experiences from her book Memories of a Future Home: Diasporic Citizenship of Chinese in Panama (2005) and from Asian Diasporas: New Formations, New Conceptions (2007), which she co-edited. Memories of a Future Home examines how diasporic Chinese living in Panama—impacted by cultural influences from their homeland of China or Taiwan juxtaposed against United States influence and Panamanian culture—experience and negotiate their sense of community from three cultural perspectives. “In some cases they were dancing salsa and merengue, speaking English, but eating Chinese food and practicing the cultural rituals of the Chinese,” says Siu, who spent 13 months in Panama researching the project. Siu is working on a new book of essays focused on transnational Asian Americans, which will explore the concept of reverse migration, as Asian Americans, faced with a tough U.S. economy, are traveling back to China in search of employment.

Continuing a research project she started at New York University, Siu also is exploring the notion of Chino Latino restaurants, which are prevalent in New York. The Chino Latino restaurants are a “contact zone” where diverse cultures and communities—Asian, Latino, black, and white—come together to create and experience Chino Latino food and culture. Originally established by Chinese Cubans who settled in the U.S. during the 1960s and 1970s, these restaurants offer both Chinese and Latino food, with the menu written in three languages: English, Chinese, and Spanish. The restaurant workers are Latina/o and Chinese, from either China or Latin America, but the clientele is mixed, with the majority being Latinos from the Hispanic Caribbean. Siu’s research will examine the confluence of cultures within the Chino Latino restaurants and how that melding of cultures influences every aspect of restaurant operations. In her first semester at UT, Siu says she sees “promising indicators that the university is serious about institutional diversity,” including the existence of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, the ethnic diversity apparent at her new faculty orientation, and her involvement on a committee that supports first-generation students at the university.


Division of Diversity and Community Engagement



DDCE Faculty Fellow

Maggie Rivas-Rodríguez: Recording History of Latinos and Latinas “We are a country of lots of different people and it is up to each of us to make sure our history reflects that. If we see omissions, we need to speak up.” — Dr. Maggie Rivas-Rodríguez

The U.S. Latino and Latina World War II Oral History Project started as a relatively modest endeavor—200 oral histories based on interviews with Latinos and Latinas of the World War II generation. Now, 10 years later, Dr. Maggie Rivas-Rodríguez, DDCE faculty fellow and associate professor of Journalism, has overseen the collection of more than 670 interviews, acquired an archive of thousands of historical and more contemporary photographs, and published three books with another in the works. She recently received a one-year grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to extend the project to include interviews with those of the Korean War and Vietnam War generations. It has enabled her to hire a small team of students and staff to systematically collect 45 interviews and open up the new scope of work for volunteers to conduct more interviews beyond that. The team is establishing criteria for these interviews and is now prescreening potential interviewees by phone. She is also working on a grant proposal to archive the photographs in a searchable database.

Three generations of honor: James Castro, Jr., served in the Gulf war; Ladislao Castro served in WWII, and James Castro served in Vietnam. (Photo by Alan K. Davis)

Rivas-Rodríguez said her role as a DDCE faculty fellow “extends the reach of the project to people and groups on campus that it might not otherwise be extended to.”

Dr. Gregory J. Vincent and UT President William Powers, Jr., present Dr. Maggie Rivas-Rodríguez with a special Community Leadership award for the U.S. Latino and Latina World War II Oral History Project.

The project has served as the basis for the Oral History as Journalism class that Rivas-Rodríguez has taught on and off since the project’s inception. Not only has the project provided training for young journalists and photojournalists, but also the students’ stories get used immediately. Although a number of historians have worked on the project during the past 10 years, Rivas-Rodríguez said that oral histories borrow from multiple disciplines—history, sociology, and psychology, for example. “Some of the best history books have been written by journalists,” she said. “Journalism provides an excellent background for such work. You are able to see holes in the stories; you know what questions to ask.” Rivas-Rodríguez’s ultimate goal for the project has always been “to have our country’s history reflect the contributions of Latinos and Latinas. Fifteen percent of this country’s population is Hispanic—you wouldn’t know that by reading the paper or history books.”

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Service & Community

Integral Parts of UT’s Mission and of DDCE

Since its founding in 1883, The University of Texas at Austin has had a rich history of community engagement and service, with service as a key component of its mission. With the launch of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE) in 2007, the university began building on its foundation of engagement in new ways. Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, vice president for Diversity and Community Engagement, is passionate about universitycommunity partnerships. He has studied such partnerships for years and has seen what happens when university faculty, staff, and students collaborate with communities to tackle tough problems—whether related to social justice, land use, the environment, community planning, education, or health. “Universities and communities benefit from their collaborations— they each become stronger; they each see benefits,” he explained.

DDCE has been charged with

1 ensuring that the university is responsive to and positively impacts the surrounding community,

2 ensuring that community engagement remains central to the university’s core academic mission, and

3 serving as a catalyst to create new opportunities for

expanded and more coordinated ties between the university and the community.

According to Vincent, “Through DDCE, the university can ask the community about its needs, bring external perspectives to the table, and then build partnerships to collaboratively develop solutions to address those needs.” The division’s Community Engagement Center (CEC) in east Austin is one way the university is reaching out to the individuals who are most likely to have been underrepresented and underserved within and by the university. By working with well-established east Austin entities such as the African American Men and Boys Harvest Foundation and Ebenezer Baptist Church, Vincent hopes to bring more voices to the table—voices that may not have been heard in the university community before. Other partners include such organizations as the Austin Area Urban


League, Communities in Schools, Skillpoint Alliance, and the Texas Diversity Council. Michael Lofton is the executive director of the African American Men and Boys Harvest Foundation. The foundation sponsors monthly African American Men and Boys Conferences in four school districts and hosts workshops that help youth with career development needs and character-building skills. The foundation has been working on a framework to create a model to close the achievement gap. DDCE provides in-kind and financial support to the foundation as well as intellectual resources needed to carry out the work. Lofton is most grateful for the student and faculty volunteers who have given their time and ideas to the award-winning foundation. Lofton said, “Dr. Vincent has demonstrated UT’s utmost desire, and that is to give back to the community in which it resides. It is this type of institutional support that fosters growth in a community, produces high school graduates, and most of all saves lives.” The CEC now has a new director— Dr. Shannon Speed, assistant vice president for community engagement. Speed, who is Chickasaw and an indigenous studies scholar, is also an associate professor of anthropology. She sees another facet to the center’s goal of supporting respectful, mutually beneficial engagements between UT and diverse communities beyond its walls, and that involves working to address inequality and increase social justice.

Dr. Shannon Speed

Speed explains that the Community Engagement Incubator is one way UT works to address inequality in the Austin area. “The incubator helps us foster and sustain direct collaborative research and pedagogy efforts between university faculty, students, and community organizations through projects that advance social change,” she said. Recent examples include the Community Organizer Training Series and the Workers Defense Project Construction Industry Survey. The Community Engagement Grants program is part of the Incubator project, offering small grants to meet the needs of community organizations for specific projects or needs.

Division of Diversity and Community Engagement

“There can be no greater public endeavor than the effort to build and sustain a diverse community. When persons of varying backgrounds and cultures strive together toward common ideals, then that pursuit provides—at the same time—both the best defense against prejudice, and the best hope for new societal innovations. The Austin Area Urban League is honored and proud to join with The University of Texas in this important work.” —Jeffrey Richard, Community Partner

President and CEO, Austin Area Urban League

The CEC is just one aspect of the DDCE’s community engagement work. Community engagement is an essential feature of many DDCE programs, whether it involves reaching out to K–12 students through services provided by Neighborhood Longhorns, University Interscholastic League, and University Outreach Centers or it involves the Hogg Foundation mental health advocacy initiatives. “The university provides new opportunities and knowledge to people across the state,” said Vincent. “In turn, Texans give UT the support that a flagship research university needs. It is up to us to carry out our mission of research, teaching, and service to the fullest to retain their trust. That concept is key in our community engagement efforts.”

View Interscholastic League PVIL: Prairie Celebrated in February

DDCE Faculty Fellow

Eric Tang

Professor, Researcher, Community Organizer Dr. Eric Tang is drawing on his 10 years as community organizer and his research experience as he takes on a faculty fellow appointment with the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE). A visiting assistant professor in African and African American Studies and the Center for Asian American Studies, Tang has just begun working with the DDCE’s Community Engagement Incubator project. Tang explained his work with the Community Engagement Incubator. “The main task I’ll have is to support community groups that are already doing fantastic work, but help them figure out how the university could collaborate on some specific piece of research, training, or convening—some project that they may not have the capacity to do on their own.” Another recent example was the incubator’s work with the Workers Defense Project on its report examining the construction industry in Austin. The report revealed that Austin’s is among the most hazardous in the country, and that those who bear the brunt of the dangers are immigrant workers. The Community Engagement Incubator provided support for the project, and it helped involve UT faculty and graduate students in the study. “The university is interested in having faculty find ways to directly impact community projects and problems in an efficient and meaningful way,” said Tang. “And that is what the DDCE is trying to do with the incubator project—find and support projects that faculty can make an impact on.” Working with the Community Engagement Incubator, Tang will also help identify emerging projects that need help getting off the ground. “We may be able to help support them with space, faculty expertise, data, and other forms of in-kind support. We will let them know the center is available to them as a resource.” One such project is the Community Organizing Training Series, a collaboration between UT and several community-based organizations in Austin that are interested in training their members in the methods of community organizing.

Edward Roby, former athletic director in Austin ISD; Choquette Peterson, interim director of the Multicultural Information Center; and Jack Bellinger, retired coach and lifetime member of PVIL Coaches Association, get together at the Black Faculty and Staff Association’s annual Black History Month program. The program was held at DDCE’s Community Engagement Center and highlighted the many PVIL documents, photographs, and memorabilia now permanently located in the center. For more than 40 years, PVIL served as the governing body for Texas’ African American high schools. In 1965, the University Interscholastic League opened league membership to all public schools and PVIL began merging with that organization. At its peak, the PVIL enrolled 500 schools. Famous former PVIL students include Congresswoman Barbara Jordan and football players Gene Upshaw (Oakland Raiders) and Charley Taylor (Washington Redskins).

Tang sees community organizing as a social science in its own right. “You need to do a couple of things in scholarship and community organizing that are very similar. In both, you are tasked with diagnosing a problem and theorizing a solution,” he said. “Theory and method are critical to both fields.” “In my former career I worked alongside people developing solutions collectively; as a professor you tend to do those things more individually. The interesting and remarkable thing about the Community Engagement Center is that it allows me to work collaboratively again with community members.”

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VSLC Strives to Help Create Meaningful Academic Service Learning Courses for Students, Community

While fellow students at The University of Texas at Austin were interning in places like New York City or were lounging at the beach, graduate student Rian Carkhum was getting an up-close view of Ghana, an African nation that gained its independence only 52 years ago. From late May to late June 2009, Carkhum was enrolled in “Ghana—Community and Social Development,” a Maymester course taught by Dr. Dorie Gilbert, associate professor in the School of Social Work. Through volunteer projects with non-governmental agencies, schools, and community-based organizations, students in this cross-listed course not only learn about but also actively participate in community and social development projects focused on education, health care, micro-financing, engineering technology, and youth empowerment. A unique aspect of the course is that UT student groups work alongside Ghanaian university students to carry out the service learning projects, which are shortterm, high-impact, and sustainable projects implemented during week three of the four-week program. Carkhum—a student in UT’s Education Policy and Planning Program—was assigned to a youth empowerment group that worked with administrators at Ashaiman Senior High School to create a long-term plan to meet the counseling and career guidance needs for the school’s 600 students. According to Gilbert, “The course content dovetails with the nature of community service in three critical ways: 1) UT and Ghanaian students’ learning is enhanced, 2) small-scale community needs are met, and 3) students are able to critically reflect upon their experience of contributing to sustainable change.”


“It was a life-changing experience,” said Carkhum, a graduate research assistant in the UT Division of Diversity and Community Engagement’s Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence. “Going to Ghana was never about what we could teach them or the projects we could do. In my opinion, my time in Ghana was about listening and learning.” Life-changing experiences like Carkhum’s serve as the foundation of the university’s academic service learning courses, which integrate community service, academic learning, and civic learning to prepare students for living and working in a diverse world. Topics of the university’s nearly 50 academic service learning courses range from nonprofit consulting to sustainable development to the Texas juvenile justice system. Dr. Steven Moore, professor of Architecture and Planning, was an early adopter of academic service learning courses— he has taught service learning courses in the School of Architecture for five years. This past summer in Advanced Architectural Studio Design, 15 students participated in the design and construction of sustainable, green, and affordable housing in east Austin through the Alley Flat Initiative.

Division of Diversity and Community Engagement



“Students come to understand their work not as abstract decision making . . . but as concrete problem solving for real people with real names and real problems.” — Dr. Steven Moore, Professor of Architecture and Planning According to Moore, “Students come to understand their work not as abstract decision making about visual forms, but as concrete problem solving for real people with real names and real problems.” The Volunteer and Service Learning Center (VSLC) within the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement is leading the effort to achieve President William Powers’ goal of offering 100 academic service learning courses across various disciplines at the university. The VSLC established the criteria for “certified” courses. Academic service learning is “starting to get a foothold at UT. I think it’s a wonderful trend,” said Michele Deitch, an adjunct professor in criminal justice at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and one of 50 faculty members involved in service learning. Unlike traditional internships, academic service learning courses allow faculty to be fully engaged in work their students are doing outside the classroom, according to Deitch. Since the fall of 2008, a handful of graduate students—studying public affairs, law, social work, education, journalism, and community and regional planning—have participated each semester in Deitch’s cross-listed course on the Texas juvenile justice system. Students are placed at understaffed, underfunded organizations such as the Texas Youth Commission and Travis County Juvenile Court to undertake major research projects. Deitch said those students gain a nearly microscopic look at the real-world issues facing juvenile justice in Texas and, in many cases, are able to help change the system. “I love, love, love this class. It makes all the sense in the world to me,” said Deitch, adding that some students have told her “this is the way graduate education ought to be.”

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When Dr. Lanese Aggrey, director of academic service learning at the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, came to the university in early 2008, only three classes carried the academic service learning designation. Her office has worked to establish criteria for the classes and fuel interest in service learning. Aggrey’s office has hosted gatherings four times each academic year for current faculty who are teaching designated courses and those who are interested in creating them. She said her goal for 2009–2010 “is to help solidify and strengthen the existing courses as well as to expand the number of faculty recognized for teaching academic service learning courses.” With backing from President Powers and encouragement from the academic service learning office, 47 recognized courses were available during the spring semester of 2009. Among the participants were students and faculty in communications, business, engineering, social work, public affairs, and theater. Academic service learning courses “marry” classroom curriculum and community service, according to Aggrey. In this context, “community” refers to something as narrow as a city neighborhood or as broad as a nation. Combining classroom studies with real-life, service-driven opportunities transforms learning into something much more concrete than reading textbooks or completing homework assignments, according to Aggrey. Each semester, undergraduate students in Professor Kathy Edwards’ two organizational behavior courses in the UT McCombs School of Business volunteer for nonprofit organizations; this academic service learning assignment


makes up 20 percent of a student’s grade. The students are divided into five-member teams; each team picks a nonprofit that will receive at least eight hours of every student’s time. Beneficiaries of the volunteerism performed by Dr. Edwards’ students include AIDS Services of Austin, Austin Habitat for Humanity, the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. In October 2008, for instance, a team of students from one of Dr. Edwards’ classes processed 5,000 pounds of food for the food bank. “They actually get in there, roll up their sleeves and help,” Edwards said. However, the students’ mission goes beyond helping. The primary task: Observe the organizational behavior of the nonprofit where they’re volunteering. Yet Edwards’ students also learn about leadership, teamwork— and themselves. Classroom presentations about the projects, along with group and individual assessments, help determine the grade for each student. “They really enjoy it,” Edwards said of the volunteer program. “It makes them feel like they’re doing something that matters.”

Division of Diversity and Community Engagement



Calling The University of Texas at Austin “one of America’s great public universities,” President Bill Clinton said, “With a strong commitment to diversity, tradition of service, and its easy accessibility to most of the country, we felt UT Austin was an ideal choice for this year’s meeting.” — Bill Clinton,

42nd President of the United States

Project 2009 Partners with Clinton Global Initiative This year marked the 10th anniversary of The Project, one of the largest one-day student- and community-run service events in the nation. Established in 1999 by the Volunteer and Service Learning Center (VSLC), The Project is a collaborative effort between The University of Texas at Austin, Keep Austin Beautiful, and a number of city, community, and campus organizations. In celebration of the volunteer spirit and student commitment at The University of Texas at Austin, the university was selected as the site of the second annual Clinton Global Initiative-University (CGI-U) conference. This three-day national leadership conference for college students and college presidents was purposely scheduled in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of The Project. To coincide with the conference, Project 2009 became a two-day event with 50 service projects carried out over Saturday and Sunday throughout the Rosewood community in east Austin. Student volunteers painted homes, churches, and businesses, planted trees and shrubs, cleared out weeds and garbage, and removed graffiti. Calling The University of Texas at Austin “one of America’s great public universities,” President Bill Clinton said, “With a strong commitment to diversity, tradition of service, and its easy accessibility to most of the country, we felt UT Austin was an ideal choice for this year’s meeting.”

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Regional Foundation Library

expanding Community Connections

Since 1962 the Regional Foundation Library (RFL) has provided personalized service for those seeking grants and funding for nonprofits throughout the state. The RFL began as a dream of Dr. Robert L. Sutherland, the first president of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, an administrative unit of The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Sutherland recognized the critical importance of providing information and facilitating open communication between tax-exempt entities seeking funds and the growing number of grant-makers and philanthropists, especially those in Texas. In keeping with its original commitment to make information accessible to all, the library is open to everyone, free of charge. During more than four decades in operation, the library has come to serve those seeking all types of grants, in addition to those related to mental health. Its patrons include representatives of nonprofit programs and services, educational groups, charitable organizations, and faith-based programs, as well as individuals ranging from pre-college students to individual artists. In 2008, the library moved from the Hogg Foundation offices and became part of DDCE’s Community Engagement Center (CEC).

Knowledgeable Staff Key to Library Success Since the move, the RFL’s staff—Allison Supancic and Ellen Moutos-Lee—have continued to promote the highest standards in philanthropy by serving as a bridge between the grant-seeking and the grant-making communities. The pair, who have a combined total of 35 years of experience at the RFL, value the personalized services they are able to offer both novice and seasoned grant-seekers. They also assist organizations with new nonprofit formation, board development, and strategic planning, and offer workshops and presentations to community groups off-site. The RFL was the fifth special collection of its kind in the country— now there are more than 400 such collections in the country. However, the RFL is only one of three that maintain a substantial archive. Supancic said, “Our archive allows nonprofits to look historically at the funding patterns of different grant-making organizations. For example, someone can go back and see what the Ford Foundation has funded over the past 40 years.” She explained the archive’s importance because “grant interests are cyclical, much like fashion.” As well, the archive has an important role in the university because of UT’s interest in philanthropy and nonprofit management as fields of study. For example, an LBJ School of Public Affairs student used the RFL archive to prepare a thesis based on Robert Wood Johnson’s health policy over time. Supancic and Moutos-Lee stay current on what is happening in the philanthropy world through a number of professional organizations such as the American Association of Grant Professionals, the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action, and the Council on Foundations. Their personal relationship with patrons is often evident in the advice sought by regular visitors, often officers with nonprofit organizations. “Some use us as a sounding board,” said Supancic. “It is a nice compliment to us, but also gives us a glimpse into how their minds are working.”

The RFL recently relocated to the DDCE’s Community Engagement Center (CEC) in the Marvin C. Griffin Building in east Austin.


Division of Diversity and Community Engagement

“I wish you could have heard some of the conversation on the ride home [from the RFL workshop]. Doors were opened and lights came on during that time with you! I will be ever grateful.” —Dean Diana Garland,

Baylor University, School of Social Work

The library has served more than 1,700 patrons during the 2008–2009 academic year. It averages 10–12 patrons a day, with usually increased traffic on Fridays. The peak months for use are October and February due to increased use by classes at the university. These are the sessions Supancic clearly enjoys as she is able to orient students to the world of grant seeking and help them find sources of funding for research projects they would like to undertake or funding for such things as traveling to present their research. In fact, she says that over the past year, nearly all of the DDCE’s McNair Scholars have visited the library. She mused that professors often will bring in a class of students and realize that they could be using the library to find new sources of funding for their own projects. The RFL also provides valuable services to underrepresented public school students in the Austin area. In addition to 1,700 adult patrons, 320 secondary school students from LBJ High School, Mendez Middle School, Connelly High School in Pflugerville, and American YouthWorks have taken part in workshops at the library. Two factors have changed recent patterns of use at the library. One is the current economy. Supancic says that nonprofit staff visitors have become much more creative and are looking at diversifying sources of funding. “You just cannot rely on single donor sources now,” she explained. The other factor that has affected library use is increased “off the street” traffic now that the library has moved to its east Austin location. Its previous location on Lake Austin Blvd. was “off the beaten path,” noted Supancic. People came specifically to look at funding resources at the RFL. Now, however, she is getting a number of visitors who come in to use the computers. She attributes this to the location’s proximity to city branch libraries, which have begun limiting patrons’ use of computers to a certain amount of time. The new RFL visitors are often working on job hunting and job application materials. “We are definitely fulfilling our community engagement mission,” Supancic said.

Community Incubator in Action: Proyecto Defensa Laboral DDCE’s Community Engagement Center (CEC) and students and faculty from The University of Texas at Austin partnered with the Workers Defense Project/Proyecto Defensa Laboral on a collaborative research project that examined Austin’s construction industry working conditions. The final report, Building Austin, Building Injustice, was released the same week that three construction workers were killed when a scaffold collapsed near the 12th floor of a high-rise apartment complex under construction near campus. The report details how commonplace such incidents are in Texas. For example, in 2007 more construction workers died in Texas than in any other state in the country. That year, 142 construction workers died on the job in Texas. California, the state with the secondhighest number of deaths, had only about half as many deaths—81. The Workers Defense Project is a community-based organization that promotes fair working conditions for Austin’s low-wage workers. Dr. Shannon Speed, assistant vice president and director of the Community Engagement Center, believes the project is an ideal example of the kind of collaborative research partnership that DDCE supports through the Community Engagement Incubator. “The need for the research was identified by the community organization itself,” said Speed. “The PDL (Proyecto Defensa Laboral) conceived and carried out the project to achieve social justice and empowerment for construction workers. UT faculty members from several departments contributed by guiding the research design and overseeing the research, and UT graduate and undergraduate students gained valuable research skills as they gathered data for the Building Austin, Building Injustice study.” The report may be downloaded at

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DDCE GRAs for 2008–2009 Make Their Mark on Division

DDCE has an incredibly talented, bright group of Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs) who carry out a wide variety of tasks in the division as they work on their doctorate degrees. Many of the GRAs work in the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence (LCAE) where they tutor and mentor first-generation college students and students from underrepresented populations. Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, vice president for Diversity and Community Engagement, touts the GRAs every chance he gets. “Our graduate students are among the best and brightest on campus. It’s enormously gratifying for me to see these students advancing our understanding of the rapidly changing educational landscape and supporting an environment of inclusive excellence here at UT. They are excellent role models for young undergraduates as they begin their academic careers.”

DDCE 2009–2010 GRAs gather on the steps of the Main Building. Back (left to right): Daniel Spikes, Darren D. Kelly, Taryn Ozuna, Spencer Platt Middle: Melissa Martinez, Rian Carkhum, Nigel Pierce, Tracy Arambula-Turner Front: Kiersten Ferguson, Rose Martinez Not Pictured: Drew Adelman, Nicolina Calfa, and Beth Bukoski


Division of Diversity and Community Engagement



“It’s enormously gratifying for me to see these students advancing our understanding of the rapidly changing educational landscape and supporting an environment of inclusive excellence here at UT. They are excellent role models for undergraduates as they begin their academic careers.” — Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement

Tracy Arambula-Turner, MED, Boston College Tracy Arambula-Turner grew up in an Illinois farming community and went on to obtain a degree in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master’s degree in Elementary Education from Boston College. Here at UT she is working on a doctorate in Higher Education Administration. Arambula-Turner’s interests lie in factors that influence rates of Latina/o college degree attainment. She is currently conducting a qualitative study that examines the first-year experiences of Latino males on the college campus. She explained, “Specifically I am attempting to understand what forms of social capital contribute to their matriculation and retention.” Arambula-Turner first began working for DDCE’s Dr. Sherri Sanders on the Barbara Jordan Statue Project and Communities in Schools in January 2008. That August she moved to LCAE as a GRA where she mentors students in the Gateway Scholars Program. “After working on the Barbara Jordan Statue Project, seeing the project come to fruition was a remarkable feeling,” reported Arambula-Turner. “The unveiling ceremony was exquisite, and seeing the biography I had written while working on the project cast in bronze was an indescribable feeling.” Arambula-Turner should also feel remarkable about the honors she has received in the past two years. She was an American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education graduate student fellow for 2009 and 2010 and the program chair-elect for 2010. She has been awarded the David Bruton Graduate College Continuing Fellowship for 2009–2010 and the Teresa Lozano Long Endowed Fellowship, also for 2009–2010.

Drew Adelman, MA, University of Maryland Formerly from Tucson, Arizona, Drew Adelman earned a BA in American Government and Spanish at the University of Virginia. He went on to the University of Maryland for a master’s degree in Counseling and Personnel Service. Adelman has worked in DDCE’s Diversity Education Institute (DEI) for one year. He was also a research intern for the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health this past summer. He is currently in the PhD program in Counseling Psychology. His research interests include a focus on psychological assessment, neuropsychological basis for identity, and the intersection of multiple identities specifically dealing with race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender and gender identity. He hopes to combine a career as a professor and advocate but also maintain a private practice to help clients. Adelman is one of two GRAs who are dedicated to the work of the Diversity Education Institute. Adelman says one of the most surprising things he has found during his work and research is the variety of ways individuals cope with discrimination. “People can be so resilient in the face of adversity. That has been uplifting to discover when I only expected to find hopelessness,” he said. Adelman is co-author of Competing Selves: Negotiating the Intersection of Spiritual and Sexual Identities, to be published soon in the journal Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. He was awarded a Graduate School Recruitment Fellowship last year.

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Nicolina Calfa, MC, Arizona State University Nicolina Calfa grew up in Salt Lake City but attended Carroll College in Helena, Montana, and Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, before landing in Austin to work on a doctorate in Counseling Psychology. Calfa’s bachelor’s degree was in Psychology and Sociology. Her master’s degree is in Counseling. Calfa is now one of two GRAs who work with the Diversity Education Institute, and has been with the program for two years. “Although we are a small unit within DDCE, we have made great accomplishments during that time, such as developing internal and external partners to promote diversity education on the UT campus and in the greater Austin community,” she said. Calfa noted there is a strong need and desire for diversity training in the Austin community. “This is particularly important for diversity educators and mental health professionals, given that completion of multicultural coursework may not always translate into displayed multicultural competence.” Calfa’s doctoral research involves examining the multicultural competencies of school counselors and exploring the impact of a diversity educator series on an educator’s skill and comfort level in providing diversity education. Upon graduation, she plans to specialize in pediatric psychology, working with children coping with chronic medical conditions.

Rian Carkhum, MEd, The University of Texas at Austin Michigan native Rian Carkhum can rattle off facts about the education pipeline and underrepresented students at a moment’s notice and seems to know everything about the students with whom she works. Carkhum is working on a doctorate in Education Policy and Planning and has been with DDCE for three years now, working with the Preview program and Gateway Scholars in the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence (LCAE). “The work we do daily is memorable,” she says. “Each day is unique in the ways we support and challenge students to be successful.” Dr. Ge Chen, who oversees much of the day-to-day work of the LCAE, said, “Rian always amazes me with her passion to advocate and serve underrepresented students. I always learn a lot just by listening to her insights and perspectives on the current educational system and policies that impact equal access and opportunity as well as success of underrepresented student populations.” Carkhum received her BS degree from Central Michigan University and her master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from UT. She plans on completing her doctorate in 2012. Carkhum has many professional areas of interest including urban education policy, ability grouping, and African American female achievement and success. She would like to work at a regional education agency and ultimately for the U.S. Department of Education.

Kiersten Ferguson, MEd, The University of Texas at Austin It turns out to be DDCE’s good fortune that Kiersten Ferguson fell in love with Austin while an undergraduate at Notre Dame. Ferguson explained, “ I received a Stake fellowship from Notre Dame for research in Austin during the summer of 2000, and I completely fell in love with the city and the people. After spending time on campus, I knew that I definitely wanted to pursue graduate school at UT.” Ferguson began working with Dr. Gregory Vincent in 2006. She is now a senior GRA and is working on a doctorate in Higher Education Administration, with a doctoral portfolio in Women’s and Gender Studies. She was honored with DDCE’s Rose Martinez Student Excellence Award in May for her outstanding efforts helping Dr. Sherri Sanders coordinate the Barbara Jordan Statue unveiling and her work with the Gender Equity Task Force on campus. Ferguson also received the Bruton Continuing Fellowship in 2008, given to students on the basis of their accomplishments since entering graduate school. Ferguson continues to work on critical projects with Sanders, the deputy to Vice President Vincent. “Her ability to translate theory into practice, analyze the dynamics of a meeting, or motivate individuals to think more critically constantly amazes me,” said Sanders.


Division of Diversity and Community Engagement



Darren D. Kelly, MA, The University of Texas at Austin A native of Southern California, Darren Kelly earned a BS degree in Commerce from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia before coming to UT to earn a master’s degree in Kinesiology with a specialization in Sports Management. Kelly is now working on a doctorate in Sports Management and working as a GRA in the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence. His research is focused on organizational behavior and the sports culture of Texas athletics. He is surprised about how far UT has come in terms of diversity within sports over the past 30 years. “UT had the last all-white national championship football team in 1969, but now currently boasts very diverse athletic teams in multiple sports,” said Kelly. Kelly works closely with Dr. Leonard Moore and other LCAE staff to help students navigate the challenges of their firstyear experience at UT. “We have awesome students with unrealized potential,” said Kelly. “And it is very rewarding to see them succeed at what they want to accomplish in their college careers.”

Melissa Martinez, MEd, The University of Texas at Brownsville Melissa Martinez’s dissertation research is a topic close to her heart. She grew up in Brownsville, Texas, and obtained both her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and master’s degree in Counseling from The University of Texas at Brownsville. Her research focuses on the college choice process of Latina/o students from the South Texas border region. Martinez will graduate in 2010 but until then is working in the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence, her third position within the DDCE since 2007. According to Martinez, she has been overwhelmed by the tremendous support she received with regard to her growth as a scholar and a professional in higher education from Dr. Vincent and all of her previous immediate supervisors in DDCE, including Dr. Kevin Foster, Dr. Ted Gordon, and Dr. Leonard Moore. She said, “I believe it is a reflection of this support that I was granted the Alexander Caswell Ellis Fellowship in Educational Administration for the 2008–2009 academic school year.”

Rose Martinez, MPAFF, The University of Texas at Austin Originally from Corpus Christi, Rose Martinez has the distinct honor of being the very first GRA hired in DDCE. She has worked with Dr. Vincent, Dr. Angela Valenzuela, and Dr. Ge Chen. The modest Martinez also has the honor of having a DDCE award named for her—the Rose Martinez Student Excellence Award—which she deemed a “humbling experience.” Martinez plans to graduate in December 2009 with a doctorate in Higher Education Administration. Her mixed-method research has focused on factors affecting community college transfer student access to a public flagship university. Martinez has compiled 10 years of descriptive statistics on the application, admission, and transfer rates of two- and four-year transfer students, conducted interviews with experts in admissions, and conducted an archival review of publications on admissions criteria over the past 10 years. As freshman admission has become more competitive, it has also created a narrower pipeline for transfer students to the university, and Martinez has examined many issues related to the pipeline. Martinez has received numerous honors for her research in the past two years. She received a $5,000 grant from the University of Southern California Center for Enrollment Research, Policy and Practice (USC CERPP), as well as the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education (TACHE) Graduate Fellowship and was selected to participate in the National Community College Hispanic Council Leadership Fellows Program. Her research findings have been included in Inside Higher Education, published on the USC CERPP Web site, and presented at the American Education Research Association annual meeting. There is no doubt Martinez will meet her goal of attaining a position in higher education where she can positively affect college transfer student recruitment, advising, financial aid, and retention efforts.

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Nigel Pierce, MS, Johns Hopkins University Nigel Pierce brought a wealth of experience working with students when he came to DDCE in 2008 as a GRA in the University Outreach Centers program. Pierce previously taught second and third grades and taught children with autism in Prince George’s County Public Schools—the same school district where he grew up and one of the largest school systems in the nation. He received his bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and Special Education from Bowie State University and his master’s degree in School Administration and Supervision from the Johns Hopkins University. Pierce is currently in the doctoral program for Autism and Developmental Disabilities. One of the most memorable events during his tenure in DDCE has been the opportunity to attend the Black Graduate Student Association Conference in Houston. “The BGSA Conference was outstanding,” said Pierce. “I met graduate students from across the country who are striving for academic excellence in their field. Many of these students were passionate, articulate, and carried themselves very professionally.” Pierce received the Elisa Costilla Endowed Scholarship in Education Award in 2008, which is given to graduate students in Special Education. He will serve this year as the departmental Graduate Student Association representative.

Spencer Platt, MS, University of Dayton Spencer Platt, who hails from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, came to The University of Texas after completing his bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of South Carolina and master’s degree in Higher Education Administration at the University of Dayton. He came to UT to work with the Division of Housing and Food Services before deciding to get a doctorate. Platt’s research focuses on the Black male doctoral student. He said, “I find the ways that various researchers explain the academic achievement gap interesting.” Platt is currently working on a study with Dr. Richard Reddick on successful graduates of high-poverty, high-minority high schools. Platt is currently working as a GRA in LCAE following two previous DDCE positions. He served as project director for the COBRA (Community of Brothers in Revolutionary Alliance) project in the Institute for Community, University, and School Partnerships (ICUSP) program, as a teaching assistant to Dr. Vincent, and as a researcher in Thematic Initiatives and Community Engagement. Said ICUSP director Dr. Kevin Foster, “During a time of newness and growth of the ICUSP program, Spencer showed tremendous commitment to our program and to our kids, not only helping design and guide the overall program, but personally leading individual chapters as well.”

Daniel Spikes, MEd, Stephen F. Austin State University It’s all about the children for Neighborhood Longhorn GRA Daniel Spikes, who came to UT from East Texas. This Educational Policy and Planning doctoral student is focused on attaining a professional position where he can help children the most—whether as a professor, researcher, or in a state or federal agency. The most interesting part of Spikes’ research revolves around social policies that impact education policies. “I’ve been surprised at how many of our education policies are context-neutral when, in fact, context matters when it comes to achievement,” he said. Spikes waxes enthusiastic about two Neighborhood Longhorn events: the Scholarship Banquet and the Soccer Math Challenge. He was asked to produce a PowerPoint presentation for the banquet. “It’s something that will always stick with me. As I put together photos of students, with smiles on their faces, enjoying all of the NLP events from the previous year. . . . Those photos told me all I needed to know about how much of an impact NLP and all of DDCE makes on children.” Spikes is now president of the Graduate Student Assembly and was honored as the Black Graduate Student Association’s Member of the Year. He was also recently selected to be a Barbara L. Jackson Scholar.


Division of Diversity and Community Engagement





“The lifeblood of our state’s future is education. The UT Texas Center for Education Policy is the rare place that cultivates fresh thinking on how to solve and adjust to the challenges of providing high-caliber education to a brilliantly diverse state. TCEP forms a needed bridge between theory and practice, today and tomorrow. Texas is and will be a better place because of this dynamic institution.” — Ben Barnes,

Former Lieutenant Governor of Texas and TCEP Advisory Board Member

Since 2006, under the direction of Dr. Angela Valenzuela, DDCE associate vice president for School Partnerships and professor in Curriculum and Instruction, the Texas Center for Education Policy (TCEP) promotes equity and excellence in public elementary, secondary, and higher education. TCEP does this through various means, including the development of research-based proposals, policy seminars, collaborations, partnerships, and programmatic activities.

worked with House members of the education committees, the Mexican American and Black Legislative Caucuses, as well as several Senators, on more than 35 bills.

The Center’s mission is to work in service and in partnership with local, state, national, and international education communities by bringing research to bear on the policy discussions of the day. During the 81st Session of the 2009 biennial Texas State Legislature, the Center’s research in the areas of assessment and accountability, student grade promotion, bilingual education, English language learners, teacher quality, parental involvement, and dropout prevention was requested by several legislators. Throughout the session, the Center

Most notably, the Center’s research helped inform House Bill 3, a reform of Texas’ assessment and accountability system, high school graduation, and college readiness requirements. The Center’s research played a role in the state’s removal of the high stakes attached to student test performance that determined promotion decisions for third-grade children. This shift in state policy draws from student-centered research and five consecutive sessions of work by a number of people including State Representative Dora Olivo and Dr. Valenzuela. During the 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2009 legislative sessions, State Representative Dora Olivo drew from Valenzuela’s research on the detrimental effects of high-stakes testing on poor, minority, English language learner youth and the benefits of multiple compensatory criteria in assessment. This research translated into proposed legislation by Rep. Olivo in the 77th, 78th, 79th, 80th, and 81st sessions of the legislature that called for the use of a multiple-criteria, holistic review of students when making high-stakes decisions on promotion and retention. These criteria include course grades, coursework performance, teacher and administrator evaluations, and parent consent, in addition to standardized test scores. The proposed legislation also called for a reform of accelerated instruction programs to provide interventions that are focused on content- and researchbased academic support rather than test-based preparation when a student does not perform satisfactorily on an assessment. According to Dr. Valenzuela, “The passage of HB 3’s Multiple Compensatory Criteria has the potential to impact 355,214 third-grade children in Texas who may benefit from the use of the holistic assessment and promotion policy informed by research.”

As part of the DDCE Fall Lecture Series, Dr. Angela Valenzuela discusses research on immigration, human rights, and binational relations, conducted while she was a Fulbright Scholar in Mexico.

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Diversity Education Institute and the University Police Department

Tackle Diversity Training Together

In a partnership based on true collaboration, DDCE and the University of Texas Police Department (UTPD) joined forces to tailor state-mandated diversity training to meet the special needs of UT officers. Sixty-four officers and 45 civilian staff went through the training in groups of 10 to 20. According to Dr. Michele Guzmán, assistant vice president for Diversity Education Initiatives, the group developed a day-long workshop that made the requisite Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOSE) curriculum more innovative and engaging. Guzmán said, “We looked at how we bring our experiences and socializations to our colleagues and our communities. We looked at generational issues as well as issues around gender and sexual orientation. Sexual orientation was not included in the TCLEOSE curriculum, but it is especially important to address on a college campus.” Shane Whalley, LSMW, education coordinator for UT’s Gender and Sexuality Center (also a unit in DDCE), co-facilitated the UTPD workshops. Even as a workshop leader, Whalley valued the interactions with officers during the sessions. “I had my own judgments and misconceptions about police officers,” Whalley said. “It was an honor to be in their space and hear their stories.”

Part of the workshop, co-facilitated by two UTPD officers, explored generational differences. As in most work settings, staff range in age from young officers in their 20s to officers who have been in law enforcement for 30 years or more. The officers represent multiple generations, from millennials to baby boomers. Each generation brings different experiences and attitudes to the job. For example, younger officers are generally more comfortable with technology and accustomed to multitasking. Whalley said, “We talked about what it meant to be a baby boomer, a Gen X-er, a millennial. If only one generation is truly getting their needs met, then that isn’t satisfactory.” Although much of the discussion focused on dynamics within the department, the workshop also addressed the dynamics in place when officers and students of different generations interact. According to Guzmán, a hallmark of all of DEI trainings is selfreflection and discussion. For example, all participants complete an identity grid that asks them to reflect on areas where they feel power and privilege and where they feel unsafe. There was much discussion in the UTPD workshop around power and privilege. Guzmán said, “It is difficult for many of us to see where we have power and privilege and others do not. It’s also not a straightforward issue. Your privilege in one area may be constrained by your disadvantage in another. It’s complex.” For the officers, there was much discussion around the stereotypes associated with the power of their positions. Guzmán explained that officers are often concerned by the way they are perceived. “For example, parents tell kids that they are going to tell the police if the kids don’t behave. The officers disliked that police are not seen as a positive resource for kids,” she said.

Dr. Michele Guzmán led the diversity training at UTPD offices. In addition to her DDCE appointment, Dr. Guzmán is also a clinical associate professor in Educational Psychology.


Division of Diversity and Community Engagement



“I was very pleased with the content and instructors of this class. Dr. Guzmán and her staff developed a great course that was current and enlightening for all who attended.” — Robert Dahlstrom, Chief of Police, UTPD Guzmán and Whalley reported that with regard to one-day workshop sessions, awareness is often the desired outcome. “We hope participants will leave with greater awareness of their own social and cultural programming and learn about the experiences of others. The DEI trainings are based on the awareness-knowledge-skills model developed within multicultural counseling over the last 25 years.” She defines those terms briefly: “Awareness is seeing your own world view and biases. Knowledge is familiarity with other groups’ cultural norms, practices, and terminology. Skills concern how to communicate effectively, adapt practices and intervention, and interact in a welcoming manner.” Guzmán admits that skills are difficult for participants to learn in one workshop. UT police officers were required to submit scenarios about a challenging diversity experience they had encountered. At the end of the diversity workshop, they were asked how they might react differently in a similar experience, now that they had been exposed to some new information. “The case scenarios were a way to help develop skills,” she said. Whalley said another desired outcome of all DEI training is helping participants learn that if someone with whom they are interacting is having strong feelings, those feelings need to be acknowledged, giving the example of an officer arresting someone who felt they had been treated unfairly by police in a previous situation. “It is important to validate that person’s concern and recognize their feelings. This is not a hard skill, but we’re often not taught that skill,” said Whalley. “The reward of that skill far outweighs the scariness of doing it.” Chief of Police Robert Dahlstrom said, “I have been in law enforcement for 32 years. Many classes are required and you go each year and get the same information from 10 years ago. Our purpose of working with DEI on this class was to get away from that, to get some fresh ideas with new directions. I was very pleased with the content and instructors of this class. Dr. Guzmán and her staff developed a great course that was current and enlightening for all who attended.” Of the DEI training, Captain Julie Gillespie said, “As campus law enforcement officers, we deal with a very specific and diverse community. The education our officers received is invaluable.” She also said that UTPD continues to try and recruit a diverse police force. “Through their education, our current employees understand the value of a diverse work group and embrace their own personal growth. They can be our best recruiters!”

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University Resource Groups

Help Cultivate Communication and Diversity

Since William Powers, Jr. assumed the presidency of The University of Texas at Austin in February 2006, fostering diversity has been among his top priorities. Across campus, that commitment to diversity has exhibited itself in many ways, including establishment of two new University Resource Groups (URGs). At the university, the URGs are the Asian/Asian American Faculty and Staff Association, the Black Faculty and Staff Association, the Hispanic Faculty/Staff Association, and the Pride and Equity Faculty Staff Association. Linda Millstone, associate vice president for institutional equity and workforce diversity in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement and head of the university’s Equal Opportunity Services, said these four groups are vital threads in the social fabric of the university and are conduits in cultivating communication between the faculty and staff and the central administration. She said URGs, known in the private sector as affinity groups, promote fellowship, networking, and professional development. “These groups symbolize the university’s interest in and desire to have a diverse, inclusive working environment,” Millstone said. “It’s not only about hiring, it’s about retention.” Although they weren’t previously called URGs, two of the groups—the Black and Hispanic associations—already existed when Millstone concluded that the university could benefit from formally setting up private sector-style diversity groups. She teamed up with Human Resources Services to propose creation of the URG system, with backing from President Powers and respective vice presidents. Millstone’s office supplies administrative support for the URGs, along with financial help, assistance with the university’s procurement and payment processes, Web guidance, time off for paid URG members to attend meetings, and information about the URGs in staff orientation materials. “It’s important to note that URG membership is open to everyone,” Millstone said.


Dr. Ge Chen said establishment of the Asian/Asian American Faculty and Staff Association (AAAFSA) has boosted the visibility of Asian and Asian American faculty and staff across UT and filled a longtime diversity void on campus. She is co-founder and president of the association and is assistant vice president for assessment in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. Chen said the existence of the AAAFSA indicates that the “voices, needs, identities, experiences, and talents” of the Asian and Asian American community are recognized. Those voices are heard in a variety of ways. For instance, Chen said, meetings were held after the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007 to address the safety of Asian and Asian American faculty, staff, and students at UT. The gunman was an Asian American student at Virginia Tech; many Asians and Asian Americans feared a backlash following the shooting spree. Furthermore, the Asian/Asian American Faculty and Staff Association has set up an awards program to honor outstanding faculty, staff, and students, and has developed ties to UT student groups. Additionally, the association has networked with other URGs. Chen said the AAAFSA has direct access to senior administrators when the group needs resources or consultations and has an open door to “provide feedback or advice to the administration.” Juanita Rodríguez, treasurer of the Hispanic Faculty/Staff Association (HFSA), said she appreciates the administration’s support of her URG. For instance, she said the university allows her to take time away from her job as an administrative associate in the Computer Services unit of the McCombs School of Business to work on unpaid HFSA business.

Division of Diversity and Community Engagement



“One of the great joys of working at our university is the everyday opportunity to interact with colleagues of many diverse cultures, backgrounds, and voices. Our University Resource Groups support smaller communities within the large university community and celebrate UT’s individual character. Their unique contributions help make us a more caring and engaged learning environment.” — William Powers, Jr.

President, The University of Texas at Austin

The HFSA is perhaps best known for sponsoring an annual holiday assistance program. Last year, the program provided turkeys and other food to more than 300 university employees for their holiday dinners. Another major project for the association is a scholarship fund for UT students, called the Hispanic Faculty/Staff Association–Jamail/Long Challenge Grant Scholarship. The scholarships are multi-year awards initially given to incoming freshmen and processed through the Texas Exes. “The association is my other familia,” Rodríguez said. “I feel very proud to be associated with HFSA.” Members of the Black Faculty and Staff Association (BFSA) also feel a sense of family. “BFSA is an important way for staff and faculty of color to make sense and to navigate this huge university. BFSA provides unique perspectives, cultural expression, and different human capital,” said Malik Crowder, vice president of the association and a hall coordinator at Jester Hall. Some of the activities of BFSA include the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. luncheon and keynote address, a yearly scholarship contest, monthly professional development lunches, and the annual Black History Month and Juneteenth celebrations. Looking ahead, BFSA leaders hope to increase faculty and staff participation. “Our goal is to work more closely with the Austin and Central Texas community,” Crowder said. The organization is reaching out by participating in community service projects such as Coats for Kids and the American Cancer Society’s East Austin Relay for Life. Working with the community is one of the goals of the Pride and Equity Faculty Staff Association as well. Lindsey Schell, chair of the association, said her group has forged ties with

local organizations—such as Atticus Circle, Equality Texas, and the Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce—that serve lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, and their allies (LGBTA). Schell said the LGBTA community now enjoys an organized voice on campus as a designated URG. “There were several previous and short-lived efforts to organize before the URG structure was in place, but having URG status has provided the stability we needed to continue for the longer term and represent the interests of LGBTA faculty and staff,” said Schell, a librarian at the university. “The URG designation lends legitimacy to our interests and concerns, acknowledging that we are a welcome partner in the university community.” Among those concerns is the lack of benefits for same-sex partners of UT faculty and staff. That harms faculty and staff recruitment and retention, advocates say. “We have developed a strong portfolio of advocacy, education, and social support for the LGBTA members of our community, hosting monthly events and doing community outreach,” Schell said. As for the university’s URG portfolio, Millstone plans to add groups for military veterans and women. Both of those segments of the campus have needs that must be addressed by UT, she said. Among veterans, “there is a need for connection, support, and university resources to transition to private life,” Millstone said. As for women, their concerns include work-life balance, elder care, child care, and wellness. “I continue to believe in the mission of the URGs and the need for open communication to central administration of issues that affect faculty and staff,” Millstone said.

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Celebrates 100 Years

At age 100, the University Interscholastic League (UIL) is still breaking records, making memories, and challenging Texas students to do their best. The organization’s centennial celebration got under way June 14–16 with the Elite 100 Student Leadership Conference. The conference brought together the best and brightest students in the state to share their ideas with the UIL Legislative Council about how the league can continue its high standard of excellence in the future. “The Elite 100 Conference is more than just a chance for our youth to learn from us. It is a chance for us to learn from them,” said Dr. Charles Breithaupt, executive director of the UIL. “This conference allows us the unique opportunity to interact directly with the students from all over the state to formulate new ideas about how the UIL can continue to thrive in the next century.” Students and council members alike ceremoniously wielded gavels to kick off the centennial year with a promise toward the future. “I really do feel like we had a role in shaping the future of the UIL,” said Corpus Christi Calallen High School student Sean Ponce. “I hope the improvements do make a difference, and I hope that will help the UIL to progress.” In 1909, the UIL was created by The University of Texas at Austin through the Extension Bureau to provide leadership and guidance to public school debate and athletics teachers. Because of UIL’s strong commitment to community engagement and working with schools throughout Texas, the league became part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement in 2007. Over time, the league has grown into the largest interschool organization of its kind in the world and has been witness to and part of many national historical events of the past century.


Division of Diversity and Community Engagement



“Not only did the conference celebrate the centennial of the UIL, but maybe more importantly, it brought together the best and brightest from across Texas who left a significant mark on the vision and the mission of the premier student activities organization in the United States for the next century.” — Dr. Curtis Culwell,

Superintendent, Garland ISD, and Member of Legislative Council

In 1940, music contests were suspended due to World War II. The first women’s sport, basketball, was added in 1951, decades prior to Title IX. And in 1954, well before any court orders, the State Executive Committee ruled that desegregated public schools could participate in UIL competitions, and later opened membership to all schools regardless of race. Although not every year brings such historic significance, each new season produces surprises and firsts, such as this last school year. Cancer survivor and senior drum major Alec Gramann’s wish was to perform at the 2008 UIL State Marching Band Contest. Through the volunteer coordination of UIL State Director of Music Richard Floyd and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central & South Texas, he got his wish. On November 3, Gramann and his Austin LBJ Jaguar Band performed in front of a crowd of over 10,000 and received a standing ovation for the powerful exhibition. Houston Nimitz’s Brittney Griner broke several records against Pflugerville at the 2009 UIL Girls State Basketball Tournament— none was more impressive than being the first girl ever to dunk in a Texas state basketball tournament. Griner’s Cougars may have lost to Mansfield Summit in the championship game, but her athletic feat stands as a monumental stepping-stone in the evolution of girls’ high school athletics.

20 regional track meets, and the state track meet had to be rescheduled. Thanks to the efforts of the UIL staff and its schools, all events were conducted. “We are very proud to be a part of the UIL’s ample history and are excited to share in the celebration of our 100th anniversary with our students and member schools,” said Dr. Breithaupt. State championship events will serve as the backdrop for many of the planned celebrations for the UIL’s anniversary. Special uniform patches and decals have been prepared to commemorate the occasion, along with redesigned medals for state champions. The Centennial Celebration Web site was launched in July with photo galleries, champion archives, and a timeline of the UIL’s 100-year history. By visiting, readers can keep track of the latest news and events, vote for All-Century Teams, and share their stories about how the UIL positively influenced and shaped their lives. With the legacy of a century behind them, the UIL Legislative Council and staff look forward to contributing to another century of excellence ahead.

No event was bigger in the 2008–2009 school year than on April 29 when the UIL postponed all activities due to the H1N1 virus outbreak, otherwise known as swine flu. For the first time ever, schools were not allowed to participate in extracurricular activities statewide. UIL directors and staff worked fervently with schools to reschedule previously postponed, or in some cases cancelled, events. Everything, including the State Academic Meet, the

5A Division I Champs, Lewisville High School (1996)

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A New Generation

of Philanthropists Supports DDCE Work

Lee Bagan is part of a new generation of University of Texas at Austin philanthropists— alumni who began their philanthropy efforts as students at UT Austin. Bagan was concerned about the student cost for testing that determines the existence of a learning disability. The average cost for a comprehensive assessment, which is not covered by most health insurance plans, is $1,300. Many students could not afford to pay for such tests out of their own pockets. Before graduating from the university with a master of arts degree in Middle Eastern Studies in 2007, he raised approximately $26,000 to establish an endowment that supports funding for a comprehensive assessment of students suspected of having learning disabilities. Bagan first thought of the idea to raise money for assessments in the fall of 2005, when he was the director of the Student Government’s Services for Students with Disabilities Agency (SSD). Bagan began his fundraising efforts by setting up a table on campus and talking to people about the issues faced by students with disabilities. Soon, three other students joined the effort, and this small coalition began a letter-writing campaign to solicit funds from alumni, faculty, staff, and friends. Current Student Government President Liam O’Rourke was one of the three students. O’Rourke enlisted the help of a Houston law firm, Klitsas & Vercher, P.C., to assist with the project. “The firm actually closed their office for an entire day to make calls on our behalf,” said O’Rourke.

This advisory committee will continue to raise funds for the endowment and sponsor an event to increase awareness on campus and in the community. Krista Schutz-Hampton, the director of Services for Students with Disabilities, says, “We are honored to collaborate with student leaders to implement Mr. Bagan’s vision of access to a college education for all students, ensuring that a student with a disability would be allowed equal opportunity to achieve their dream of a degree from The University of Texas at Austin.” Bagan’s legacy will live on in this endowment, providing muchneeded testing and services to hundreds of students to come. He is an inspiration to other students who wish to give back to their community, and will now realize that they do not have to wait until after graduation to do so.

Lee Bagan Today

“Through this experience, I saw firsthand the kindness, devotion, and generosity of the UT student body,” Bagan says. “I am completely convinced that there are very few places on this earth where a random guy can sit with a cup and raise $26,000. This could never have happened if UT students did not love this university and care about the well-being of their colleagues.” The Lee Bagan Endowment for Students with Disabilities is now an established endowment at The University of Texas at Austin. This endowment was created “for students, by students.” Recently, an advisory committee was established, comprised of Austin and national community leaders, student leaders in Student Government, the Texas Cowboys, the Friars Society, and members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternities.


UT alum and philanthropist Lee Bagan (far left) is now a civil-service intelligence specialist deployed in Al-Anbar province, Iraq. Bagan was recently recognized by the Marine Corps for “expert consultation in support of military operations.” Photo by Spc. Michael J. MacLeod/1st BCT, 82nd Abn. Div. PAO.

Division of Diversity and Community Engagement

The Lola Wright Foundation The Division of Diversity and Community Engagement recently received a generous gift from the Lola Wright Foundation to provide computer and technology equipment in its Community Engagement Center located in east Austin. Thanks to this gift, the Community Engagement Center is able to provide east Austin residents with convenient and accessible computer access at no charge. The Lola Wright Foundation was incorporated in 1954, founded by Ms. Johnnie Wright in memory of her mother. The Lola Wright Foundation has provided gifts to organizations in the Austin area for more than 50 years, strengthening local social service organizations by responding to emerging community needs. The Foundation has been a long-time supporter of the Greater East Austin Youth Association, Caritas, the Capital Area Food Bank, Hospice Austin, and Any Baby Can. Travis County District Judge Wilford Flowers, an unassuming man known for his integrity and fairness, is the president of the Lola Wright Foundation board of directors. Judge Flowers clearly enjoys his volunteer position with the foundation. “It’s gratifying to be involved with a group of individuals who are positively impacting community needs and improving lives through the funds provided by the Foundation,” he said. Judge Flowers’ work with the Foundation is a change of pace from his career in the criminal justice system. Flowers became a judge on October 1, 1987, and shortly thereafter became a board member of the Lola Wright Foundation. “I was fortunate when I was invited to join the board,” said Flowers, who has since been appointed a lifetime member of the Lola Wright Foundation board. Over the past 20 years, the Lola Wright Foundation board has responded to the changing needs within the community. “With the advent of gang issues, we saw the rise of grant applications to address this challenge. We then began to receive funding requests focusing on assisting children in crises,” he explained. The Foundation’s current collaboration with UT Austin’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement—through its Community Engagement Center— is one more example of the Lola Wright Foundation’s consistent ability to form effective partnerships to help meet local community needs.

DDCE Advisory Council

Building Relationships to Achieve the Mission The University of Texas at Austin seeks to establish itself as a national leader in the areas of diversity and community engagement. The 17 community leaders that comprise the DDCE Advisory Council generously volunteer their time to secure the necessary financial resources to advance the Division’s vision. Through Advisory Council members’ active efforts as advocates for the Division and its strategic initiatives, long-term partnerships are being developed statewide, nationally, and internationally. UT alumnus Hector DeLeon serves as chair of the advisory council. DeLeon has served the university in a number of capacities—he was a member of the Commission of 125 and president of Texas Exes. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Law School Foundation. DeLeon is past chair of the College of Education and the College of Law advisory councils. “My service on the advisory council is sparked by a deep and abiding commitment to the mission of The University of Texas to provide a world-class education to those fortunate enough to be part of the UT campus,” said DeLeon. “An integral part of any world-class education is diversity in the curriculum offered and in the student body. The quality of education made available on the UT campus is enhanced by the diversity of its faculty and student population.” This team of dedicated ambassadors serves in an advisory function to Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, vice president for Diversity and Community Engagement. “What is impressive about this group of individuals is the breadth of their knowledge around diversity and community engagement issues and their commitment to making the world a more equitable place,” said Dr. Vincent. “They are not content with the status quo, and each has made an impact for the betterment of society.” Ms. Sylvia Acevedo

Dr. Sharon Justice

Austin, TX

Austin, TX

Mr. John A. Adkins

Dr. Marcus Martin

Houston, TX

Dallas, TX

Mr. Byron Anderson

Mr. Howard D. Nirken

Houston, TX

Austin, TX

Ms. Claire Babineaux-Fontenot

Mr. Liam O’Rourke (Ex Officio)

Bentonville, AR

Austin, TX

Mr. Stephen C. Beasley

Senior Pastor Joseph C. Parker, Jr.

Houston, TX

Austin, TX

Ms. Carla Ann Blumberg

Mr. Keshav Rajagopalan

Austin, TX

Austin, TX

Mr. Hector DeLeon (Chair)

Dr. Garrett W. Scales, Jr.

Austin, TX

Austin, TX

Ms. Tamla Groce

Mr. Robert E. Shook, III

Houston, TX

Austin, TX

Dr. James L. Hill

Ms. Carole L. Zoom!

Austin, TX

Portland, OR

Mr. Jodie Jiles Houston, TX

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H O G G F O U N D AT I O N f o r M E N TA L H E A LT H

The Hogg Foundation:

Reaching Out to Improve

Mental Health of All Texans For nearly 70 years, the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health has been blazing trails across Texas to promote mental health, thanks to the extraordinary vision and philanthropy of Miss Ima Hogg and her brothers. In 2008–2009, the foundation continued its innovative work as part of the DDCE portfolio, but under the direction of a new executive director, Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr.

The foundation awarded the grants in response to recommendations made in a strategic plan prepared by the Joint City/ County Commission on Children. The commission issued the plan to improve children’s mental health after leading an 18-month community-wide planning process funded by the Hogg Foundation.

After taking the helm of the Hogg Foundation in August 2008, Martinez led the development of a strategic plan that will drive the foundation’s work over the next three years. The foundation’s priorities are interwoven into a thoughtful strategy for improving mental health for all Texans and establishing partnerships with organizations across the state.

Workforce Development and Cultural Competency

At the core of its work, the foundation promotes mental health in Texas through grants, scholarships, policy analysis and research, and public outreach and education. “By addressing key issues such as consumer and family involvement, integrated health care, cultural competency, and workforce shortages, we’re also helping to reduce the stigma of mental illness,” Martinez said. “In the past year, the foundation already has made significant progress in many of these strategic funding areas.”

Mental Health Services for 10,000 Houston-Area Children and Youth

In what is believed to be the first statewide program of its kind, the foundation has committed up to $1 million over three years for a scholarship program to narrow the gap between the need for Spanish-language mental health services in Texas and the availability of trained professionals to meet those needs. The foundation awarded 51 full-tuition scholarships to bilingual graduate students of social work from the Fall 2008 through the Fall 2009 semesters. Recipients must attend one of 11 Texas graduate schools of social work that are accredited or pending accreditation by the National Council on Social Work Education. The scholarships cover full tuition and required fees for recipients, who must be fluent in Spanish and English and agree to work in Texas after graduation providing mental health services for a period equal to the time frame of the scholarship.

An estimated 10,000 children and youth in high-need areas of Houston and Harris County will receive mental health services in the next three years through a $7.8 million grant initiative funded by the Hogg Foundation. The eight grants awarded to community programs involve 27 nonprofit and government agencies in the Houston area and are funded by an endowment established by Miss Ima Hogg before she died in 1975. The endowment may only be used for mental health services for children, youth, and their families in Houston and Harris County. The latest round of grants will fund mental health promotion, prevention, early identification and intervention, and treatment services in schools and community settings such as day care centers and transitional living shelters. 36

(Left-right) Gwen Emmett, Dr. Octavio Martinez (Hogg Foundation Executive Director), Dr. Steven Schnee (Executive Director of MHMRA of Harris County), and Stephen Williams (Director of the Houston Health and Human Services Department) were all speakers at a September awards function.

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“To be a part of a premier research university is a unique position for a foundation focused on mental health and elevates our position in Texas and at the national level.” — Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr.

Executive Director, Hogg Foundation for Mental Health

Scholarship recipient Guadalupe Arvizo was a social worker in Dallas before entering graduate school at The University of Texas at Arlington. She knows timely treatment is most effective for people in crisis, but waiting lists for services are much longer for people who speak languages other than English. “I used to buy into the myth that Latinos don’t seek counseling services, but the reality is that the language barrier is an obstacle that must be overcome,” she said.

Integrated Health Care In 2006 the foundation launched a statewide three-year, $2.6 million grant program to implement and evaluate the collaborative care model of integrated health care, which improves people’s health by treating physical and behavioral illnesses together.

The foundation also is hosting a professional networking group for African American mental health professionals in the Austin area to support professional development, diversity, and growth of the behavioral health workforce in Texas. About 30 people attended the group’s first meeting in April 2009.

In 2008 the foundation hosted a two-day statewide conference on integrated health care that attracted hundreds of consumers, service providers, educators, and policy makers. More than 50 national, state, and local health care experts, providers, and consumers spoke on three key topic areas: best practices; benefits for consumers, providers, employers, and insurers; and next steps to promote integrated health care in Texas.

Consumer and Family Involvement

Most recently, the foundation awarded a $259,092 grant to help accelerate and expand integrated health care in Texas by forming a statewide learning community of health care providers.

For the first time, the foundation has hired two liaisons— Stephany Bryan and Tammy Heinz—to bring the voices of consumers of mental health services and their families to the foundation’s strategic planning, grant-making, and policy activities. The liaisons’ roles are unique among philanthropic organizations and gained national attention when the foundation posted the positions. The foundation received applications from more than 150 people across the United States, from as far away as New York and California. “Stephany and Tammy bring unique perspectives and invaluable insights about what’s needed to improve mental health services and systems in Texas,” said Martinez. “Their knowledge and experiences with mental health consumers and family members, systems of care, policies, and issues will benefit the foundation’s work and the state as a whole.”

Largely as a result of the foundation’s work in this area, staff was invited to testify before House and Senate committees during the 81st session of the Texas Legislature. The Legislature passed House Bill 2196 to create the first statewide work group on integrated health care in Texas, and foundation staff will serve on the work group.

Academic Research of Mental Health In 2009 the foundation initiated a new grant program to encourage academic research of mental health issues in Texas, with an emphasis on diversity and consumer and family involvement. Ten tenure-track assistant professors had their proposals selected, from a field of 35, and received nearly $150,000 in one-year grants. The research projects cover a variety of topics, such as mental health care preferences of Iraqi war veterans, the impact of the economic crisis on depression among elderly Korean immigrants, and potential links between childhood obesity and mental health.

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Dr. Mary Newsome, assistant professor and researcher in the Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at Baylor College of Medicine, is studying why some at-risk youth who grow up in stressful conditions such as violence, poverty, and abuse have greater resiliency than others in the same environment. “This topic has important implications for adolescents at risk of mental health disorders and poor outcomes in educational achievement and social integration,” Newsome said. “Greater understanding of characteristics associated with resilience in at-risk youth could lead to more effective services and ultimately, more successful outcomes for these youth.” In another project, Dr. Kimberly Booker, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and Philosophy at Texas Woman’s University, and colleague Dr. Angela Mitchell are assessing psychological needs and behavioral difficulties of adolescents in disciplinary alternative education programs. The study is being done in partnership with the Dallas Independent School District. “We hope to shed light on behavioral and mental health barriers to adolescents being successful in school,” Booker said. “Our focus on the vulnerable alternative education population has particular importance, considering these students’ increased potential for academic failure and dropping out.”

Making a Difference in the Mental Health Arena The five strands of work reported here are just a sample of the activities on which the Hogg Foundation is now focusing. They contribute to Martinez’s long-term goals to promote mental health for all Texans, spark innovative mental health programs and services, and erase the stigma of mental illness across Texas. Having Texas’ flagship university as home base will help the foundation achieve those goals. “To be a part of a premier research university is a unique position for a foundation focused on mental health and elevates our position in Texas and at the national level,” Martinez said.

DDCE’s Hogg Foundation Grant Helps Wrongfully Convicted Get Mental Health Care For nearly three hours, the men testify alone or in small groups before the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee. Most are middle-aged. All but one are black or Latino. Their calm, matter-of-fact voices hold the attention of lawmakers and lobbyists, law officers and prosecutors, defense lawyers and advocates. They talk of years wasted, lives ruined, and hardships suffered after wrongful convictions in Texas courts for violent crimes they didn’t commit. Each has since been proven innocent by DNA testing and released from prison. The men are accompanied by Dr. Jaimie Page, an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Arlington. Page started the school’s Exoneree Project in 2008 to study the mental health needs of people who have been wrongfully convicted and identify supports and services they need after leaving prison. Her groundbreaking research and policy work recently received a grant of $80,990 from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health. The impact of Page’s work has been profound, prompting new laws in 2009 that provide exonerees with higher compensation and more social services, including mental health care. She also worked with legislators, advocacy groups, community partners, and defense attorneys to pass laws that establish legal standards for police investigations to help prevent wrongful convictions in the future. Texas leads the nation in exonerations, with 40 people proven innocent through DNA testing as of April 2009. Exonerees typically experience


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“We need a reintegration program, similar to the services parolees get. Simple things like IDs, a place to stay, a job, food, health services. Exonerees don’t have that.” — Charles Chatman, Exoneree

stress, shame, anxiety, anger, helplessness, isolation, and often violence and trauma while incarcerated. Yet they walk out of prison with nothing—no counseling, medical services, money, identification, food, housing, or job placement assistance.

“The day I was released, I had nowhere to go. That was my biggest fear,” he said. “When I walked out of the jailhouse, the only thing I owned was what was on my back. No money, nowhere to go, no way to provide for myself, no food, no nothing.”

Charles Chatman, exonerated and released at the age of 47, tells the committee he was convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to 99 years when he was 20.

Keith Turner tells lawmakers he was 22 when convicted of rape. After 20 years in prison, he was paroled in 1989 and found jobs to support his family through a state work program for parolees. But after being exonerated by DNA testing in 2005, he no longer qualifies for the program. Now he can’t find work because his criminal record still shows his arrest and conviction, even though he has been proven innocent.

“I was denied the opportunity to learn basic skills for living. I don’t know how to manage money, I don’t have an education, I don’t have a work history or references. I didn’t even know how to operate a cell phone when I got out,” he said. “We need a reintegration program, similar to the services parolees get. Simple things like IDs, a place to stay, a job, food, health services. Exonerees don’t have that.” Ronald Taylor tells legislators he was arrested for rape in 1993, sent to prison, and exonerated by DNA testing in 2007. While in prison, he developed diabetes and high blood pressure, likely due to trauma and stress. He takes insulin three times a day; one vial costs $130 and lasts seven to 10 days. “When they let me go, there were no doctors available for me. Diabetes is life-threatening, so the judge forced the county to give me medication for a while but when that was gone I couldn’t get services, period. I still don’t have any services,” he said.

“Hearing these men’s stories was a life-changing experience,” said Page. “You might think that once they’re released, they should be happy and things are fine. But they experience new levels of trauma and mental health needs. I was frankly shocked to find that men who have committed rapes and murders and are paroled get a whole list of services from the state, but people who are innocent and have lost a majority of their lives get nothing.” Editor’s Note: Since this story was written, the Texas Legislature passed new laws to address many of the issues presented by exonerees during the 2009 session.

Nationally, the average age of exonerees at the time of incarceration is 26. The average time served is 12 years. Page said most wrongful convictions are due to false identifications, higher arrest rates for men of color, errors by law enforcement officers, faulty interrogations, and forensic mistakes. Johnnie Lindsey tells Senate committee members his employer submitted his timecard to prove he was at work and couldn’t have committed the rape he was charged with. Lindsey’s blood type didn’t match the attacker’s. Yet he spent nearly 26 years in prison before being exonerated by DNA testing in 2008.

Texas Senator Rodney Ellis (left) looks on as an exoneree speaks during a press conference. (Photo: Clay Graham)

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UT Elementary Shares Best Practices

“Growing up in my family, we did not discuss going to college. At UT Elementary, my daughters now have been introduced to all things Longhorn. But it’s not just the name or the uniforms that the kids wear. It’s the regular involvement of UT and the high expectations and examples that their teachers set. Now, college is a part of our daily family discussions.” — David Crist, UT Elementary School Parent

The University of Texas Elementary School (UTES) is now officially part of the DDCE portfolio. If you have ever visited the school, located in east Austin, you know that it is an exciting place that positively affects its students, their families, and the wider community in a profound way. Founding principal and CEO Dr. Ramona Treviño successfully guides the school in connecting research from the university to practice in the classroom. In addition to partnering with UT faculty to provide one of the most cutting-edge, innovative programs in elementary education today, the school has dozens of community partners—individuals and organizations—that support and enhance its programs. Principal Melissa Chavez is proud of the school’s accomplishments, teachers, and students, and rightly so. Last spring, UTES earned the highly coveted Exemplary rating from the Texas Education Agency. It was one of only three schools in east Austin to earn the Exemplary rating, which is based on outstanding performance on the Texas Academic Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test. Also last year, the school’s mission to disseminate best practices to the wider education community has become a reality. The Urban Education Pilot Program, a collaboration among UTES, UT Austin’s College of Education, and the Austin Independent School District, prepares pre-service teachers for the unique challenges they will face in urban schools. The program is made possible with the support of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, the RGK Foundation, the Powell Foundation, and individual donors Suzan and Julius Glickman. “With the support of the DDCE, the pilot program launched this year. With it, we are building on what we have learned in our first six years and taking advantage of our role as a demonstration site for research-based practices,” said Treviño. 40

Twenty-one students from the UT College of Education are participating in the first cohort of the Urban Education Pilot Program. The UT students take specific sections of required education courses that have been adapted by participating UT faculty to reflect the best practices used at UTES. The students are assigned to UT Elementary School, Metz Elementary, or Govalle Elementary for their field experiences. Preceding the start of Austin ISD’s 2008–2009 academic year, UTES teachers provided training to cooperating teachers and principals at Metz and Govalle. UTES staff serve as mentors to both the UT students and the staff at Metz and Govalle. UT Elementary faculty and staff have also just completed a best-practices manual that will be used as a textbook for future groups of UT students in the program. Amber Rector, a senior in the College of Education, said, “If I weren’t a part of this cohort, I would be missing useful intervention strategies . . . . I am able to apply what I’ve learned to help each individual child reach their goals. I will leave this program much more knowledgeable about approaches to intervention for urban students than my peers in other cohorts who are missing out on these strategies.” Angela Worley, a kindergarten teacher at Govalle Elementary, sees firsthand how the UT students are implementing the powerful experience and training they receive. “The response that the Urban Education Pilot Project is receiving from the east Austin community is evident throughout our campus,” she said. “You will see student interns collaboratively communicating with parents and families, in order to set higher standards for student achievement. The interns at Govalle Elementary have gone beyond the student teaching experience—they have built strong, meaningful relationships with parents, students, and faculty, who will help mentor them in their future teaching careers.” In public schools throughout Texas, there can be a disconnection between what teachers learn in college and what they actually use in the classroom. A major objective of the Urban Education Pilot Program is to bridge that gap between theory and practice. “It’s a good learning experience for everybody, all the way around,” said Worley. “The teachers learn from it; the UT professors learn from it. I think it’s incredibly valuable for professors to come into our classrooms, rather than just the other way around.”

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Neighborhood Longhorns Partnering with AISD to Help Little Longhorns Dream Big There are two things no sports program can do without: athletes and fans. By the early 1990s, the UT Athletics Department had reason to worry about losing them both. Like many universities in Texas, a significant number of UT’s student athletes were African American. But historically UT’s overall enrollment of underrepresented or underserved students had been smaller than most of its neighbors. When new African American student enrollment fell in 1991, Longhorn student athletes joined the public in crying foul at the racist message this disparity sent. Jody Conradt, then head coach of UT’s beloved Lady Longhorn basketball team, looks back on that painful time. “We had big problems. UT was just not seen as a welcoming place, particularly in communities of color. It hit morale and recruiting hard. We really needed to reach out and show that we cared.” The Neighborhood Longhorns Program (NLP), devised by Conradt and colleagues Tom Penders, Donna Lopiano, and DeLoss Dodds in 1991, has done much to bridge the gap between UT and the communities that it wants to engage— one child at a time. Now, nearly 20 years later, NLP thrives as a part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement under the guidance of Executive Director Celina Ruiz-Snowden. Ruiz-Snowden explained, “DDCE’s support of our program demonstrates the commitment the university has made to providing educational opportunities to the youth in the community by integrating the Neighborhood Longhorns Program into a division that focuses on accessibility and collaboration.” Through an innovative partnership with the Austin Independent School District (AISD) and UT Athletics, NLP presents students in grades two through eight enrolled in Title I schools with tangible incentives to better their academic achievement. Centered on Longhorn sports, these incentives allow young achievers to do everything from attend games to hang out with coaches and student athletes. A powerful draw for sure, but there’s more to it. NLP incentives are designed to both inspire kids to do their best and to create opportunities for them to experience The University of Texas at Austin firsthand.


While NLP opens the door to higher education for many students who have never stepped foot on a college campus, they’re not the only ones who benefit from the program, according to UT’s Director of Women’s Athletics, Christine Plonsky. She explained: “The Neighborhood Longhorns Program is good for all of UT today, not just athletics. It inspires and incentivizes youngsters to establish the work ethic and discipline necessary to make the dream of a college education a reality. It is this type of community impact that is expected—indeed, demanded—from a university of the first class.” Since 1991, NLP has touched the lives of 55,300 of Austin Title I students. In the 2008–2009 school year alone, NLP provided 5,230 students with the incentives, support, and encouragement they needed to achieve their educational goals. In addition to the cheers and high fives received by all, 87 percent of these students also earned better grades on their report cards. Among them were many proud members of Cheryl Gibson’s fifth-grade class at Zavala Elementary. NLP has been a vital part of the classroom for 18 of the 28 years Gibson has taught at Zavala, and she’s been impressed by the program’s inclusiveness: “There are plenty of programs just for kids who excel or struggle. What I like about Neighborhood Longhorns is that everyone is involved. There are lots of events where all Neighborhood Longhorns can go, just as long as they meet the goals the school and I have set for them. Kids who can do more, get to do more. But this is not a program that tells kids who are trying their best that they are not wanted if they don’t have straight A’s.” This respect for individualism is a byproduct of NLP’s commitment to hands-on support, as Ruiz-Snowden is quick to point out. “We don’t just call up a school and say here’s 50 tickets to a basketball game, get me 50 kids. We work with principals and teachers at each school to understand their specific educational goals and how NLP can help. We don’t tell schools what to do or dictate standards. We’re there to help, not reinvent the wheel.” Perhaps the most visible difference resulting from this one-to-one approach to educational support is the one that UT students and student athletes make as volunteer NLP tutors. Whether they are helping with homework or helping to build self-esteem, these UT role models learn firsthand how a little time and a few kind words can change a kid forever. Here’s how Amir Emamian, a former NLP participant, later a volunteer student tutor, and now a full-time NLP Program Specialist, sums it up: “When I was in the third grade, the Neighborhood Longhorns Program made The University of Texas a reality for me. By becoming an NLP tutor I had the privilege of giving back. The NLP experience is not just talking about college, it’s about proving that it can really happen.” t h e u n i v e r s i t y o f t e x a s at a u s t i n





Preparing Students for College Success, Strengthening Teacher Knowledge Carita Thomas is a master teacher. She has been in the classroom for 30 years, yet she still gets excited about professional development offered to teachers who participate in DDCE’s ChemBridge program. She loves getting together with other science teachers from around the state to discuss what works in the classroom and how to best help students learn. She also enjoys continuing to learn new content and skills. But what she loves most about ChemBridge is the program’s impact on her students at San Antonio’s Thomas Jefferson High School. “You can just see them grow,” said Thomas. “They learn the skills they will need to succeed in college and gain confidence in their ability to master complex material.”

ChemBridge teachers Carita Thomas and Penny Ghinaudo explore new teaching techniques in the lab. Both teachers are from San Antonio ISD and participated in summer professional development on the UT campus.


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“They [the students] learn the skills they will need to succeed in college and gain confidence in their ability to master complex material.” — Carita Thomas, teacher

Jefferson High School, San Antonio

For five years, Thomas Jefferson High School juniors and seniors have participated in the ChemBridge program—the first of its kind in the country. Through ChemBridge, high school students at 20 schools in Austin, Laredo, Beaumont, San Antonio, Manor, Florence, and Houston earn up to six hours of college credit while earning dual high school credits in chemistry. Their teachers receive professional development twice during the year—at a two-day spring session and a weeklong summer course. Throughout the semester, students watch prerecorded lectures by Dr. William Stier, a lecturer in the Chemistry Department at The University of Texas at Austin. They access assignments and tests online. Stier explained that the high school teachers reinforce the lecture material—they answer questions and provide resources and support that students need to learn effectively. The professional development given to participating teachers deepens their chemistry content knowledge and provides new strategies for teaching. Because the group is made up of experienced teachers like Thomas and new teachers, Stier said the interactions and shared learning that take place among teachers during the professional development sessions are “just as important as hearing someone lecture about chemistry.” Even with years of experience in the classroom, Thomas said ChemBridge training “has forced me, as a teacher, to look at the difference between state [mandated] expectations and what kids really need to prepare for college.” She said ChemBridge has helped her learn about the higher-order thinking skills her students need to succeed in college. Stier said chemistry lab work is not a requirement of Chemistry 304K and 305 (the courses for which students receive credit) at the university. However, two ChemBridge teachers at Beaumont’s Central Medical Magnet High School have made labs a crucial

part of their students’ ChemBridge experience. Because Deidre Davenport and Randy Pemberton team teach, they are able to add laboratory experiments and activities to the curriculum. The pair said that without having a partner teacher, they could not provide high-quality laboratory experiments to the students. Davenport and Pemberton have been involved in ChemBridge for two years. All of their ChemBridge students have gone on to college, and they report a good number of them attend UT. All of their ChemBridge students this past year were among the top 20 students in Central’s graduating class, including the valedictorian and salutatorian. And while most ChemBridge students are seniors who already have taken several science classes, Davenport said, “Students cannot just walk into the ChemBridge class and expect to do well. They have to put effort into the assignments.” Thomas agreed. She told the story of one of her students this past year, a senior named Octavio who had signed up for ChemBridge but then decided he didn’t want to work hard during his senior year. He was also doubtful that he would go to college. Thomas persuaded Octavio to stay in the class a week. After he began the course and began working in a study group, his confidence began to grow. The upshot: Octavio now attends Goshen College in northern Indiana. Thomas believes the students’ success in ChemBridge also sends a signal to their parents, letting them know that their children can be successful in college. The ChemBridge program has grown in part through “word of mouth,” said program coordinator Dr. Aileen Bumphus. Bumphus explained that although she and Dr. Kenya Walker of DDCE’s Pre-College Youth Development office usually make the initial contact with schools and districts about ChemBridge, “teachers get excited about ChemBridge and tell their science teaching colleagues about it.” ChemBridge is growing at both Thomas Jefferson and Central Medical Magnet high schools. Both schools will have two classes of ChemBridge students this coming year. And if past ChemBridge statistics are any indication, most will earn at least three hours of college chemistry credit. “The students love the course,” said Thomas. “One of my students said she liked the course because she was treated like an adult. That is good news— my goal is to make students independent and ChemBridge helps do that.”

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Partnerships Between UT and High School Students SPUR Academic Success There are many high school mentoring programs, but DDCE’s Students Partnering for Undergraduate Rhetoric Success (SPURS) is unique. In this program, University of Texas at Austin students from 10 classes in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing pair up with high school students to help them become better writers— writers ready for college. All of the high school students attend schools that are underrepresented at postsecondary institutions. The results are impressive. Eighty percent of the participating high school juniors were ready to enroll in UT Austin’s required first-year writing course. But there are other benefits as well. High school teachers receive summer professional development, and each participating high school class visits The University of Texas at Austin twice during the academic year to attend a rhetoric and writing course and tour campus. As well, students develop positive relationships with college students and gain confidence along the way. Rudi Young, a teacher at Beaumont’s Central Medical Magnet High School, reports, “The SPURS program has reinforced the importance of rhetorical discussion and the synthesis process with my students. Students feel more comfortable discussing controversial issues within class, which makes them better able to compete in the college classroom setting upon their high school graduation.”

Teachers participate in a SPURS professional development workshop.

Maria Vieyra, who teaches at Brackenridge High School in San Antonio, is sold on the SPURS program, too. “I can’t even begin to discuss the benefits to my students,” she said. “It is always a difficult process at the beginning, but writing a rhetorical essay in the fall and a synthesis essay in spring gives my

SPURS students interact with UT Austin students to gain new insights about college life.


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“It is a unique partnership that allows my lower-income students to see a life outside the constraints of their culturally centered neighborhoods and school.” — Rudi Young, teacher

Central Medical Magnet High School, Beaumont

students countless skills. The process encourages them to organize and carefully select information to prove a point. They often find themselves asking, ‘Is this my best choice of evidence to prove a claim?’ Not only do their writing skills improve, but they read everything differently. They become really great critical readers as well as writers.” This year 175 UT students are mentoring about 260 high school students in five school districts across the state. The mentoring occurs first online. SPURS curriculum coordinator Eric Dieter explained that the mentors exchange short introductory biographies with their high school partners and read and respond to their partner or partners’ essay(s). If additional communication continues, it is up to their discretion. All of this communication occurs on the Drupal-driven SPURS Web site on school-specific forms. The UT and high school students actually meet during the campus visits. The mentors work with their partners, either on a particular aspect of their essays or on some aspect of rhetorical or compositional theory. “The character of the student-partner relationship is largely left for students to determine themselves,” said Dieter. He said that most of the UT students are enthusiastic about the program and want to make a difference in their partner students’ skills and get them interested in attending college.

Ebony Robles is a junior psychology major who was a SPURS mentor during her sophomore year at UT. She said, “Being a SPURS mentor is an amazing opportunity that not only benefits the person you are mentoring, but also allows you to see how your writing skills have developed over time. It also allows you to meet an interesting person from a different background while helping them understand that going to college is a great opportunity for them.” Vieyra said, “The UT students have been great about meeting and working with students—99.9 percent have been extremely helpful with feedback. Their feedback is detailed, lengthy, and my students often ask for an additional read from them.” Young reported that her students love the SPURS blog. “My students light up when they get even a few sentences from their peer editors.” Not surprisingly, both teachers reported their students love the field trips to the university. “This year my students were proud that they could join the discussion in the class and speak confidently and knowledgeably about their writing,” said Vieyra. “My students feel very special when they step off the school bus after riding from Beaumont to Austin for five hours. The whole day is planned with activities they enjoy: visiting the recreation center, Jester Dormitory, the library, attending class, and talking with students from the Multicultural Information Center about their experiences as a UT student,” said Young. “At least a third of my students involved with the program select UT as their school of choice.” Young summed up one of the less tangible, but important aspects of the program. “It is a unique partnership that allows my lowerincome students to see a life outside the constraints of their culturally centered neighborhoods and school, realizing that the world is truly multicultural and diverse, made up of people who look and speak just like them,” she said.

gram Participants by Ethnicity 1

Native American < 1% African American 44%


African American Asian American Caucasian Hispanic Native American


3 5

Asian American 1% Caucasian 2%

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University Outreach Centers Foster Student Focus on College

The lights are low. The auditorium is filled. Everyone is quiet—that is, until Katrina Agudo, a rising ninth grader at Akins High School in Austin, bounces onto the stage, launching into a spirited five-minute discourse about why the Top 10% rule should be changed. Agudo is just one of the approximately 100 enthusiastic students who participated in the University Outreach Centers’ Jumpstart summer program and Academic Challenge on The University of Texas at Austin campus last June. Students competed in speech, mathematics, science, and reading.

The five outreach centers—located in Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and the Rio Grande Valley—target underrepresented schools whose students come from mostly Hispanic or African American families. More than 3,000 Texas students in eighth through twelfth grades at 59 schools participated in the program during the 2008−2009 academic year. The program begins encouraging students to think about college early and provides them with exposure to the UT campus before their freshman year in high school through the Jumpstart summer program. They get another chance to visit UT their sophomore year during Longhorn Roundup. The outreach effort began in 1987 as a collaboration between The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University in College Station to boost the number of underrepresented students pursuing postsecondary education. When the partnership ended in 2003, UT continued the program to help “close the gaps” in educational achievement for Texans. The University Outreach Centers (UOCs) are now part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, and each center is staffed by three university employees. According to Kenya White, executive director of the UOCs, the outreach centers help fill a void at middle schools and high schools, where guidance counselors typically are so busy with scheduling and testing that they have “very little time” to focus on supplying information about college.“Whether it be UT, A&M, or another university, we do want them to go to college,” said White. David Sanchez, a UOC alum who is now a freshman engineering major at The University of Texas at Austin, acknowledged that in eighth grade he had not considered college, but college visits with his UOC group changed his mind. “It made me aware that there is more for the future, that going to college is important,” said Sanchez.

Katrina Agudo, freshman at Akins High School in Austin, entertains and informs her peers in the Jumpstart program during a speech competition.


Division of Diversity and Community Engagement


Services provided by the University Outreach Centers are developmentally appropriate for the different grade levels. In addition to the Jumpstart program, the eighth grade curriculum focuses on skills needed to transition to high school such as setting goals, dealing with peer pressure, and focusing on issues related to self-esteem. In ninth grade, sessions focus on test-taking skills and introduction to college terminology. The junior and senior years feature ACT and SAT preparation workshops, sessions on admissions and financial aid applications, and researching scholarships and financial aid. Math and writing clinics, visits to college campuses, and community service opportunities are offered throughout the five-year program. The UOC program also encourages development of communications skills helpful for academic success and success beyond college. For example, Valerie Castillo, director of the Austin UOC, gives high school freshmen the assignment to introduce themselves to their high school counselor and ask for their counselor’s business card. She wants them to be comfortable talking to the counselor and ready to actually meet with the counselor. According to White, the UOC program is unique among college preparation and recruitment programs. “There are many programs similar to ours, and we often find programs that target juniors or seniors,” said White. “But what makes our program unique is that we start in the eighth grade.” Castillo believes that recruiting students in the eighth grade is crucial. “Students begin to drop out in the eighth grade,” she explained. “Some begin shutting down academically; if they don’t drop out, they turn off.” Castillo said another challenge is that often students transition from a small middle school to a very large high school. They often have difficulties adjusting to the new schedule and larger, sometimes more competitive campuses. She sees the Jumpstart program, with its focus on geometry, algebra, science, reading, and speech, as a bridge to get these students back on track academically.


One counselor employed by each participating school in the program recruits participants, who must apply for admittance. When a student is inducted into the program, he or she pledges to remain in it for five years—until graduation from high school—and promises to do well in every course and not skip any classes. Each year, $20,000 scholarships are awarded to 10 students (two from each UOC) who have participated in the University Outreach Centers program for the full five years and who enroll at UT. White said the scholarship nominees aren’t necessarily top 10 percent students, even though most of the UOC participants are high-achieving. Warner Ervin, South Region superintendent for the Houston Independent School District, said the University Outreach Centers program creates “a college-bound culture” at his district’s participating schools and gives early exposure to students interested in college. Often, students aren’t educated about what they need to do to prepare for college until they’re juniors or seniors in high school, Ervin said. “A lot of times, youngsters are not really hearing about college— unless their parents or guardians are college grads—until they get into the upper grades,” Ervin said. He wishes the University Outreach Centers could serve students even earlier than the eighth grade. “The more that we can create college-bound cultures for youngsters, the more students we ultimately will have continuing in school,” Ervin said. Looking toward the future, White would like to see the University Outreach Centers expand their reach to other geographic areas of Texas. She also hopes to improve technology access for students in the program, since many of them don’t have home computers, yet so much college preparation work must be done online. “We’re basically preparing students for life,” said White. “The reward for us is when that student graduates from college and comes back to share with us that he is now working for a certain corporation or going to graduate school. We know the UOCs were part of that.”

For the 2008–2009 academic year, the UOC program touts these successes:

100% of the high school seniors in the program graduated.

By comparison, nearly three-fourths of all Texas seniors finish high school.

80% of the program’s graduates enrolled in a college or university, which is high when compared to Texas graduates overall. Only 50% of Texas high school graduates enroll in a college or university.

6 of the program’s graduates were valedictorians and 4 were salutatorians.

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Tapping Potential: Teens Forge a Path to Success Through ICUSP Programs “Yes, he’s a black man, and he’s an inspiration to me, but not even just that—he’s fair,” Willyam “BJ” Winston says of Barack Obama. “He targets all races that live in the U.S. He’s trying to be a global icon, and I admire that.” Winston, a 17-year-old senior at McCallum High School in Austin, is recounting discussions he and other student members of COBRA—the Community of Brothers in Revolutionary Alliance—have had during their weekly meetings. Listening to his responses to questions and his concrete future plans, it is easy to forget that he, his fellow COBRA members, and the members of the young women’s group VOICES, come from demographic groups traditionally underserved by schools, and routinely have high dropout rates and low college attendance rates.


Division of Diversity and Community Engagement



“We’ve been very successful in taking a demographic that traditionally underperforms and placing them in a position where they can definitely succeed if they continue on the right path.” — Patrick Patterson,

Principal, LBJ High School, and COBRA Co-founder

Perhaps nobody does a better job of explaining how he beat the odds than Winston himself, who will be entering Texas State University this fall. “You’ve got to improve yourself before you can improve society as a whole. You know what I’m saying?” As a member of COBRA, Winston found a cadre of peers who not only knew what he was saying but lived it daily. COBRA is a mentorship, leadership development, and academic engagement program that got its start in fall 2006 on the campus of LBJ High School in the Austin Independent School District. The program was established under the auspices of the Institute for Community, University, and School Partnerships (ICUSP) in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE) at The University of Texas at Austin. COBRA was initially designed to help young men identified as being at high risk of dropping out of school “not just to survive, but thrive,” according to ICUSP director and program co-founder, Dr. Kevin Michael Foster.

“No matter what background you came from, no matter what race you are, no matter what culture, you can be heard, you can use your voice to put yourself out there,” says Brooke Brock, a senior at McCallum at the time of her interview. Brock saw the need for a space where students could talk about their day-to-day lives and ways to constructively discuss and tackle challenges. Students in COBRA and VOICES, by and large, come from difficult backgrounds. Many have a great deal of instability in their lives, and as a result several struggle with discipline and with school. Together with a facilitator assigned by ICUSP, they meet voluntarily at school to talk about their lives. And in the case of COBRA, said Winston, they “discuss the different opinions on how a brotherhood should be and how we can improve on society as African American and Latino men—or just as men, period.”

“The skills the students develop—goal setting, perseverance, and seeking and providing moral and intellectual support—serve the students well in high school and also prepare students for success in college and future careers,” he says. After seeing COBRA in action, three young women from McCallum High School demanded that a women’s group be formed: VOICES or Verbally Outspoken Individuals Creating Empowered Sistas.

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“They have such innate leadership qualities—some of them come from really tough situations,” says VOICES coordinator Anjale Welton, a graduate student at The University of Texas at Austin. Facilitators for both the VOICES and COBRA groups are graduate or undergraduate students, or in several cases, members of the broader Austin community. They come from a wide range of backgrounds, sometimes from backgrounds similar to those of the group members. Facilitators are role models who support the high school students, model brotherhood and women’s empowerment, and help the young students succeed. They are trained by ICUSP and provided a curricular framework, but are expected to get to know their chapter’s members well enough to tailor activities to meet local and individual needs. According to Welton, in public school students don’t get to make as many choices as in college or beyond; their time is defined for them. VOICES empowers young women by giving them “a space that is their own” and most importantly, said Welton, “they continue to build on leadership skills of women who are already leaders.”

Thanks in large measure to the programs’ emphasis on personal responsibility, students, teachers, and administrators consistently give the programs high marks as a force for positive change. Over the past three years, all of the graduating COBRA participants at LBJ High School have gone on to college. “The guys in the program are doing very well in terms of their academics and their social behavior,” says Patrick Patterson, the principal of LBJ and COBRA co-founder. “We’ve been very successful in taking a demographic that traditionally underperforms and placing them in a position where they can definitely succeed if they continue on the right path.” Out of 52 seniors in the COBRA and VOICES groups, 48 have been accepted to colleges including The University of Texas at Austin, the University of Houston, Prairie View University, Texas A&M, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Texas State University, the College of William and Mary, and Austin Community College. It is little wonder that the demand for the programs is mounting.

Welton, a doctoral student in Educational Policy and Planning, provides guidance and constructive criticism, including discussions about how to facilitate activities, manage conflict, and run groups. “With each meeting,” she says, “afterwards, we sit down and process—how do you think that went? Your tone of voice, the way you projected yourself, do you think you made everyone feel included?” Although Welton may help students reflect on their sessions, she makes it very clear that the students set the agenda, that they “run the show.”


Division of Diversity and Community Engagement



“I’m a first-generation, low-income student, but all that I’ve gone through doesn’t really show my potential.” — Brooke Brock, VOICES Student

What began as a single COBRA group on the LBJ campus has led to an expanded and formalized partnership between ICUSP and AISD. McCallum High School is home to four COBRA groups while LBJ and Reagan high school campuses host two each. Chapters also can be found at Kealing, Pearce, Webb, and Martin middle schools. Manor Independent School District, which serves a small but growing community that borders east Austin, initiated its first COBRA group in spring 2009. One of the challenges ICUSP faces is striking a balance between being proactive and being reactive. ICUSP programs like COBRA and VOICES have been developed in response to community, school, and student demands. And they are growing like wildfire because the need is so intense. But Dr. Foster wants to be sure that “ICUSP grows programs only as capacity allows” and maintains the integrity of the programs. This means having conversations with school leaders about the goals and nature of the program and carefully selecting students. Dr. Foster explains, “We look for kids with room for considerable academic growth and with leadership potential—even in cases where that leadership has not been directed positively. We look for average students on low-performing campuses, and help them develop leadership skills that will result in positive futures.” Due in large part to the leadership skills developed in their groups, participants in VOICES and COBRA see college as just another important step in a larger journey. The program “has helped me find the person I am,” says Brock, who is headed to Texas A&M. “I’m a first-generation, low-income student, but all that I’ve gone through doesn’t really show my potential.” And by facilitating the group, helping it set goals, and creating spaces for conflict resolution and college preparation, Brock has found a way not only to become a better, more powerful leader, but also to “give something back. I’m really blessed. I’ve been through a lot,” she says. For her, the ability to give something back is crucial. She wants to let other students know “it doesn’t matter where you come from, you can be successful. You just have to work at it.” Editor’s Note: This story was posted to the UT home page on August 31, 2009. It was selected as one of “Ten to Read Again” out of 38 features posted throughout the year.

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Helping First-Year and Underrepresented Students Pursue

Academic Excellence

“Free tutoring was really helpful for me last semester. If I had not had free tutoring for my math course, I would have failed the course. . . . Also, speaking to my advisor was extremely helpful, since I was able to talk about my course issues and my financial aid issues.” “Keep up the great work! You really honestly help us feel like we belong and you facilitate our experience upon entering college.” Comments like these were common on the end-of-year surveys that students completed after their first year of involvement with the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence (LCAE). LCAE programs eased their transition from high school to college in countless ways. “The first year of an undergraduate career is so critical,” said Dr. Leonard Moore, an associate professor of history and assistant vice president in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. Moore oversees the numerous LCAE programs that assist students from low-income, first-generation backgrounds, or underrepresented populations in their pursuit of academic and personal excellence. “If our students can finish that first year with a 3.0, they are well on their way,” said Moore. Their confidence is up, and because they are off to a good start, they generally stay on the right track.” LCAE assists students through a combination of educational support, leadership development, community outreach, cultural appreciation, and civic engagement.

Gateway Scholars:

Smaller Learning Communities Support First-Generation Students

Among the four most prominent programs of the LCAE is the Gateway Scholars Program, which puts the jumpstart in the university’s mantra, “What Starts Here Changes the World.” The Gateway Scholars Program creates small learning communities that provide academic support for first-generation college students and underrepresented students. It shares the spotlight with the Preview Program, Longhorn Link, and the McNair Scholars Program, which together touch approximately 1,500 students. Organized first in 1994, Gateway Scholars Program is producing some demonstrable results since becoming part of the DDCE portfolio in 2007. This fall, the program served 237 entering freshmen, up from 60 in 2007. Additionally, the collective grade point average of Gateway Scholars increased from 2.79 in 2007 to 2.96 in 2008. The 2.96 GPA is near the 3.06 GPA for UT freshmen overall. Gateway’s first-year retention rate for the students returning in the fall semester of 2009 was 92 percent, equal to the university’s overall retention. These results are striking when one considers that 88 percent of the students served during 2008−2009 were first-generation college students, and the average SAT score (combined mathematics and verbal) was 1088, in comparison to the overall UT freshman average of 1232. Among the benefits of Gateway Scholars are smaller class sizes in many math and science courses, college-life skills coursework, professional academic advising and individualized counseling, peer mentoring, and early registration opportunities that allow students to register for classes together before the rest of the student body. Dr. Leonard Moore (far right) visits with GRA Darren Kelly (standing) and Summer Scholars participants. Dr. Moore was recently promoted to full professor.


Division of Diversity and Community Engagement



“We don’t allow students to come in making excuses. If we don’t hold the bar high, we are doing them a disservice.” —Dr. Leonard Moore, Associate Professor of History and Assistant Vice President in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement

Although the smaller class size in math and science courses is a hallmark of the program, a new critical thinking course for Gateway participants is based on the university norm of a large lecture course for freshmen. This course, Critical Reading and Writing for Undergraduates, was designed to be rigorous with a lot of reading and writing. Moore teaches the class on Mondays and Wednesdays. Then, on Fridays the class breaks out into smaller groups, each meeting with one of 10 instructors. Moore noted, however, that it is important the class be taught primarily by tenured faculty. “That is a clear indication the course is woven into the university’s curriculum; it is an indication of the seriousness of the course.” Utilizing research about the impact of large institutions on the retention and success of socioeconomically disadvantaged students, one of the foundations of the Gateway Scholars Program is the development of small learning communities that help students “bond with their peers, bond with professors, and bond socially and intellectually,” said Gateway Scholars Interim Director Dr. Ge Chen. “When first-generation or students from underrepresented groups take a cluster of courses together, they support each other, they get to know the faculty well, and they have the opportunity to understand all of the educational resources that are available to them at UT, and those things positively impact their academic success,” Chen said.

Because of his Gateway Scholars experience, sophomore chemical engineering student Kevin Duong said he felt much more comfortable asking one of his professors for a recommendation for a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation summer medical and dental program internship in Houston, a program he learned about from Gateway Scholars. “The smaller class size definitely helped me get to know the professor well, and helped me feel more comfortable asking for a recommendation,” said Duong, who holds a 3.9 grade point average and was accepted into the six-week internship through the Foundation this summer. Alexander Walker, an advertising major with a 3.2 GPA, said Gateway Scholars helped him feel more comfortable at the university after meeting his fellow Gateway Scholars during orientation, seeing them twice weekly in critical thinking class, participating in workshops, and at the end of the year banquet. “About 20 of us are still very close and good friends,” he said. However, the biggest impact of the Gateway Scholars Program, Moore reported, comes after students learn to fully embrace their abilities. “My responsibility is to let them know they belong at UT and that they can do the work,” he said. “We don’t allow students to come in making excuses. If we don’t hold the bar high, we are doing them a disservice.”

2008-2009 Results: Performance of Gateway Students Compared to UT Students Ethnicity

Freshmen Gateway Participants

Freshmen UT

Gateway First-Year GPA

Gateway First-Year Retention Rate

UT First-Year Retention Rate

African American Asian American

13.6% 20.5%

5.6% 18.6%

3.04 3.19

85%* 96.6%

86.6% 95.1%







White International

18.4% 3.5%

52.3% 3.1%

2.91 2.98

92.6% 100%

93.8% 95.7%

*Two of the three African American participants who did not return left in good standing.

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“It was an excellent opportunity to not only get accustomed to campus, but it introduced me to new people who share similar goals and ideas.”

Preview Program:

—José Reyes,

Preview Program Participant

Helping Students Transition from High School to College Another LCAE program, the Preview Program, also sets high standards and focuses on helping underrepresented and firstgeneration students with lower SAT scores make the transition from high school to college in key areas such as academic preparation, social development, community involvement, and leadership. Preview participants are placed in two UT courses for six weeks during the summer based on individual student academic needs. Students also participate in workshops and one-on-one sessions in areas such as financial aid and can access tutoring services. The students take a critical thinking course, similar to Gateway Scholars, and complete a writing project using the resources of the UT writing lab, which serves as an introduction to some of the educational resources available to UT students. Last summer’s Preview Program participants earned an overall GPA of 3.92. Preview students generally transition into Gateway. “The Preview Program is designed to facilitate the holistic growth of the student,” says Rian Carkhum, coordinator of the Preview Program. The staff challenges students to step out of their areas of comfort to stretch them into areas of new skill development.

“They may have math scores off the chart but struggle in doing presentations or speaking in front of a group of people,” Carkhum says of the 30 students who went through the program this summer. “The key is finding a way to creatively challenge all of them.” Preview Program students participate in an annual service project, with the most recent project focused on sustainability in east Austin, including planting trees and park cleanup, as well as a walking tour through east Austin, where they learned about immigration issues facing some Latina/o east Austin residents. Preview Program students participate in a leadership retreat and are encouraged to pursue leadership roles in student organizations, while walking the fine line of not overstretching themselves so that their academics suffer. Group participation in critical thinking sessions and social events, such as movies and theater, as well as living in a block of rooms within the residence halls help Preview Program students whittle one of the nation’s largest universities down to size. “They leave the program with a sense of community,” Carkhum says. “A school of 50,000 becomes a manageable group of 30 students for them. You have 30 friends that you can do life with.”

the VOICES of LCAE “Preview gave me a chance to meet a group of people that I would never have met otherwise had I just showed up to school in August. It gave me a head start and relieved a lot of anxiety that I was feeling about coming to such a large school, especially from a different state. The small size of the program also made the program much more personal. I feel we all are friends who can trust each other and who will continue to know each other for years to come.”

—Eric Lam, Preview Program Participant


“The McNair Scholars Program changed my perception of the university and myself. Before coming into the program, I felt this invisible line between professors and me but I realized through the mentorship aspect of the program that professors are no different than me, and that by being apprehensive about talking with them, I was only diminishing the value of my own education. I have been pushed to levels that I never knew existed and faced my fears of writing and asking questions. Most importantly, the successes I have made in academics have delved into all aspects of my life because of the confidence I feel overall.” —Debbe Velasquez, McNair Scholars Program Participant

Division of Diversity and Community Engagement



“The moment I joined the Longhorn Link Program was the moment that I remembered exactly why I had chosen to further my education. LLP has been integral in providing me with the guidance I need not only to succeed, but also the motivation to put myself ‘out there’ and expect nothing short of excellence.” —Vuong (Vince) Vu,

Longhorn Link Program Participant

Federally Funded

Longhorn Link and McNair Scholars Round Out LCAE Two programs of the LCAE are funded through the federal TRiO program: Longhorn Link and McNair Scholars. The two programs provide opportunities for academic development, assist students with basic college requirements, and motivate students toward the successful completion of their postsecondary education. The Longhorn Link Program aims to increase the retention and graduation rates of its participants and provide support services that enable students to move from one level of higher education to the next. The program coordinated 3,500 student contacts for program services between fall 2008 and mid-spring 2009. Twentyeight Longhorn Link participants graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2009, and two graduates have received admissions to the Texas Tech Medical School and the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Michigan. The McNair Scholars Program recruits 25 students who are from low-income, first-generation backgrounds or from underrepresented populations and works to introduce these students to research and interest them in graduate school. The ultimate goal is to produce a new generation of scholars and

“The McNair Scholars Program has been incredibly valuable to me as a student here at The University of Texas at Austin. Not only has the program provided me with opportunities that enhance my academic experiences—research, seminars, conferences, and grant writing, to name a few—the program coordinator, director, and graduate advisors have all shown interest and concern for my wellbeing beyond academic success. I find that the personal education plans make me think about my life and my career in terms that I had never visualized before.”

—Udelle Robinson,

McNair Scholars Program Participant

researchers that will more accurately reflect the growing diversity in intellectual perspectives, life experiences, and cultures represented in academia. The McNair Scholars Program recently published its first journal with research articles from the scholars who completed the summer research internship. The journal provided a steppingstone for the scholars to seek additional publication opportunities and present their work to graduate programs. The first 12 UT Austin McNair Scholars graduated in 2008–2009. Eleven of the scholars were accepted into graduate programs. Though the LCAE programs are diverse in the ways they encourage students to achieve early educational success, the students in these programs have something in common, according to Moore. “They are very eager to learn, and they want to make their families proud of them,” Moore says. “You may have a student in your class finishing college while no one else in the family even finished high school. They are true pioneers.”

“I love the Longhorn Link Program because it has helped make my transfer into college life easier than what I thought it would be. I was never taught how to manage my time to balance out studying, class, and sleep time. Talking to the counselors about how my schedule is going and how I am using my time has helped because they provide me with feedback on ways to improve what I am doing. Without LLP, I would have had a hard time settling into being a student here at UT.” —Edna Torres, Longhorn Link Program Participant

“The Longhorn Link Program really helped my transition into UT where I was able to develop a large network of friends and professional contacts throughout. Knowing that someone is reviewing my academic progress and looking out for me was extremely motivating for me to do my very best to make that A in as many classes possible even though I was taking a large courseload.” —Mohammed Sheikh, Longhorn Link Program Participant

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Partnering to Provide Services to

Students with Disabilities With a staff of only nine, in the past year Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) served 1,262 students with a range of primary disabilities—including ADHD, Traumatic Brain Injury, learning or psychological disabilities, and hearing, visual, and mobility impairments. None of this work could be done without SSD’s partners on the UT campus, according to director Krista Schutz-Hampton. Although SSD staff assess and help arrange for the accommodations a student might need—be it sign language interpreting, copies of texts in alternative formats, access to PowerPoint presentations or notes, or preferential seating—it is the faculty who are key players in providing accommodations. SSD also partners with academic advisors in different colleges to address policy questions, pursue the best course options for students, or work through courseload reductions. “The deans of colleges and schools are such an amazing resource to our office,” says Schutz-Hampton. “We work closely with their offices when we have a student who experiences significant difficulties and needs to pursue an incomplete, courseload reduction or medical withdrawal.” One result of SSD partnerships with the deans is a new foreign language substitution program within the College of Liberal Arts, which supports students with disabilities. Calling the program phenomenal, Schutz-Hampton explains it was created by Dr. Richard Flores, senior associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Liberal Arts. According to Dr. Flores, for students with certain disabilities, the college’s non-substitution or waiver policy for foreign languages hurt their chances of graduating with a BA in liberal arts. “We had several


discussions with the Equal Opportunity Services (EOS) office about this issue and the difficulty it was causing some students,” he said. Dr. Flores explained that about the same time, he formed the Language Pedagogy Advisory Committee, and this issue was one of the first issues the committee tackled. SSD staff meet with a faculty liaison—Zsuzsanna Abrams—weekly during long sessions, referring liberal arts students with disabilities who are struggling with their foreign language requirement. The students who have been referred then meet with Dr. Abrams, who assesses the strengths of an individual student’s language acquisition skills. She suggests studying and classroom modifications, and ultimately determines if a cultural course substitution is appropriate. “If the student cannot complete the coursework due to their disability and despite maximum effort, cultural courses can be substituted for the language requirement,” explains Schutz-Hampton. She says that Dr. Abrams also explores the student’s comfort levels in the coursework, often normalizing the experience of the student with the disability as similar to all students in the class. “This feedback often decreases the student’s anxiety and increases the student’s confidence in the foreign language class, resulting in improved performance.” Regarding which cultural courses can be taken in place of a foreign language, Dr. Flores said, “We try to match a student’s interest with courses that are available in language courses, Title VI centers, or other departments. The goal is to have an array of courses that provide students with the cultural and historical knowledge that would be useful in understanding another culture.” Since the substitution program was started, about 35 students have benefited.

Division of Diversity and Community Engagement


“The College of Liberal Arts is committed to working with Services for Students with Disabilities to support all our students. This collaboration is critical to the continued success of our undergraduate and graduate programs, and is a vital part of the college’s mission.” —Dr. Richard Flores, Senior Associate Dean, College of Liberal Arts

SSD Honors 55 Faculty and Staff Members for the 2008–2009 Academic Year Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) distributes Clock Awards at the end of each fall and spring semester to honor faculty and staff members who go above and beyond the call of duty to help students with disabilities. The awards are in the form of a clock with an engraved message thanking honorees.

Other student affairs departments on campus support SSD in their work, such as the Office of the Registrar, the Career Exploration Center, the UT Learning Center, the Office of the Dean of Students, Student Financial Services, the Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC), and University Health Services (UHS). For instance, SSD, CMHC, and UHS collaborated to create a uniform process for students seeking a courseload reduction, medical withdrawal, or retroactive medical withdrawal. The SSD and the Career Exploration Center hold at least one career exploration workshop each year and discuss issues such as if or when to disclose a disability to an employer.

SSD Director Krista Schutz-Hampton said, “The Clock Awards give students an opportunity to reflect on positive experiences related to their disabilities and thank others for a job well done.” She explained that the clocks also serve as a visual cue to other students. “When our students deliver letters of accommodation and see the clock in a faculty member’s office, that is a reminder that they have an ally,” she said. Schutz-Hampton said that faculty and staff members are most often surprised and touched by their nominations. Students often write eloquently about their professors, such as Poonam Dahya, who was a senior in the McCombs School of Business last spring. She wrote of Dr. Robert Duvic, “He has been the most understanding professor I have ever met. He understands that all students are not the same. He is always there to help when needed. He gave me more confidence in school than I have ever had before.”

As a unit of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, SSD works to help students build on their areas of strength to make academic progress, gain confidence and self-understanding, and learn skills that will transfer into their future work environments. “Every student comes in with strengths and weaknesses,” said Schutz-Hampton. “In SSD we ask ourselves, ‘what kind of tools can we give this student to help them become the most successful student possible?’ ”

Craig High, SSD Student Affairs Administrator, was one of 55 recipients of the Clock Award.

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Queer People of Color and Allies, Changing UT Austin, One Supporter at a Time

There are more than 900 student organizations on the UT Austin campus. They range from the African American Nursing Student Association, the Hindu Students Council, Lambda Theta Phi, the Latino Leadership Council, and the Longhorn American Indian Council to the Muslim Student Center, the Pan-Asian American Network, the Vietnamese Students Association and the Young Conservatives of Texas, to name just a few. On the surface, it appears that there is an organization for everybody, that every student on campus could find a home base. But that’s not necessarily true, according to Ixchel Rosal, director of the Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC). “When I first came to the GSC in 2004, I was particularly sensitive to the fact that if you were a student of color and LGBTQ it might not be clear just where you fit in. It happens a lot to people who hold multiple marginalized identities. When you face things like homophobia in one setting and racism in another, it can be painful to find a place where you can bring your whole self. I knew that Queer People of Color and Allies (QPOCA) could be that place. So even


And it worked. Little by little, year by year, QPOCA grew. In 2008, the organization had gathered enough strength to become an agency of DDCE’s Multicultural Information Center (MIC) with its own resources. While its relationship with the GSC has changed very little, the move to the MIC has provided QPOCA with a more formal connection to the university as a whole. It’s a win-win thing, if you ask Jaya Soni, the MIC’s leadership program coordinator and QPOCA’s new advisor. “As UT’s agent of change, it’s the MIC’s job to get every student on the campus to be more inclusive, including all of those who use this resource,” explained Soni. “Many of our student groups have been housed by the MIC for at least 10 years, several for as

Gender and Sexuality Center Promotes Successful Transition to UT Community

Established in 2004, the mission of the Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC) is to provide safe spaces for all members of the UT Austin community to explore, organize, and promote learning around issues of gender and sexuality. The center also facilitates a greater responsiveness to the needs of women and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) communities through education, outreach, and advocacy.

The center, now part of DDCE, is guided by a strategic plan developed by the center’s staff and members of the GSC’s Advisory and Working Group comprised of students, faculty, and staff, and community members who also provide feedback, conduct outreach, and evaluate programs and services. One of the center’s major goals is to contribute to the successful transition of first-year students to the UT community and ensure 58

though QPOCA had been struggling on campus for years, and the GSC did not have resources for more than an advisory role, I jumped at the chance to get the group started again.”

students’ graduation, as well as integrate women and LGBTQ students into campus life and improve the efficacy of LGBTQ and women student leaders. Last year proved to be a year of growth and opportunities for the center. For the second consecutive year, it hosted Lavender Graduation, an event that recognizes the accomplishments of graduating LGBTQ and ally students. The GSC launched its speaker series, with support and partnerships from departments and units throughout the university, and established the Peers for Pride program for UT students. Additionally, the GSC’s director taught “Third Wave Feminism and the UT Campus,” a course designed to explore the tenets of Third Wave Feminism and engage the greater campus community in dialogue about the issues affecting women today.

Division of Diversity and Community Engagement


Multicultural Information Center

The purpose of the DDCE’s Multicultural Information Center (MIC) is to empower students to be agents of social change by providing diverse educational opportunities, leadership development, and support services. The MIC promotes awareness of issues related to culture and diversity and supports the retention and matriculation of all students at The University of Texas at Austin. many as 20 years. QPOCA, on the other hand, is the newest kid on the block. Maybe it’s because of the way QPOCA has embraced the MIC and vice versa, but it is not unusual for first-time MIC visitors to assume that QPOCA has also been here for years.” Soni also explains the importance of the organization to its members. “Perhaps the most exciting thing about having QPOCA at the MIC is that it’s very different from every other race-, ethnic-, or queer-identified organization on campus. As LGBTQ students of color, QPOCA members have unique family and cultural issues that people who are identified with only one or the other of these communities may not understand. At the same time, QPOCA members also face marginalization within each of these communities.” Armando Sanchez is LGBTQ identified, a person of color, and a graduate student in Clinical Social Work. A deep longing for community led Sanchez to QPOCA four years ago. Sanchez, now QPOCA’s co-director, reflects on why the search for a home base can be especially painful for queer people of color. “Queer people need queer people. The need to fit is deep. But the fact is people of color are in the minority in most gay and lesbian organizations.” While it is clearly not intentional, it is commonly the case that the white experience permeates every LGBTQ activity, topic of discussion, and social interaction. “It’s not that the white experience is not a valid experience,” Sanchez is quick to point out. “It’s just that it is not the only [LGBTQ] experience.”

As a student support unit, the MIC provides assistance for student events that share its vision. The Campus Fusion program, for example, is a collaborative effort by the MIC and Student Government. Now in its seventh year, Campus Fusion offers a variety of events that allow students, faculty, staff, and community members to recognize the importance of talking about issues of diversity while celebrating the different cultures and ethnicities present on the Forty Acres. Another example of programming sponsored by the MIC is the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Statue Rededication Ceremony, which the MIC cosponsors with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. The program celebrates the memory of America’s most notable civil rights activist and honors the UT students who fought for the placement of the statue on campus. It also seeks to shed new light on the progress the university has made and acknowledge the challenges that students still face on a diverse campus. One of the most important MIC functions is to welcome incoming students to the UT campus. Every year, the center produces an array of welcome programs including You Bring Out the Asian American in Me, Sabado Gigante, and the Afrikan American New Student Weekend.

The MIC houses the following six student agencies:

• Afrikan American Affairs • Asian/Desi/Pacific Islander American Collective • Latino Leadership Council • Longhorn American Indian Council • Queer People of Color and Allies • Students for Equity and Diversity

Not surprisingly, community is prized above all else at QPOCA. At the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality, community is as much about place as it is relationships. Sanchez sums it up this way: “As queer people of color, we have got to have someplace where our whole selves can show up to be with each other… hang out without hiding out. QPOCA is our place. Making sure it’s here keeps me going.”

t h e u n i v e r s i t y o f t e x a s at a u s t i n




Intellectual Entrepreneurship

Internship Shows Long-Term Positive Outcomes

The Intellectual Entrepreneurship (IE) Pre-Graduate School Internship Program at The University of Texas at Austin has served more than 500 undergraduate students since the program’s inception in 2004. Approximately half of these students are from underrepresented populations or are first-generation college students. The model of education promoted within IE is one of “discovery-ownership-accountability.” It involves an individualized mentorship between an undergraduate student and a graduate student mentor, as well as a faculty supervisor. “The IE program empowers students to make authentic decisions about their field of study and professional path,” said Dr. Richard Cherwitz, director of IE and a professor in Communication Studies. He explained that half of the interns who participate in the program become so passionate about their work that they elect to pursue a graduate degree—often in elite programs, including those at UT Austin. “Others realize they are in the wrong discipline, or that graduate school is not for them or perhaps should be postponed,” said Cherwitz. “They’re learning about themselves as well as the culture of their discipline, and that’s very revealing,” he said. The IE Pre-Graduate Internship Program was named the top Example of Excelencia at the graduate level by Excelencia in Education, an organization that works to accelerate success in higher education for Latina/o students. The program’s effectiveness for Latina/o students was discussed in a journal article written by two former IE participants and published last spring.

the student experience “While the IE internship really motivated me to pursue my passion for law, my growth as an intellectual entrepreneur showed me that I would personally prefer a more indirect approach. I thus decided that before I went to law school, I wanted to use the knowledge that I had already developed to contribute to something greater than myself. I chose to apply for a movement that I supported and strongly believed in: Teach For America. I realized that law school will always be there and it can wait, but change is desperately needed now.” —Mera Baker, Communication Studies 60

“If it were not for the IE program I would still be pursuing graduate programs in public policy or law, when that really is not where my heart is. I was able to discover this in one semester as opposed to several years—the ultimate in efficiency.” —Aida Prazak, School of Social Work

Division of Diversity and Community Engagement

“The IE Internship ended up being the exact push I needed to help me discover my passion. Such a valuable opportunity so early on in my academic career is something I know I am going to treasure for the rest of my life.” —Daniel Conroy-Beam, Psychology Major

Dr. Richard Cherwitz

In the 2006 spring semester, Veronica Luna was an IE intern working with her mentor, doctoral student Linda Prieto. As part of their co-created goals, they pursued a shared research project that fulfilled their mutual desire to draw attention to the disproportionate enrollment rates of Latina and Latino students in graduate school as compared to their white counterparts. Their collaborative scholarly work resulted in an article entitled, “Mentoring Affirmations and Interventions: A Bridge to Graduate School for Latina/o Students.” The article appears in the 2009 April issue of the Journal of Hispanic Higher Education. The study examined how a group of Latina and Latino undergraduate participants conceptualized graduate studies during their participation in the IE program. Findings revealed that the IE experience created a bridge to graduate education by expanding their networks, demystifying academia, and fulfilling their sense of community responsibility via an advanced degree. To affirm the program’s positive long-term effects, former mentees from Luna and Prieto’s study, conducted in May 2006, were interviewed recently.

Intellectual Entrepreneurship at The University of Texas at Austin Intellectual Entrepreneurship (IE) is an intercollegial consortium that is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement portfolio. Members of the consortium include the Colleges of Communication, Liberal Arts, Fine Arts, Natural Sciences, Engineering, Law, Education, and Pharmacy, and the Schools of Information, Business, Public Affairs, and Social Work. Founded and directed by Dr. Richard Cherwitz, professor in Communication Studies, the mission of IE is to educate “citizen-scholars”—individuals who creatively utilize their intellectual capital as a lever for social good. IE is more than a collection of programs; it is an educational philosophy for instigating learning across disciplinary boundaries, promoting diversity in higher education, and generating collaborations between the university and society. The term “intellectual entrepreneurship” is based on the idea that intellect is not limited to the realm of academia and entrepreneurship is not restricted to business. IE initiatives pertain to the undergraduate experience, graduate study, faculty research, and the connections between the university and community. More than 5,000 students have participated in IE programs since its inception in 1997 and nearly 200 academic and non-academic articles about IE have been published.

“What I got out of it [IE internship] isn’t necessarily what another will. That’s the beautiful thing about the IE program; it recognizes the student body, undergraduates, not as a homogeneous collective, but as a heterogeneous one, and acknowledges that, acts accordingly, and provides a unique experience for everyone.” —Carlos Morales, English Department

Current initiatives of the IE Consortium include the Project in Interpreting the Texas Past (ITP), the Pre-Graduate School Internship Program, the Texas Interdisciplinary Plan (TIP)/IE Pre-Grad Internship, the Bryce Jordan Arts Entrepreneurship Incubator, the IE/St. Edward’s University McNair Scholars Program, the IE Oral History and Diversity Project, Academic Engagement, the IE Undergraduate Mentorship Pilot Program, the IE Dissertation List-Serve/ Resources, and the IE Job/Career Resources for graduate students.

t h e u n i v e r s i t y o f t e x a s at a u s t i n




Where Are They Now?

Building Networks

Claudia and Angela participated as mentees in the IE program in spring 2006 during their senior year; both graduated in May 2006. Claudia completed a B.A. in Psychology (Pre-Law) with a minor in Spanish, as well as a Finance Certification. Angela graduated with a B.A. in Anthropology and Sociology, and minors in Spanish and Mexican-American Studies. Three years after their participation in the IE Pre-Graduate Internship program, the IE philosophy is evident in their accomplishments and aspirations.

All respondents in Luna and Prieto’s early study report that the mentorship helped them overcome barriers to networking in academia and make connections they viewed as important to exploring graduate studies. Claudia and Angela have continued communication with their graduate student mentors since participating in the program. Claudia explained, “She [her mentor] is always a phone call away to help me.” She shares how their relationship continues to have capacity-building benefits for her, particularly regarding her research skills and resourcefulness. “The research skills I learned from my mentor are skills I use in my work, organizations, and future aspirations. Also, when you’re unsure, ask questions because you learn from others’ experience,” Claudia said.

In the Journal of Hispanic Higher Education article, Claudia poignantly stated, “The only inheritance they [my parents] can leave me is not money; the only inheritance they can leave me with is [an] education.” Since graduation, Claudia has experienced career advancement at the Texas Office of the Governor, from Intern to Research Specialist II. She is also in the process of applying to law school, as she projected three years ago. Her near completion of a Business Foundations certificate through the UT–Austin Extension Program demonstrates her continued commitment to higher education. Claudia’s desire to empower her home community is exemplified by her current roles as a Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor, financial literacy volunteer, and administrative employee for her parents’ business in Houston. After working in the nonprofit sector for two years after graduation, Angela is now pursuing a Ph.D., and eventually hopes to obtain a professorial position. She serves as a school volunteer, and is employed as a program evaluator at an educational nonprofit organization. Angela said, “The IE program experience and my mentor’s guidance directly shaped my educational/career decisions in a very positive way. Above all, I am more passionate, knowledgeable, and confident in my academic interests and sense of purpose.” Claudia and Angela’s post-program educational trajectories suggest the IE program played a positive, solidifying role in their paths to graduate school. The following sections look at how the experience positively shaped their network-building and conceptualizations of graduate school.


Angela reported the mentorship continues to greatly benefit her, and the two women still communicate. She described one example of their interaction: “When I was selecting a graduate program, I sought her support. Her candid insight was helpful, and I was able to make an informed decision that considered the pros and cons.” Angela added, “The [IE] program helped me feel capable in being resourceful and confident in making contacts. I will hopefully have the ability to seek out support to meet all the challenges of graduate study.”

Demystifying Graduate Studies Informants from Luna and Prieto’s initial study reported gaining a better understanding of the efforts involved in graduate study, and benefited from a guided process of researching graduate programs. These findings affirm the program’s objective to encourage intellectual entrepreneurship, an attitude still evident in the former mentees’ responses. Claudia continues to draw on the IE experience to sustain her graduate school goals through uncertainty: “IE program experiences have taught me to lay out a plan to reach my educational/career aspirations. I learned that I shouldn’t be overwhelmed with the future because I am not alone. Having a mentor, you learn to discuss and discover options. You learn how to analytically view pros and cons to help make decisions—but best of all,

Division of Diversity and Community Engagement



that you should follow your dreams and passion. I am a testimony to this as a first-generation Salvadoran American; I am the first in my family to graduate from a university, and soon, the first to graduate from law school.” Angela reported that her participation in the program “strongly influenced” her decision to pursue a doctoral degree, and continues to help her thrive. She said, “I believe that if I had not participated in the IE program, I would have struggled to apply to graduate school, and not made the transition to graduate studies as successfully.” This update by former mentees three years after their participation suggests the program experience and continued effects demystify graduate study. For the two Latina undergraduate students who participated in the initial study three years ago, the IE Pre-Graduate School Internship program experience served as an “entrepreneurial incubator,” which may have large-scale implications for increasing the proportion of underrepresented groups in the graduate school pipeline. Claudia explained, “As times are changing, we [students] have to be prepared, and the best way to do that is through the continuation of education. Knowledge is a powerful tool.” Angela added, “It meant a great deal to have had this form of mentoring at a critical time in my educational journey. I wish more racial minority students had access to this scarce resource.”

IE mentor Luis Bonachea (left), a graduate student in ecology, evolution, and behavior, and IE mentee Elizabeth Siegel, an undergraduate in the College of Natural Sciences, collect fish at Brackenridge Field Lab for an experiment about how the presence of predators affects the choice of mates.

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by the numbers a quick glimpse at 2008–2009 Thematic Initiatives and Community Engagement


thematic hires in Art History, Music, Law, Counseling Psychology, Spanish and Portuguese, Anthropology, and Asian American Studies

1,900 patrons served by the Regional Foundation Library (RFL)

320 secondary school students served

by the RFL: 90% of these were students from underrepresented groups

48 out of 52 COBRA and VOICES


Over college, middle school, and high school students served by the outreach activities of the Multicultural Information Center (MIC)

330 attendees at this year’s MIC Latino Leadership Symposium

20,000 online visitors to the

Volunteer Service Learning Center’s (VSLC) online volunteer search database

47service learning courses established with the help of the VSLC in one year at UT

seniors accepted to college

240 high school students served by the ChemBridge Program

82% of ChemBridge participants received college credit for CH304

81% of ChemBridge participants

2,829 students, faculty, staff,

and community members served through GSC-planned events

100 people checked out approximately

490 books and movies from the GSC Library

981 phone calls from students, faculty, 80% of seniors from 2008 UOC class

2.9 GPA for the 2008–2009 Gateway

5,000 Austin elementary and middle

3.91 cohort GPA for 2008 Preview Scholars 3.23 GPA for 2009 Summer Scholars—

87% of students participating in NLP

Gateway Scholars participants

Scholars cohort, up from 2.79 for the previous year’s cohort

received college credit for CH305

SPURS Program

out of McNair Scholars were accepted into graduate programs

259 high school students served by the

of SPURS students submitting rhetorical analysis essays received college-level evaluation ratings of “proficient”or above




secondary school students served by University Outreach Centers (UOC)


of seniors from the 2008 UOC class graduated from high school



events produced or cosponsored by the Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC)

92% first-year retention rate for

entering freshmen students whose SAT scores were about 400 points below the average of all other entering freshmen

Institutional Equity

the Project 2009, completing 50 service projects in east Austin

staff, and community members received by the GSC

Pre-College Youth Development and Student Academic Initiatives


900 UT students took part in

194 people served by the

Equal Opportunity Services (EOS) office

115,041 hits recorded on the UT Disability Web site

Division of Diversity and Community Engagement

enrolled in college

school students served by Neighborhood Longhorns Program (NLP)

improved their grades

1,500 UT students were served by

the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence (LCAE) programs

136 total entries were submitted to the

Barbara Jordan Historical Essay Contest (BJHEC)

17 BJHEC regional finalists from across the

state recognized at an awards ceremony at UT

to three BJHEC essay winners

$5,000 in scholarships were awarded

265 participants received training on EEO and diversity issues


Intellectual Entrepreneurship


Over undergraduates participated in the Pre-Grad Internship program



graduate students served as mentors in the Pre-Grad Internship program

40 UT departments and 12 UT schools and colleges participated in the Pre-Grad Internship program

50% of Pre-Grad Interns were students from underrepresented populations

70% of Pre-Grad Interns were women 50% of Pre-Grad Interns attended graduate school

20 academic and non-academic publications

featured articles about the IE program

School Partnerships

35 bills researched by the Texas Center

for Education Policy (TCEP)


invitations for TCEP to make appearances and provide expert testimony to the Texas legislature

18 presentation proposals for upcoming academic conferences submitted by TCEP


oral histories collected by the east Austin Oral History Project

University Interscholastic League

$1.2 million:


Diversity Education Institute

Charitable Gifts Received

109 individuals participated in diversity

$4,757,914: Charitable giving

workshops offered through the Diversity Education Institute (DEI) and UTPD partnership

512 participants attended the 2009

Diversity Conference, a partnership between Pflugerville ISD and the DDCE


people attended the Diversity Education Institute summer brown bag for diversity educators

Hogg Foundation for Mental health

to DDCE programs and initiatives (September 1, 2007 through January 7, 2010)–Total cash gifts from individuals, corporations, foundations, associations, and government


Charitable giving to DDCE programs and initiatives (September 1, 2007 through January 7, 2010)–Total value of in-kind donations from individuals, corporations, foundations, associations, and government

Services for Students with Disabilities

$7.9 million:

Total funded in 8 three-year grants to improve mental health services for children and families in geographic areas of need in Houston/Harris County

$456,565: Six grants for

influential mental health policy project in Texas


Grant to create a statewide online learning community on integrated health care


Two fellowships for doctoral studies of human trauma caused by hurricanes


1,262 UT students served by

Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD)

6,800 hours of American Sign Language interpretation services provided by SSD


faculty and staff members honored with student-nominated SSD Clock Awards

Special Projects


student organizations participated in the 6th annual Campus Fusion


Five scholarships for graduate students of social work pursuing mental health careers

Amount raised during Hearts of Texas Charitable Campaign

two-day conference on integrated health care


400 Texans attended the Foundation’s 29

full-tuition scholarships awarded to bilingual graduate students of social work at 11 Texas colleges


DDCE staff members volunteered at Explore UT


attendees at the dedication and unveiling of the Barbara Jordan statue on the UT campus


Amount given in scholarships by University Interscholastic League (UIL)

student organizations received funding or in-kind support from DDCE

Happy Birthday, UIL (1909–2009)

roses were distributed by the White Rose Society in remembrance of Holocaust victims


100 years:

t h e u n i v e r s i t y o f t e x a s at a u s t i n




Memorable Day Honored the Late Barbara Jordan April 24, 2009, was a day dedicated to remembering the remarkable Barbara Jordan and what she meant to The University of Texas at Austin. More than 1,200 people gathered up and down 24th and Whitis streets to view the unveiling and dedication of a statue of Jordan—the first woman so honored on campus. There were UT students, faculty, and staff members, families with small children, groups of students from Barbara Jordan Elementary School in east Austin, and a sea of women in red— members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Jordan’s beloved sorority. All were moved as the eight-foot-tall statue created by artist Bruce Wolfe was unveiled under the historic Battle Oaks near the Texas Union. “There are many events in life that are meaningful and rarer moments that are treasured because of a profound sense of history. Today, at the Barbara Jordan unveiling, I felt touched by history,” said one onlooker. The program included Jordan’s favorite music and remarks by President William Powers, Jr., Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, vice president for Diversity and Community Engagement, and Dr. Juan C. González, vice president for Student Affairs, and other dignitaries, UT student representatives, and friends of Jordan. The statue of Jordan was the vision of a group of women students who, in the fall of 2002, were inducted into the Orange Jackets, one of the oldest student organizations on campus. They wanted a statue of a woman on campus besides the 1927 statue of the mythical Diana. Although several prominent women were discussed as honorees, Joycelyn Jurado, an Orange Jacket “tappee” that year, said, “Many paved the way for us as women on campus, but it was Barbara Jordan’s legacy as a scholar, leader, and public servant on a university, state, and national level that spoke to us. She was relevant, tangible, phenomenal.”

“We are attempting to fulfill our national purpose, to create and sustain a society in which all of us are equal.” — Barbara Jordan


Division of Diversity and Community Engagement



“We have a positive vision of the future founded on the belief that the gap between the promise and reality of America can one day be finally closed.” Barbara Jordan Keynote address to the Democratic Convention New York City, July 12, 1976

Dr. Sherri L. Sanders, now deputy to Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, vice president for Diversity and Community Engagement, was the advisor to the Orange Jackets at the time. Sanders has remained as head of the statue project during its sevenyear span, overseeing a large, diverse committee who made decisions about the project and oversaw fundraising efforts. “The members of the statue committee, which includes faculty, staff, and alumni, in addition to students, were dedicated to the same vision—having Barbara Jordan’s presence and powerful words memorialized on campus, to serve as a reminder of what is just and fair in this world,” she said. “That drove many of the decisions we have made—from placement of the statue underneath the Battle Oaks, to our choice of quotations by Jordan on the stelae surrounding the statue.” “Nothing in my career will ever exceed the impact that the Barbara Jordan Statue Project had on me personally,” said Sanders.“It was an incredible seven-year journey with so many different students as well as two presidents, two vice presidents for student affairs, one vice president for diversity and community engagement, and six committee chairs. It is a project that continues to impact me every time I go by the statue and see people enjoying the space, including students or faculty preparing for class, friends eating lunch together, student groups holding meetings, father and son talking over the bio, and especially children and their teachers from local schools standing around the statue.”

Dr. Vincent believes that the statue of Jordan and her words memorialized around the statue plaza will inspire students, faculty, and staff at The University of Texas at Austin for generations to come. He said, “Her life and her efforts serve as a reminder of why we continue to strive to create an environment of inclusive excellence here on campus.”

t h e u n i v e r s i t y o f t e x a s at a u s t i n


visit us online

CONTACT US: Division of Diversity and Community Engagement the university of texas at austin Main Building 12 1 University Station, G1050 Austin, Texas 78712 512-471-3212

2009 Impact Report  

From the Division of Diversity and Community Engagment at The University of Texas at Austin

2009 Impact Report  

From the Division of Diversity and Community Engagment at The University of Texas at Austin