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Diversity Matters Issue 2 | May 10, 2013

Student Spotlight: Grace Usiel Grace Usiel, an engineering major, shares her experience as a freshman student and how Upward Bound has prepared her for college.

Grace Usiel, an alumna of the UA Upward Bound Math and Science program and freshman at the University of Arkansas, sums up the most important lesson she’s learned as a new college student in two simple words: “reach out.”

as an Upward Bound student. “I had practice creating a weekly schedule during the summer program and asking for help if I got overwhelmed.”

She is particularly grateful for her participation in Upward Bound’s Usiel quickly realized during her first summer “bridge program” between semester that she was going to need high school and college. As a bridge help balancing her busy new life. student, Usiel lived on the UA campus, Fortunately, Grace was able to call took classes, and held a job with the upon the advice she heard repeatedly as Freshman Engineering Program in the an Upward Bound student: “if you want College of Engineering. “The bridge to succeed, put yourself out there, ask program helped questions, and make yourself open to me learn my way change.” around campus and meet So she did just that, meeting with engineering faculty faculty and building a support network that I now have as of helpful peers and staff on campus. instructors.” Usiel says she noticed that her instructors were more approachable Usiel’s experience and wanted to help her when she transitioning to the visited them during office hours. She demands of college also relied on the staff of the life highlights one Multicultural Center to help her create of the primary a plan for balancing her work and study aims of the time and to better understand her Upward Bound scholarship requirements. program, to equip students with the tools and practices they will need not Now in her second semester, Usiel has only to enroll in college, but also to a new appreciation for planning ahead remain in college once they’ve arrived. and calling on her support network for When asked what she thinks is the help, lessons she attributes to her time most important advice she can give to

increase retention among her peers, Usiel urges, “get to know your professors by meeting with them during office hours. It might make the difference between an ‘A’ and a ‘B,’ and they are there to help you.” As she nears the end of her first year as a UA student, Usiel looks forward to staying active on campus and seeking out new academic challenges. In addition to her work as a Student Ambassador at the Multicultural Center, Usiel is also a student leader in FELT, the Freshman Engineering Leadership Team. And while she busily prepares for a presentation covering her research of heparinbinding proteins for the annual Engineering Honors Research Symposium, she’s also beginning to make plans for a study abroad experience next summer. Now, Usiel is on the other side of that simple suggestion she received as an Upward Bound student, reaching out to prospective UA students, her peers, and her colleagues through service, scholarship, and research. “Facing college alone is overwhelming, so reach out,” says Usiel. “People at the university want to help you!”

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Diversity Matters

Issue 2 | May 10, 2013

TRiO Talent Search: A National Effort to Evaluate Program Impact Beyond College Entry Talent Search, funded by the U.S. Department of Education under the umbrella of “TRiO,” promotes college access and readiness for students in grades 6-12 who are low-income and would be in the first generation of their family to attend college. TRiO programs resulted from the Higher Education Act of 1965, the Civil Rights Movement, and President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty.” The University of Arkansas has three Talent Search grants, which comprise the Talent Search Programs office. Participants attend one of 40 participating target schools in Northwest Arkansas, Arkansas River Valley, Ozark Mountain Region, McDonald County (MO), and Colcord (OK). In previous grants, Talent Search’s effectiveness had been demonstrated by the high school graduation and college going rates of participants. With a standardized objective and mandated reporting to the U.S. Department of Education, programs quantified success. Last reporting period, the University of Arkansas Talent Search programs reported a high school graduation rate of 99%, and a college going rate of 89%. Overall, 70% were both low-income and firstgeneration-to-college, 20% were either low-income or firstgeneration-to-college, and 40% were ethnic minority students. To further evaluate program

impact, TS programs under new grant cycles have a new objective to determine 6-year graduation rates for participants who enter college after high school graduation. The first cohorts were uploaded in Annual Performance Reports submitted this past November 2012. This tracking/reporting effort will be nationwide for all Talent Search programs. Though outcomes will not be reported until 2018, interim tracking of retention will provide staff the opportunity to identify issues preventing students from graduating and address with preventative program interventions. It will also provide a small window of time for staff to offer “stop-outs” assistance in returning to college. To forecast outcomes, Talent Search programs recently completed an assessment to determine the retention of program participants from the class of 2009 who entered the University of Arkansas. Findings revealed that 80% had not only retained, but at a rate 9.7% higher than the institution’s 70.3%. Freshman retention was also evaluated for the most recent class of 2012 to determine continued enrollment from first semester to second semester. Of the freshman

participants, 94.2% remained enrolled at the U of A, a rate surpassing the institution’s 2011 “first term” retention rate of 92.4% (most current available). Of all 2012 participants enrolling in college (U of A and other postsecondary institutions), the class has retained at an overall rate of 92.9%. Looking ahead, preliminary evaluations suggests that Talent Search participation has more than a positive impact in the lives low-income students who would be in the first generation of their family to attend college. Validating the correlation of program participation to college graduation will quantify, without

question, the importance of this investment in the future of our nation, our youth. Contributing Author: Gina Ervin, Director, Talent Search Programs


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Diversity Matters

Issue 2 | May 10, 2013

3rd Annual Latino RSO Expo

• The Office of Latino Academic Advancement and Community Relations, also known as La Oficina Latina, hosted the 3rd Annual Latino RSO Expo on March 6th, 2013 from 11am to 3pm. The event provided free food, music, performances, and information on all Latino RSOs. The Expo was held in the Union Connections Lounge, with the Latino organizations on campus providing entertainment while answering questions on what students could do to get involved. The event is held annually to create awareness of all the Latino RSOs and other University programs that are available on campus. The event celebrated the multiculturalism and leadership that continues to expand the campus community and student body. The following organizations assisted with the Expo:

• • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • •

Conexiones-Peer mentorship program ALPFA-Association of Latino Professional LULAC-League of Latin America Citizens SHPE- Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Gamma Eta Sorority Sigma Iota Alpha Sorority Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity SED-Students and Educators for the DREAM Act UREC- University Recreation LLAGSA- Latino/a and Latin American Graduate Student Association LAST- Latin American Studies LAS-Latino Alumni Society IBO-International Bolivian Organization NWA Biliteracy Study Abroad Office Sigma Delta Pi-Spanish Honors Society University Programs Hispanic Women’s Organization of Arkansas Student Support Services

• • •

HSF- Hispanic Scholarship Fund P.S.O. - Panamanian Student Organization Centrosul Capoeira Arkansas

La Oficina Latina – On-campus Efforts La Oficina Latina is focused on establishing connections, collaboration, and long-lasting partnerships with the community as well as the community at large. On-campus efforts include: The Latino RSOs Luncheon (Fall 2012): Ten Latino RSOs came together to better understand how to team together and better serve the Latino student population enrolled on campus.

Campus Day (March 2013): 9 th and 10th grade students from area High Schools came to campus to learn more about the process of applying to the University of Arkansas. Latino Scholars Day (March 2013): 11th grade college bound students from area High Schools learned about admissions, scholarships, and campus life. NWACC and AmeriCorps (March 2013): Transfer students from the

Northwest Arkansas Community College and area AmeriCorps Workers visited campus for tours and Latino RSOs Expo as well as to get advised on their transition to the University of Arkansas. Community Blood Drive (April 2013): Hispanic Scholarship Fund and Conexiones Latinas teamed up to help enlist students to donate blood and save lives.


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Diversity Matters

Issue 2 | May 10, 2013

Center for Diversity & Multicultural Education Mentoring & Leadership Focus Creating change from the inside out At the University of Arkansas, underrepresented students often face challenges that are detrimental to retention, such as lower levels of academic preparation in high school, lower socioeconomic status, and greater alienation in the institutions. Due to these specific challenges, many institutions report higher dropout rates and lower academic achievement results from minority students. To address these issues, the Center for Multicultural and Diversity Education provides underrepresented students with direct support that will allow for greater growth for individuals, the university and the community. Mentoring programs have become one solution to help with retention issues. The Center oversees several mentoring programs, under the Pathways to Success program. Mentoring has become a popular way to assist first year students in connecting to campus and providing guidance as they

matriculate through to graduation. With an increase of focus on mentorship it is imperative that we continue to work on and improve our programs by providing strong training workshops, more intentional support to the programs and a system of tracking the students as they matriculate. Our mentoring programs have played a major role in the growth in retention rate of minority and underrepresented students at the University of Arkansas. Organization change Our student mentor group, Connections, will become a departmental organization under the Pathways to Success Mentoring Programs maintained by the Center of Multicultural and Diversity Education. This change will allow for better hands on support of Center staff, stipends or incentives to the student executive leaders from each organization, as well as, financial support for trainings, outings, and general meetings and office supplies and materials.

The programs will be structured similar to that of an RSO with an executive board of 5 student leaders, who will be expected to have a monthly meeting with a staff member for planning and review, and a monthly general meeting, which will be designed to bring mentor and mentees together. Training A mentor and leaders training will act as the foundation of educating student leaders to become strong mentors. If mentors are to become more effective leaders they must possess the skills, attitude and communication techniques needed. The training will be designed as a full day workshop, designed to increase the level of competence and expertise of our student leaders. This training workshop will be an effective way to help students gain a greater sense of ownership and responsibility for the mentorship programs.


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Diversity Matters

Issue 2 | May 10, 2013

4th Annual Dead Day Pancake Breakfast The Center for Multicultural & Diversity Education ended the semester with the annual Pancake Breakfast event with nearly 300 student attendees

The Dead Day Pancake Breakfast, this semester held on May 3, 2013, is a way for the departments of Diversity Affairs to give back to the students and encourage them in their final week of studies on campus. Hosted by the Center for Multicultural and Diversity Education, this year's breakfast was one of the most successful with nearly 300 students attending.

Students enjoyed ‘homemade’ pancakes along with additional breakfast items catered by Chartwells. The event, which began at 9am, was open to all students. Special thanks to the College of Engineering, Walton College of Business and Chartwells Catering for their generous donations, as well as to all volunteers and servers.

CAI Updates v In 2013, College Access Admissions, CAI has established campus, June 23-28 and July 14Initiative (CAI) entered its a partnership with the Cherokee 19, and aims to serve 200 second-year partnership with Nation Foundation. The students with intensive ACT the ALPFA Institute and its collaboration, jointly funded by prep and other college ALPFA Academy, serving CAI and the foundation, will readiness training. Northwest Arkansas high serve Oklahoma high schools in v With CAI support, Pine Bluff schools with leadership and the Cherokee Nation with ACT High School launched an college readiness training for outreach. The program, open to ACT/college readiness elective Latino high school students. all students in participating course this semester. Pine Bluff CAI will offer after-school schools, kicked off this spring in became an established CAI ACT courses in Springdale, Watts, Stilwell and Westville partner at the school and Rogers, Fayetteville and high schools. community level, with regular Bentonville high schools. v CAI has released applications for visits to Pine Bluff High School v Together with Emerald Hames, the 2013 ACT Academy. The and frequent after-school Assistant Director for Native program will host two five-night, workshops hosted by local American Outreach in five-day residential programs on community groups.


Issue 2 | May 10, 2013

Upcoming Events 2nd Annual Latino Question: Mentoring & Advising June 2013 Professional Development for all Arkansas educators. The event’s goal is to highlight special issues that Latinos in our schools face. This year’s theme is mentorship and advising with campus Latino RSOs serving on panels and sharing their experiences.

iConnect Kick-Off August 24, 2013 9am-1:30pm iConnect, formerly known as Real World, is a yearlong program, which gives underrepresented students a comprehensive introduction to the University of Arkansas. The program familiarizes students with campus resources that exist to ensure their success, and provides a series of academic workshops designed to address specific challenges students may encounter in their first year on campus.

ACT Academy Session I - June 23-28 Session II - July 14-19 ACT Academy is a residential college readiness program serving more than 200 high school students. iBridge August 11-24, 2013 iBridge is a transitional program for incoming freshmen who will be introduced to college coursework, research, and resources through an intensive two-week curriculum.

Admin 427 University of Arkansas Fayetteville, AR 72701

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