The University of Texas at Austin received the first annual Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine on Nov. 16. The university will be featured along with 47 other recipients in the December 2012 issue of the magazine. Schools were selected based on their initiatives to promote diversity, including those focused on race, ethnicity, gender, disabilities, veteran status and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.
Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, vice president for diversity and community engagement, said, “Given our global society, it is imperative the education of our future leaders includes the benefits of a culturally and intellectually diverse campus environment. The University of Texas at Austin is strongly committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive campus that promotes a robust exchange of ideas, cross-racial and cross-cultural understanding, and the opportunity for all to participate. The HEED award reflects the strength of our commitment and success in enriching the campus culture.”
On October 10, Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement Dr. Gregory J. Vincent joined University of Texas President Bill Powers in Washington, D.C. for the Supreme Court hearing on Fisher v. University of Texas. But three student representatives from the DDCE’s Multicultural Engagement Center also had the opportunity to travel to D.C. in order to speak in front of the Supreme Court building on the Fisher case. For each of these students, the experience was one of a lifetime, and all were proud to be able to Support UT and be able to assert their personal stances on Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin.
Jennfier Tran, a member of the Asian Desi Pacific Islander American Collective and Joshua Tang, a member of Students for Equity and Diversity, received invitations to speak at the Supreme Court from the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “It was surreal getting the invitation. I was incredibly flattered that they extended that opportunity to me” said Tran. “How many times do you get presented an opportunity like that in life, especially as an undergraduate at age 20? It was so gratifying to be able to share my opinions on the Fisher case, as well as my life and experiences at the University of Texas.” Read more.
The U.S. Department of Education recently awarded The University of Texas at Austin's Division of Diversity and Community Engagement a $1.1 million five-year contract to continue participation in the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program. Additionally, the university’s Office of Student Financial Services (OSFS) has established a new scholarship fund for the McNair Scholars, which provides the scholars $1,000 for each long semester as long as they remain enrolled at the university and in the program.
The McNair Scholars Program prepares first-generation and low-income students as well as students from underrepresented populations and is one of two federally funded TRIO programs on campus. Read more.
The Greater Texas Foundation (GTF) has awarded Project MALES a grant for $335,314 to support Hispanic and African American male student success in college enrollment and degree attainment. Project MALES is an initiative within the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin.
The grant will be awarded over a three-year period starting in summer 2013 to support the Texas Higher Education Consortium for Male Student Success, an ambitious statewide initiative that will align existing programs that target underrepresented male students in higher education and stimulate new initiatives within Texas colleges and universities. Read more.
There was not a seat unfilled when UT Outreach San Antonio hosted a Gates Millennium Scholarship Information Session at Café College on Thursday, October 18. Sarah Rodriguez, a UT doctoral student and Gates Millennium scholarship recipient, provided a comprehensive session on the application process. Ms. Rodriguez included a writing activity to provide students with constructive critiques of their GMS application responses and an overview of how the scholarship had benefited her.
“The purpose of the GMS workshop was to provide high school seniors with a clear understanding of the application process and to share insightful tips that could increase the strength of their submission,” said Dr. Rose Martinez, Executive Director for UT Outreach of South Texas. Read more.
Six hundred and fifty-six students from Dr. Leonard Moore’s two classes signed up for Engage Austin!—a community service event held October 21 that was facilitated by the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence (LCAE) and the Volunteer and Service Learning Center (VSLC). Moore, associate vice president for academic diversity initiatives and student engagement, knew he wanted his students enrolled in the “Race in the Age of Obama” and “Black Power” courses to become involved in the community and to learn about unmet needs and social problems within the greater Austin community. Read more.
In this fall’s Free Minds classes, you might notice an ambitious young man with his hand raised high in the air, eager to participate in discussions. His professors and classmates adore his enthusiasm for performing scenes from the class readings, as well as his enunciation of Shakespearian dialogue. But not too long ago, a deep loathing of essay writing deterred James Price from applying to the program.
“I had been seeing Free Minds memorabilia since 2007, and I just blew it off,” he said. “I gotta write an essay? Nah, I’m not doing that.” Then in 2012, something changed. “It finally hit me. I need to do something that really takes me beyond my abyss.” Read more.