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U of M Receives Award for Promoting Inclusive Graduate Community
For release: Dec. 19, 2006
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The University of Memphis has received the prestigious CGS/Peterson’s Award for Innovation in Promoting an Inclusive Graduate Community. The annual award is sponsored by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) and Peterson’s, a leading provider of information and advice on graduate admission, test preparation, and financial aid.  Dr. Karen Weddle-West, vice provost for graduate programs, accepted the award last week at the CGS annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

First presented in 1994, the annual award recognizes innovative institutional programs that seek the identification, recruitment, retention, and graduation of minority graduate students. The winning institution receives $20,000 toward implementation and administration of the program.  Programs are selected based on their ability to demonstrate creative approaches that enhance current recruitment practices and that can serve as models for other institutions.

This year’s winning proposal is entitled “Replicating a Successful Model for Enhancing Diversity in Graduate School at the University of Memphis: Extending the Pipeline.” The U of M is nationally known for its successful rates of graduating scholars from underrepresented populations in general, and particularly for its diversity in the doctoral program in philosophy, a discipline that typically has not produced large numbers of graduates from underrepresented populations.  The Philosophy Department at the U of M, however, produces the largest number of minority doctorates in the country, attracts some of the brightest scholars, and represents the model that will be copied. 

The award will be used to establish a CGS/Peterson’s Inclusive Graduate Community Competitive Grant process in the U of M Graduate School. Faculty members will be invited to submit proposals to travel to selected institutions and/or invite prospective scholars from underserved populations to graduate research forums and other scholarly activities at the U of M. 

Faculty and peer mentors from the University of Memphis will use these visits to meet prospective students, complete admissions requirements, and facilitate their induction into graduate school. Priority in funding will be given to proposals from the STEM areas (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) due to the relatively low numbers of women and minorities pursuing doctorates in these areas.

 “At a time when our society is becoming more diverse, it is imperative that colleges and universities prepare more graduate students from underrepresented populations for leadership roles in professions, research, and academic careers,” said U of M President Shirley Raines. “Dr. Weddle-West’s proposal builds on our successes and strengthens our graduate programs at the University of Memphis.”

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