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Five U of M Programs Receive Access Diversity Grants from TBR
For release: September 21, 2007
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The Tennessee Board of Regents has awarded five Access Diversity grants to the University of Memphis.  The grants illustrate TBR’s commitment to increasing the education level of all Tennessee citizens and a belief in the value of diversity in the educational process.  “While the programs are designed for issues related to the U of M campus, they are addressing issues that are shared across the country related to future growth in the areas of access and diversity,” said Michelle Banks, U of M access/diversity coordinator. “The proposals selected cover many different aspects of camps life and will benefit faculty, students, staff, and the community.”

The goals of the Leadership Challenge program are to develop a diverse core of staff who are prepared to compete for supervisory and managerial positions, to improve participants’ ability to compete for leadership positions, to expand their leadership skills, and to improve their understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of various leadership approaches. The project is led by Harriet Montgomery, assistant vice president of human resources for the University.  It received a grant of $17,560.

The program for Minority Undergraduate Mentoring and Immersion in Research is designed to increase the number of under-represented minorities with science and technology training and in science and technology careers. The program is specifically for chemistry students. The goal is to produce an active and vibrant minority chemistry community and a campus committed to minority development, thereby enhancing the University’s ability to attract minority faculty and students. The project leader is Ted Burkey, U of M professor of chemistry.  The grant was for $13,800.

The FRESH Peer Mentor Program will work to increase the fall-to-fall retention rate of freshmen from under-represented groups and raise the overall grade point average of students from under-represented populations. The program will provide students with resources, services, technologies, and facilities that promote degree completion and offer experiences that foster engagement and success in the classroom and out. The project leader is Lonnie Latham, U of M associate dean of students for minority affairs.  Its grant was for $38,176.

Exploring History Through Photography will allow U of M faculty, staff, and students, along with high school students, to communicate the national significance of the Memphis community and to become invested in the region. The program is based on an Art Museum/Museum Studies program in which students in Orange Mound created a photographic and oral history of that neighborhood. The program will teach high school students basic photography, library and archive use, and the fundamentals of primary source historical research. The project, led by Leslie Leubbers, director of the U of M Art Museum, received a grant of $10,000.

Promoting and Facilitating the Enactment of Diversity Standards by Faculty and Staff will promote the enactment of College of Education diversity standards through a series of events for faculty and staff, including a two-part seminar, a symposium, and a retreat, and also through establishment of a diversity standards committee and creation of a standards manual. The project is led by Paul Wright, assistant professor and College of Education liaison for urban education and received a grant of $10,000.

The Access Diversity grant program was created following the dismissal last September of the Geier federal desegregation lawsuit against all of Tennessee’s institutions of higher learning.  TBR then began to explore new and innovative approaches to address access and diversity issues within its system of schools, and the grant program was the result.  Schools within the TBR system competed for the grants.

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