The UW System Board of Regents will honor the tenth annual recipients of its Regents’ Diversity Awards on February 9 in Madison at the next Regents meeting. These awards recognize individuals and programs that foster access and success for students who are members of historically underrepresented populations. Each recipient will receive $5,000 to support professional development or continue the program being honored.

“The exceptional people and programs we selected for this year’s Regents’ Diversity Awards are increasing opportunity for Wisconsin residents,” said Regent Mark Tyler, who chaired the special Regents’ committee to determine the recipients. “We are pleased to recognize their incredible dedication to building partnerships that augment campus educational pipeline efforts and promote success for all student populations.”

Award recipients were selected using the following criteria:

  • Sustainable positive impact on equity and diversity, leading to positive institutional change
  • Accountability demonstrated through routine assessment and feedback to promote forward movement on equity and diversity goal
  • Intersections across multiple dimensions of diversity
  • Collaborations with other units, departments, or communities – within the institution and beyond

The 2018 recipients are:

  • Individual: Bee Vang, Program Director, Upward Bound, UW-River Falls.
    Vang joined UW-River Falls’ Upward Bound program in 2010 as a program advisor and was promoted to director in 2011. Under her leadership, the federal TRIO Upward Bound grant has been successfully renewed twice (2012-17 and 2017-22) through the U.S. Department of Education’s competitive grant process. Vang hires, supervises, trains, and evaluates one full-time academic advisor, 10 part-time student workers, and eight part-time instructors to help prepare low-income and first-generation high school students for college. Through Vang’s commitment to ensuring every student is successful, 100 percent of the students in the Upward Bound program’s partner school, Washington Technology Magnet School, have been accepted to post-secondary education each year. Vang is recognized for promoting partnerships, including with the university’s six-week summer program; the McNair Scholars program; TRIO Student Support Services; and STEMteach, a program that allows student teachers to interact with high school youth. Vang selects student designates to attend the National Student Leadership Congress held annually in Washington, D.C., where they cultivate civic leadership and speak to Congress on Capitol Hill.
  • Team: Sociocultural Programming, UW-Milwaukee.
    Under the leadership of Claudia Guzmán, with the assistance of two student employees, Sociocultural Programming creates spaces and experiences that help students of color feel connected to and valued by their campus community. In collaboration with more than 60 distinct partners, on and off campus, Sociocultural Programming offers about 50 programs serving more than 6,000 participants annually. A successful partnership with the Muslim Student Association in the spring of 2017 brought Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to campus for the distinguished lecture series; more than 1,100 students and community members participated in this meaningful conversation about Abdul-Jabbar’s identity as a Muslim, athlete, and activist. Sociocultural Programming has developed learning outcomes for all 10 of its cornerstone programs and annually assesses at least one program series to determine impact. Key performance indicators include audience size, demographics, surveys to measure learning outcomes, and internal debriefs among staff to ensure continuous improvement. The program reaches beyond campus to partner with organizations across the Greater Milwaukee Area and sponsors field trips exploring and connecting students to community assets throughout the city.
  • Team: Upward Bound Program, UW-Eau Claire.
    For nearly three decades, the UW-Eau Claire Upward Bound program has had a significant impact on closing the opportunity and equity gap for low-income, first-generation college students. The program provides academic support during the school year through weekly study sessions and tutoring, social and cultural enrichment activities, and personal and career counseling. Program director Kimamo Wahome has incorporated data collection and feedback loops to monitor and track program effectiveness. For the past five years, students in the program have had a retention rate between 97 and 100 percent. A high percentage of low-income, first-generation, and Southeast Asian students graduate and enroll in post-secondary institutions – 90 to 100 percent over the last five years of the grant cycle. Historically, similar results can be seen since the inception of the program in 1990. The program collaborates with many community entities, including the Boys and Girls Club; Chippewa Valley Technical College; area middle and high schools; and a variety of community non-profit organizations to fulfill a service-learning requirement.

Other members of the selection committee included Regent Eve Hall, Regent Tim Higgins, and Regent Ryan Ring.

Media Contacts

Stephanie Marquis Board of Regents and UW System Administration
Michael Rindo UW-Eau Claire 715-836-4742
Beth Schommer UW-River Falls (715) 425-0662
Tom Luljak UW-Milwaukee (414) 229-4035