MADISON, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will honor the fifth annual winners of its Regents’ Diversity Awards on February 8 in Madison. The awards program was established by the Board to recognize and support individuals and programs in the UW System that foster access and success in university life for historically underrepresented populations.
This year’s winners are:
- Individual category: Angela Bauer, Professor of Human Biology and Special Assistant to the Provost, UW-Green Bay. To address concerns that relatively few students of color were choosing to major in the sciences, Dr. Bauer worked with the American Intercultural Center on campus to develop the Targeted Opportunities for Success in Science (TOSS) workshop program. The workshops, which featured weekly study review sessions while encouraging more connections with peers, focused on eliminating the achievement gap that often exists between multicultural and white students in the foundation or gateway science courses. The initial TOSS program for Introductory Human Biology has successfully closed that gap for four straight semesters. In addition, the number of students of color who have gone on to declare a Human Biology major at UW-Green Bay has increased by almost 30% between 2008 and 2011. Dr. Bauer, a member of the faculty since 1997, also has been involved with UW System’s Give Students a Compass Project and the Equity Scorecard, both of which aim to reduce or eliminate inequities in educational opportunities and outcomes.
- Individual category: Douglass Henderson, Professor of Engineering Physics, College of Engineering, UW-Madison. A member of the UW-Madison faculty for more than two decades, Dr. Henderson worked with the UW Graduate School to develop the Graduate Engineering Research Scholars (GERS) program, a unique fellowship program designed to offer students a support network of peers as part of a community of UW-Madison engineering graduate students, faculty, and staff. The larger goal of the program is to increase the number of underrepresented minority graduate students in Engineering receiving doctoral degrees, and to increase the likelihood that they will eventually pursue a career as a faculty member. When it started in 1998, the GERS program served just three underrepresented minority Ph.D. students in the College of Engineering. Currently, there are 51. Over the past decade, 46 Ph.D. students have graduated from the program – up from just 17 graduates in the previous nine years. In 2009, Dr. Henderson was one of 15 honorees nationwide to receive a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring from the National Science Foundation, in recognition of exceptional mentoring efforts.
- Team category: McNair Scholars Program, UW-Whitewater. Since 1992, the McNair Scholars Program has prepared multicultural, first-generation, and low-income students for graduate study and eventual careers as faculty. The program, named for the astronaut Ronald E. McNair, is a federal TRIO program funded at about 200 institutions across the United States and Puerto Rico by the U.S. Department of Education. The UW-Whitewater program, currently led by Director Samantha Samreth, provides educational and professional role models for students as well as enhanced preparation in writing, critical thinking, technology, research methodology, applied research and test taking. A central feature of the program is the mentoring each student receives from faculty members on their individual research projects, which they go on to present at regional and national conferences. The program has graduated 99% of its participants (190 of 192), with more than 80% of those going on to graduate school. UW-Whitewater Chancellor Richard Telfer notes that the McNair program has helped to transform the campus. “Rather than focusing on remediation, the McNair program emphasizes possibilities and accomplishment,” he said.
“It is gratifying to see the commitment of so many to addressing the education debt we owe to historically underrepresented student populations,” said Regent John Drew, who chaired the special Regents’ committee to determine the winners. “The people and programs we are honoring with the Regents’ Diversity Awards should be recognized and applauded for their leadership in helping to make our UW institutions a place where all students can succeed and thrive.”
Other members of the selection committee included Regent Tracy Hribar, Regent Edmund Manydeeds, and Regent José Vásquez.
The winners will be honored at an awards ceremony on Feb. 8, in conjunction with the Board of Regents meeting. Each winner will receive funding to support professional development or to continue the program being honored.
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