MADISON, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will honor the third annual winners of its Regents Diversity Awards on February 11 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.
The awards honor winners in three distinct categories. This year’s winners are:
- Individual category: Howard Spearman, Director of the Multicultural Mentoring Program in UW-Milwaukee’s Lubar School of Business. Under Spearman’s leadership, the program connects multicultural students with business professionals in the Milwaukee area for a one-on-one, year-long mentoring relationship. The mentors assist students with developing their academic and career goals, as well as enhancing their networking skills. Participation in the Multicultural Mentoring Program has grown from 17 students when it was launched in 2005, to 50 students in 2009. Observers of the program say it produces more confident, prepared, and connected students.
- Team category: Community Liaison Counselors in UW-Oshkosh’s Admissions Office. The team of four full-time and one part-time staff members specifically targets the recruitment and enrollment of students from the African-American, Hispanic and Latino, Hmong/Asian, and Native American populations. Since the team’s founding 10 years ago, there has been a 313% increase in the number of applications received from students of color at UW-Oshkosh, and a 238% increase in the number of students of color enrolled. In 2010, more than 11% of first-year students at UW-Oshkosh identified themselves as students of color.
- Institutional/unit category: UW-Milwaukee’s Southeast Asian American Student Services (SAASS). Originally founded in 1986 to support Southeast Asian students at UW-Milwaukee following the Vietnam War, the program evolved 20 years later to encompass U.S.-born students of Southeast Asian backgrounds. The program has produced significant results by recognizing the different advising needs of students from refugee and immigrant backgrounds. Over the last decade, the program has generated increased recruitment among Southeast Asian students, as well as increased retention and graduation rates. In the fall of 1990, there were 93 Southeast Asian students attending UW-Milwaukee. By fall 2010, that number reached 725 – a 633% change. Currently, UW-Milwaukee has the largest Southeast Asian student population in the UW System.
“The winners of this year’s Regents Diversity Awards may follow different strategies in meeting their goals, but they also share a few important priorities,” said Regent José Vásquez, who chaired the special Regents’ committee to determine the winners. “Each displays a genuine respect for human differences, attentiveness to the learning process, and a keen responsiveness to students and their educational needs. We are proud to recognize their accomplishments with these awards.”
The winners will be honored at an awards ceremony on Feb. 11, in conjunction with the Board of Regents meeting. Each winner will receive funding to support the recipients’ professional development or to continue the program being honored.