By Dr. Stella Smith


The University of Texas at Austin and the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE) participated in the American Education Research Association (AERA) Conference held in Chicago, Illinois on April 16-20, 2015. Themed Toward Justice Cultural, Language and Heritage in Educational Research and Praxis, the meeting highlighted research that “considered how education praxis, research, theory, and policy can change the world—toward more justice.” Many DDCE faculty fellows, alums, staff and graduate students presented research, attended pre-conference sessions, and served in chair and discussant roles.

Selected conference presentations included:

An Exploratory Study of Women’s Experiences of Gender Influence in Higher Education Leadership – Anna Drake, UT-Austin; Laura Struve, UT-Austin; Jessica M. Khalaf, UT-Austin

Utilizing Intersectionality to Engage Dialogue in Higher Education – Betty Jeanne Taylor, UT-Austin; Claudia García-Louis, UT-Austin

Latino Males Navigating the Community College Environment and Family Obligations – Victor Saenz, UT-Austin; Claudia García-Louis, UT-Austin; Tonia Guida, UT-Austin; Anna Drake, UT-Austin

Bridging the Gap: A Case Study Examining Student Success in a Summer Bridge Program – Charles Lu, UT-Austin; Ashley N. Stone, UT-Austin; Carmen DeLas Mercedez, UT-Austin; Anthony Heaven, UT-Austin

Latina/o Student Success in Mathematics: Examining the Effects of Gender and Academic Engagement on Math Performance – Victor Saenz, UT-Austin; Claudia García-Louis, UT-Austin; Kye Hyoung Lee, UT-Austin; Carmen DeLas Mercedez, UT-Austin; Sarah Rodriguez, UT-Austin

Responding to Hate on Campus: Examining Administrative Leadership of Bias Response Teams – Ryan Miller, UT-Austin; Tonia Guida, UT-Austin; Stella L. Smith, UT-Austin; Sarah Kiersten Ferguson, Southern Methodist University; Elizabeth Medina, UT-Austin

More information about AERA and the 2015 Conference can be found at

logo 2014

In November 2014, UT-Austin and DDCE participated in the 39th Annual Conference of the Association for the Study of Higher Education in Washington, D.C. The conference theme, Weaving Scholarship and Policy Making, provided an opportunity for researchers and policy makers to dialogue about issues in higher education. DDCE faculty fellows, alumni, staff and graduate students presented research at the conference.

Selected conference presentations included:

Understanding the Purposes and Operations of Bias Response Teams

Ryan Miller – UT-Austin

Tonia F. Guida – University of California, Los Angeles

Stella Smith – UT-Austin

Elizabeth Medina – UT-Austin

Sarah Kiersten Ferguson – Southern Methodist University

Las Mujeres in the STEM Pipeline: How Latina College Students who

Persist in STEM Majors Develop and Sustain their Science Identities

Sarah Rodriguez – UT-Austin

The Role of Family in the Lives of Latina Graduate Students

Veronica Pecero – Ohio State University

Carmen De Las Mercedez Finch – UT-Austin

“We are leaders in a movement” – Impact of the Peers for Pride

Program on Student Facilitators

Stella Smith – UT-Austin

Sarah Kiersten Ferguson – Southern Methodist University

Community Service Project with Howard University

and ASHE members

Lori Patton Davis – Indiana University

Judith Marquez Kiyama – University of Denver

Lisa Wolf-Wendel – University of Kansas

Richard Reddick – UT-Austin

Luis Leyva – Rutgers University

Samuel Museus – University of Denver

Scott Thomas – Claremont Graduate University

Intersections of Disability, Gender, Sexuality: Centering the Identities

of LGBTQ Students with Disabilities

Ryan Miller – UT-Austin

Barriers to “Leaning In”: An Exploratory Study of Career

Advancement for Women in Higher Education Administration

Anna Drake – UT-Austin

Jessica Khalaf – UT-Austin

Laura Struve – UT-Austin

A Critical Examination of the Effect of Institutional Policies on

African American Women in Leadership at Select Texas Institutions

Leslie Coward – University of Texas

Stella Smith – UT-Austin

Kimberly Koledoye – Houston Community College

The Complicated Role of Fathers in Latino Male Post-Secondary

Educational Success: A Texas Perspective

Victor Saenz – UT-Austin

Sarah Rodriguez – UT-Austin

Carmen Mercedes – UT-Austin

Daisy Pena – UT-Austin

Humberto Alanis – UT-Austin

More information about ASHE can be found at



By Dr. Stella Smith

On April 29, 2015 Dr. Kiersten Ferguson and Dr. Stella Smith, members of the Gender and Sexuality Center’s Peers for Pride (PfP) research team, participated in the 2015 Peers for Pride Final Performance and shared findings from their research sPfPtudy, determining how participating in the Peers for Pride program impacted the lives of PfP facilitators. The Peers for Pride program weaves together concepts of student identity development, social justice, and leadership while preparing students with peer facilitation skills. In this qualitative case study, the researchers interviewed peer facilitators from the six cohorts of PfP and conducted extensive document review to examine social change leadership development. Different aspects of this research were also presented at the national conferences of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) and the University Council on Educational Administration (UCEA) in November 2014. More information about the Peers for Pride Program can be found at


By Dr. Aileen Bumphus

Through coordinated efforts with our Pipeline programs, Academic Diversity Initiatives (ADI) is continuing to focus on one of our 2014-15 DDCE strategic plan priorities —encouraging first generation/underrepresented students’ matriculation through higher education, especially at the The University of Texas at Austin. Through Dr. Leonard Moore’s leadership, ADI has worked closely with our Outreach Centers and UT Office of Admissions to provide several opportunities to engage graduating seniors and their families as they make their college decisions. These included taking ADI staff members to targeted high schools across the state to work personally with the high school staff in creating programs and workshops designed to address specific college admissions questions that the students and parents have. As a result, the University has demonstrated a significant increase in the number of underrepresented students applying to UT. Additionally, there has been a substantial increase in the number of UT admission offers made to underrepresented students. This is due in part to an innovative initiative, Texas Advance, which is a major new scholarship opportunity aimed at supporting the success of economically disadvantaged individuals who have proven themselves by performing at the top of their high school classes. Pipeline Council sub-committee work also continues as we discuss the development of new strategies for engaging our appropriate partners.

Finally, we have successfully launched our prelaw program that is another pipeline opportunity for underrepresented students to matriculate into law school. This is a three-year pilot that will bring in 20 students each year. The Prelaw Undergraduate Scholars (PLUS) program is an initiative of the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) and is offered through collaboration between Huston-Tillotson University (HT) and The University of Texas at Austin (UT). The program is administered by the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence (LCAE), a unit of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE) at The University of Texas at Austin. The five-week residential program will help students learn more about the legal profession and what is needed to earn a law degree. PLUS focuses on the skills required to get into and succeed in law school and successfully pursue a range of careers in the legal field. The program is free for students selected to participate, and is funded by a grant from LSAC. The 2015 summer session will begin on Monday, July 13, 2015.


By Ryan Miller

In its third full academic year of operation, the Campus Climate Response Team continues to support those who experience acts of bias at the university, connect university leaders working toward an inclusive campus environment, and collect and share data related to campus climate. The Campus Culture goal of the DDCE Strategic Plan aligned with the Campus Climate Response Work Group Report to call for creation of the CCRT to address bias incidents affecting the university community.

This spring, the team released its second Trend Report detailing bias incidents reported during the 2013-2014 academic year, as well as the responses coordinated by CCRT. During the 2013-14 academic year (including summer 2014), the team received 670 reports regarding 69 separate bias incidents. Of note in this year’s report are new sections that detail incidents reported 10 or more times to the team.

The 2013-2014 Campus Climate Trend Report is available at:

To accompany the Trend Report, CCRT also released an opinion piece in The Daily Texan outlining the team’s purpose and function:

Anyone who experiences a bias incident on campus is encouraged to report it to the Campus Climate Response Team by visiting:

Anyone encountering a situation that requires immediate police, medical, psychological or other emergency services should call 911 or the University of Texas Police Department (UTPD) at 512-471-4441 for assistance, during regular business hours and during the evening, weekends, and holidays.


By Dr. Eric Dieter

Thanks to the dedication and expertise of Suzanne Wallen, Associate Director of Development for the DDCE, the Educational Pipeline is happy to announce receipt of a substantial grant from Sooch Foundation.

Sooch Foundation, a privately funded charity based in Austin, describes their mission as making “positive and permanent change in the lives of economically disadvantaged people in Austin through increased educational opportunities.” When looking for projects to fund, Sooch Foundation focuses on “nonprofit organizations that implement innovative solutions to long-lasting problems in education.”

We believe the work done in the Longhorn Center for School Partnership (LCSP) fits that bill, and evidently Sooch agrees. Their generous grant of $55,000 helps LCSP carry on the Educational Pipeline’s stated strategic goal of providing “a continuous pathway for students to achieve their highest postsecondary goals.”

The Sooch Foundation grant specifically allows LCSP to “deepen our college access and readiness work at Reagan High School,” according to Ms. Wallen, who specializes in corporate and foundation relations. Reagan High School, located in northeast Austin, is part of the Austin Independent School District (AISD). In recent years the school transformed itself into an “early college high school,” where students can earn sixty college credit hours while earning their high school diplomas. Reagan is an important and longstanding participant in LCSP programs. With the help from Sooch Foundation, we look forward to growing our collaborations with Reagan.

A smaller portion of the Sooch Foundation grant is earmarked for another exciting opportunity, the piloting of a student data management system. Over the last couple of years, the Pipeline Council has explored the best way to integrate information about students from across Educational Pipeline units into a coordinated, longitudinal, and user-friendly data system.

The most comprehensive and appropriate student data system for Pipeline purposes appears to be CoPilot. CoPilot is the creation of another Austin-based nonprofit, College Forward, that offers intensive college “coaching” for students transitioning from high school to college using a “near peer” mentor model.

CoPilot is built on Salesforce, a customer relationship management platform common in the business world. But CoPilot was intentionally designed as a “cloud-based application for capturing a 360-degree view of student information.” It was designed to keep student data safe and clean.

LCSP Assistant Vice President Patrick Patterson is leading the CoPilot test. Simon Hughes, Director of Information Technology Services for the DDCE, has been integral to ensuring the secure and efficient implementation of the system. CoPilot allows LCSP staff, as stated in the Sooch Foundation proposal, “to track trends and measure progress” of students, at Reagan High, and at elementary, middle, and high schools served by LCSP units across Texas.

LCSP staff is currently starting the process of training with College Forward’s CoPilot team. The goal is to have the system operational for the next academic year. Depending on the results of the pilot period, perhaps CoPilot will eventually be commonplace across DDCE units.

Learn more:

Sooch Foundation


College Forward


CoPilot Student Information Application


Early College High Schools


DDCE Pipeline Council