By Dr. Tommy Darwin
The Pipeline Retreat on September 24th was an impressive reminder of the breadth and depth of DDCE’s efforts to get young folks into college and from college on to productive lives. Dr. Aileen Bumphus welcomed the 35 staff members in attendance and facilitated a teambuilding activity. This was especially helpful since a number of new staff members were present. Dr. Kenya Walker provided an update on the effectiveness of the Pipeline in 2012, and how well it is meeting its performance goals. Dr. Ge Chen discussed the Pipeline Council’s priorities for the 2013-2014 academic year and some steps that have already been made toward progress.
From there, the entire group had a chance to brainstorm different ways to build on the success of and expand the Pipeline’s efforts going forward. This was done with breakout groups that worked on the calendar of events for the upcoming year. In addition to filling in gaps on the calendar, it was a great opportunity for different elements of the Pipeline effort to learn what each unit does, and to get to work with each other.
As a newcomer to this element of DDCE’s efforts, I was very impressed by the breadth and impact of the Division’s efforts on a very wide range of youth throughout the state. The other aspect of our Pipeline efforts that was very striking is the ways in which it as much a network as a pipeline – many overlapping and interlocking efforts to help as many youth as possible get to college and realize their potential.
Founded in 1995 as an event sponsored by The University of Texas at Austin, the Barbara Jordan Historical Essay Competition moved to its new home with UIL Academics in 2011-2012. Additionally, the Latino History Essay Competition, founded in 2011 by the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement also moved to UIL Academics beginning with the 2012-2013 school year. Both UIL essay competitions help further DDCE’s goal of providing opportunities for underserved and underrepresented students and communities.
The Barbara Jordan Historical Essay Competition provides students an opportunity to explore the contributions of African Americans to Texas history, as well as honoring the legacy of its namesake, Barbara Jordan. The theme of the competition is “African Americans in Texas: Past and Present.” Essays focus on individuals or groups who may not be well-known figures but who have made significant contributions to African American history or culture in Texas.
In its initial year, the Latino History Essay Competition was open to students in South Texas and beginning in 2012-2013, entries were accepted from students statewide. Essays focus on prominent or relatively unknown Latino individuals, organizations or movements in Texas history that have influenced the latino communities.
By Dr. Ge Chen
Spring 2013 is a busy but exciting semester for the programs in the portfolio of Academic Diversity Initiatives working toward achievement of the Pipeline Goal of the DDCE Strategic Plan. There are numerous end-of-year events to celebrate participants’ academic achievements and graduating seniors as they move on to college, graduate school and their first professional jobs.
208 Pre-College Academic Readiness Program (PCARP) and UT Outreach students from Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and the Rio Grande Valley have been admitted to UT Austin for the fall 2013. These students participated in the full campus experience at Longhorn Preview Day on Friday, February 22. They met with many faculty, staff and students to learn about different aspects of college life. They heard motivational speeches from Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement, and from Dr. Leonard Moore, Associate Vice President for Academic Diversity Initiatives and Civic Engagement. They had a residence hall tour, lunch in Jester, and visited with Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence (LCAE) staff to learn about the many programs offered though the center.
Staff at LCAE hope that all of these students will join the 2017 Longhorn graduating class and participate in LCAE programs in Fall 2013. LCAE is also working closely with Admissions and other academic success programs to invite other incoming freshmen. 600 selection letters went out in mid-March. As of today, over 250 students have confirmed their participation in the Gateway Scholars Program or Longhorn Link Program. In response to the 4-year graduation initiative, the Gateway Scholars Program is expanding to serve over 500 freshmen in the 2013-14 academic year.
In fall 2012, the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement completed an update on progress toward implementing the inaugural strategic plan. The 2012-2013 progress report provides highlights of accomplishments from the first implementation year (2011-2012) and priorities for the second year (2012-2013). It is also available in the sidebar on the right of this page.
The Division also released an overview of the full strategic plan, which is now posted on The Plan page. A special thank you to Senior Graphic Designer for DDCE, Ron Bowdoin, and Digital Media Manager, Jason Molin, who make the strategic plan come to life on the page and on screen!