Pre-K – Graduate/Professional School Pipeline Strategic Goal: Create a successful pathway for first-generation and underrepresented students as they progress from pre-K through graduate and professional school.

On this page, you will find updated information and current activities within the Pipeline goal. For more information about the goal and specific objectives, click here.

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 DiscoverLaw.org 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. DiscoverLaw.org 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 DiscoverLaw.org summer session will begin on Monday, July 13, 2015.


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



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.

Essay1 Essay2


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.