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Affirmative Action Incentive Grants fund nine proposals

Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 31 - May 21, 1998

The Equal Opportunity Affirmative Action Office and the Office of the Provost awarded nine Affirmative Action Incentive Grants for 1998-99, selected from 27 proposals, according to Pat Hyer, associate provost for academic administration.
The annual allocation for the program is $20,000--half from the Provost's Office and half from EO/AA, Hyer said. The selection committee is composed of EO/AA Committee members. The program supports projects designed to demonstrate the effectiveness of new approaches to promote affirmative action; activities which will enhance the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women, minority members, and people with disabilities; programs that will encourage behavioral and attitudinal changes supportive of diversity, and thereby improve the campus environment for women, minority members, and people with disabilities; and studies seeking ways to improve Virginia Tech's ability to monitor and evaluate its diversity programs
Winning projects, project leaders, award amounts, and program descriptions follow:
The College of Arts and Sciences Peer Mentoring Program: Richard Rich, Cultural Diversity Committee of the College of Arts and Sciences, $2,500--The project establishes a college-wide peer-mentoring program for new students of non-dominant cultural background entering Virginia Tech in fall 1998. The goal of the program is to promote academic excellence, to aid retention, and to help ensure graduation by providing student-to-student connection and inclusion in the university community.
Enhancing Recruitment of Diverse Graduate Students in Sociology: Toni Calasanti, associate professor of sociology, $2,500--The continuation grant will allow the department's minority recruiter to expand and solidify minority-student recruitment efforts for the doctoral program in social inequality, to make additional progress on curriculum development for the concentration in diversity studies, and to work closely with the directors of women's studies and black studies on this new graduate program of mutual interest.
Hispanic Heritage Month at Virginia Tech: Jessica Ranero, a graduate student in Student Personnel Services who is working for Multi-cultural Programs in the Dean of Students Office, $2,500--This grant helps create the first celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month at Virginia Tech, scheduled for October, 1998. A full slate of activities has been planned, including a major speaker, musical and dance performances, lunch discussions, and ethnic food tasting.
A Training Module for Mentors of First Year Women and Minority Engineering Students: Leslie Graham, academic counselor Minority Engineering Programs, $1,000--Strengthening the skills and effectiveness of the upper-class student mentors working with freshmen minority and female engineering students is the focus of this project. The grant will be used to prepare a handbook and training workshop to be held before the start of fall term for the student mentors.
I Want to Go to Virginia Tech: Richard Gargagliano, hospital administrator, Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center, $2,500--The project involves the staff at the Equine Medical Center and a variety of area service agencies in an extraordinary effort to assist a severely disabled young woman in her continued recovery from a traumatic brain injury sustained while exercising a horse. Her love for horses brought her as a volunteer to the center, where she has been urged and assisted in her long-term quest to regain ability to walk, to re-develop skills to ride horseback at a competitive level, and to become gainfully employed. A local television company will videotape her continued progress and also focus on how attitudes of Virginia Tech employees toward people with disabilities have been impacted by having had an opportunity to work closely with a disabled co-worker.
Black Alumni and Undergraduate Networking Luncheon: Barbara Pendergrass, associate dean of students, $2,000--The fourth Black Alumni Reunion will be held in March 1999. Alumni will be invited to attend a luncheon with undergraduate students with the goal of building important connections between these groups to the benefit of both. Black alumni have expressed strong interest in involvement with current students and a desire to assist with their retention and success. Students will benefit by their encouragement and by connection to positive role models.
Campus Connection: Joan Hirt, associate professor, and colleagues in educational leadership and policy studies, $2,500--In the last few years, the graduate program in College Student Affairs has embarked on an aggressive minority-recruitment effort that has increased entry master's degree cohorts from 35 percent to 46 percent minority students. Project funds will support recruitment trips by two current students to historically black colleges and other institutions graduating large numbers of minority students.
Adventures in Space for Female and Minority Youth: Joyce Martin, Extension Agent, 4-H, Montgomery County Extension Office, $2,250--This grant continues the development of an aerospace special-interest 4-H club in Montgomery County, targeting girls and minority members ages 9 through 13. The club's activities are designed to encourage girls' interest in science and space, promote career exploration, provide opportunities to interact with positive role models, and to increase problem-solving and decision-making skills.
Orientation and Small Group Workshops for Freshman Engineering Students with Disabilities: Leslie Graham, coordinator of support services, College of Engineering, and Susan Angle and Jane Warner, Services for Students with Disabilities, Dean of Students Office, $2,240--The purpose of this collaborative project is to provide an early fall-orientation program and series of small-group workshops for freshman engineering majors with disabilities. About 17 percent of the self-identified students with disabilities are enrolled in engineering. The program will strive to establish meaningful faculty/staff interactions with students with disabilities early in their college careers; increase students' awareness of strategies for success; and improve students' self-advocacy skills, including taking responsibility for one's own personal, career, and academic success.