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ABD Fellows Program
aids minority recruitment

Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 34 - July 2, 1998

Because Virginia Tech is committed to developing a racially diverse faculty, the Graduate School offers the Minority Faculty Mentoring Program to help departments recruit minority faculty members.
Also known as the All But Dissertation (ABD) Fellows program, its purposes are:
To provide a summer teaching and research experience in a Virginia Tech department for selected minority doctoral students who have completed all degree requirements except the dissertation (ABD) and who plan a career in academia as faculty members;
To provide a mentoring team for the selected fellows to enhance their professional development and to increase interaction between current faculty members and emerging minority members scholars; and
To allow the opportunity for fellows to be considered for potential faculty positions at Virginia Tech.
According to Martha Johnson, assistant dean of the Graduate School, "This program has attracted a number of very talented individuals and presents an opportunity for Virginia Tech to increase the diversity of its faculty. The summer program allows ABD fellows to become acquainted with the various departments and the university, and provides a chance for them to form new bonds with mentors and other Virginia Tech faculty members and students."
Fellows for this summer are Paula McGhee Underwood, a history major from Vanderbilt University; Peter Taylor, an English major from Brandeis University; Nikki Graves, a doctoral student in education and human development from the University of Maryland; and Chrissie Frye, a doctoral student in human-resource management at the University of Iowa.
Underwood's entry into Ph.D. work at Vanderbilt began at Virginia Tech, where she worked with history Professor Crandall Shifflett during one of his summer programs for minorities. For her thesis she is working on a case study that will illuminate not only the American South but remote, under-developed regions as well.
Taylor's area of study is African American literature and culture before the year 1900. His thesis project is entitled "Passion Narratives: Black Faces in American Literature."
For four years, Graves has taught, trained and interacted with diverse student populations. Graves seeks to add to the body of literature on racial identity through teaching on the college level.
Fry has taught undergraduate human-resource management and organizational behavior courses on topics ranging from team building and conflict resolution to employee selection methods, compensation administration, and equal-opportunity law. Her current research focuses on identifying the effects individual differences have on job satisfaction.
Fellows are in residence at Virginia Tech for the summer sessions, during which they teach one course first summer term and devote the other term to research, professional development, interaction with Virginia Tech faculty member and students, and other faculty members' development activities.
Fellows meet regularly with members of an advising or mentoring team. The mentoring team for this summer includes Fred Carlisle and Johann Norstedt from English; Bob Madigan, Kevin Carlson, Mary Connerly, and Wanda Smith from business management; Gloria Bird, Andy Stremmel, Mark Bensen, and Susan Semanic from family and child development; and Randy Shifflet, Peter Wallenstein and Dan Thorp from history.
For more information and on how to qualify for this program, contact Johnson at 1-4558 or gsmjj@vt.edu.