Message from Dr. Vincent
Happy New Year! I hope that everyone’s 2016 is off to a great start. Here at DDCE, we have hit the ground running in full stride and have not looked back.
On Monday, January 18, I had the pleasure of joining President Gregory L. Fenves as well as student, faculty, and community leaders in the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The celebration on the East Mall is always one of my favorite gatherings of the year. I was especially touched by the words of MLK oratory contest winner Makai Muhummad from the Texas Empowerment Academy – many of us were moved by his remarks about justice and uniting together to make Dr. King's dreams a reality. The ceremony was truly a wonderful way to commemorate Dr. King.
Earlier this month, we held our second-annual Black Student-Athlete Summit, hosted by DDCE’s African American Male Research Initiative (AAMRI). Athletic administrators, faculty, staff, and students from universities and teams from across the county met for a three-day conference to discuss how we can best support our student-athletes. Highlights included keynotes by University of Maryland Athletic Director Kevin Anderson and Vanderbilt University Athletic Director David Williams, in addition to a Q&A with UT men’s basketball coach Shaka Smart and junior point guard Isaiah Taylor and a presentation by University of Tennessee aerospace engineering student and starting quarterback Joshua Dobbs. Like last year, the conference left everyone chomping at the bit for more and planning has already begun for next year’s edition. Thank you to Dr. Leonard Moore, associate vice president for Academic Diversity Initiatives, Dr. Louis Harrison, professor, College of Education, and Dr. Darren Kelly, chief of staff, Academic Diversity Initiatives, as well as all of our graduate students and student leaders at AAMRI for all of your hard work.
Lastly, as we close out the month, I wanted to remind everyone that January is National Mentoring Month. There are a number of organizations in the Austin area where mentors or your financial support are needed and I encourage to consider getting involved – be it through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas, Communities in Schools and their XY-Zone Initiative, The Seedling Foundation, 100 Black Men, or any group that you feel could use your support. This is a cause that through our collective action we can make a big difference.
Thank you again for your continued support and we look forward to seeing you at one of our signature events or community programs this spring.
The 2016 Black Student-Athlete Summit
It may seem easy to assume that a star college athlete’s road to success has been neatly paved. But the truth of the matter is that Black male student-athletes graduate at lower rates than their non-Black counterparts and only a slim margin make it into professional sports. Often their academic potential is not realized or nurtured as they dedicate their efforts to their college team.
At this year’s Black Student-Athlete Summit, athletes, coaches, university leaders and researchers gathered together to address the many factors that contribute to this reality and explored some new strategies for helping students succeed on and off the field.
The three-day summit is hosted by DDCE's African American Male Research Initiative. Below, browse images, from the summit. And keep the online conversation going:
Inclusion and Equity Director Ryan Miller Receives National Dissertation of the Year Award
Dr. Ryan A. Miller, director of the Office for Inclusion and Equity at UT Austin, has been honored with the 2016 Melvene D. Hardee Dissertation of the Year Award from NASPA, the professional organization for Student Affairs administrators.
This award is designed to encourage high quality research relevant to college student services administration and to student affairs. It recognizes outstanding dissertation research conducted by doctoral degree recipients presently in or intending to enter the student affairs profession. Miller was honored for his dissertation titled,“Intersections of Disability, Gender, and Sexuality in Higher Education: Exploring Students’ Social Identities and Campus Experiences.”
Change Agents: Meet Native American and Indigenous Studies Professor Dustin Tahmahkera
Dr. Tahmahkera, a citizen of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma, examines how native people are represented in music, television, film and online. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies and the author of Tribal Television: Viewing Native People in Sitcoms (University of North Carolina Pres, 2014).
Capturing Johnny Depp… After Johnny Depp reprised the historic role of Tonto, he was “captured” by Tahmahkera’s auntie LaDonna Harris and named an honorary member of the Comanche Nation. “She embraced him for many reasons, particularly for his genuine interest in learning about indigenous people and his efforts in putting forth a fully rounded view of Comanche culture.”
Moving beyond the captivity narrative…One important message he hopes readers will take away from his forthcoming book The Lone Ranger: Captivating Comanches in Media Borderlands (University of Nebraska Press) is that the story of his tribe doesn’t end at the fall of the Comanche empire. “I want people to see how history has informed and shaped who we are in the present and into the future. The narrative doesn’t stop in 1875. We continue to endure, to be critical, to be creative in all kinds of ways in pop culture.” Read more.
MLK Day 2016 in Photos and Video
Editors: Leslie Blair, Jessica Sinn. Web: Jason Molin