Current initiatives within UT and the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement are wide in scope and cut across the full spectrum of engagement, from academic theory to real-world practice. Our research-based initiatives are the foundation of UT’s commitment to closing the opportunity gaps, which in turn fuels our evidence-based practices and community partnerships. They include the scholarship of DDCE faculty fellows such as Dr. Victor Saenz, Dr. Richard Reddick, and Dr. Kevin Cokley, who are national leaders in the scholarly methods and best practices of achievement programs for young men of color. A few of our programs are listed below, and we are aggressively seeking grants and donors to develop new research and expand evidence-based programming for student access and success.
Project MALES (Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Success) is multi-faceted research and mentoring initiative based within the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE) at the University of Texas at Austin founded by Dr. Victor B. Saenz (Associate Professor, UT-Austin) — with support from co-founders Dr. Luis Ponjuan (Associate Professor, Texas A&M University) and Dr. William Serrata (President, El Paso Community College). The initiative is an effort to shed greater light on the plight of Latino males in Education and encompasses three interrelated initiatives: an ongoing research agenda focused on understanding the experiences of Latino males across the education pipeline; a mentoring program that aims to cultivate an engaged support network for males of color at UT-Austin and across the Central Texas community; and, a newly launched statewide P-16 Consortium focused on the success of male students of color.
Launched in June 2013, this state-wide collaboration focuses on improving Hispanic and African American male student success across the state of Texas. The Consortium seeks to align and coordinate existing programs and services that target underrepresented male students across the education continuum, and it further seeks to stimulate new male-focused initiatives within Texas school districts, colleges, and universities. Current Consortium members include two-year and four-year institutions across the state as well as two public school districts. It is headquartered at the University of Texas at Austin (in the Division of Diversity & Community Engagement) and is led by Dr. Victor Saenz (Associate Professor & Executive Director).
AAMRI is a UT faculty-led academic initiative, housed in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, rooted in evidence-based practices to promote academic excellence among African American males. AAMRI includes a research focus, too, that informs public policy experts, practitioners, and concerned citizens on how best to create and maintain a culture of Black male excellence in K-16 settings. This research guides the hands-on practical approach to help AAMRI achieve its major goals: to increase the four-year graduation rate for African American males at the University of Texas and to increase the number of Black males attending four-year colleges and universities across the state of Texas. Through community partnerships, AAMRI provides professional development and special events for undergraduates and opportunities for undergrads to mentor younger African American males.
Women of Color
Young women of color face their own unique set of issues to access and achievement and deserve similar attention across the educational pipeline. UT is dedicated to both populations with co-educational if not parallel programming such as the Fearless Leader Institute (FLI) and Con Mi Madre. FLI is a UT academic and personal development initiative for women of color. Through local, state, and national partnerships, FLI provides extensive professional development, mentorship, and special events for female undergraduates. Con Mi Madre, a partner with the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, strives to increase the number of young Latinas pursuing and succeeding in post-secondary education. Young Latinas and their mothers enroll in the program together and are offered an array of services including: mother-daughter conferences, college visits, campus meetings, community service activities, counseling, and mentoring throughout the year. Young Latinas in this program tend to come from low-income households and are the first in their families to pursue post-secondary education. Stay tuned for continued research and program development for girls and young women of color.