University of Wisconsin-Stout

Nov. 8, 2011

University of Wisconsin-Stout will be honored Thursday for its efforts to help racial and ethnic minority students remain in school.

The State Council on Affirmative Action and the Office of State Employment Relations will present UW-Stout with a Program Achievement Diversity Award during a ceremony in the state Capitol. UW-Stout will be honored for its overall success in improving the retention rates for racial and ethnic minority students.

The award cites the scholarships offered to minority and underrepresented students, resulting in a dramatic increase in retention rates for the recipients. Also cited were UW-Stout’s Math Teaching and Learning Center as well as summer Pre-College programs and Bridge programs. For example, the retention rates for students enrolled in the Bridge programs exceed the general student population by more than 10 percentage points.

“We are working very hard throughout campus to address the serious issue of retaining our racial and ethnic minority students,” said Chancellor Charles W. Sorensen. “We have more work to do, but I am pleased that the state is acknowledging the progress we have made so far.”

“This award is a testament to the dedication of many of our faculty and staff who work with our minority students on a daily basis,” said Julie Furst-Bowe, provost and vice chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs.

The scholarship program cited by the state is partially financed through a $567,000 grant from the National Science Foundation award to Kitrina Carlson and Krista James of the UW-Stout biology department. The scholarships are given to underrepresented minority groups in the applied science program.

The Math Teaching and Learning Center was created in 2004 primarily to help students with first-year math courses. Teachers start daily classroom sessions with a short lecture, then students begin online homework assignments with help from teachers and specially trained peer tutors.

Failure-withdrawal rates have been reduced by 40-55 percent in introductory courses. Under Director Jeanne Foley, the center has received four external grants, including a $450,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The summer Pre-College and Bridge programs, under the direction of Joan Thomas, Dean of Students, and Barb Miller, director of Multicultural Student Services, are designed to help students make the transition to college. For example, the popular Stoutward Bound program lasts two weeks and includes two courses, general psychology and fundamentals of speech, to help students of color prepare for college life, both in and out of the classroom.

Sorensen, Furst-Bowe and other UW-Stout officials will be present Thursday to receive the award.