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UW-Eau Claire names nominees for 2018 UW Regents Diversity Awards

UW-Eau Claire’s EDI Implementation Team, Upward Bound program and Dr. Dandrielle Lewis have been nominated for 2018 Regents Diversity Awards in the team, unit and individual categories, respectively.

Each year, up to three $5,000 Regents Diversity Awards are given to individuals, teams or units from UW System institutions in recognition of significant, measurable and sustainable outcomes in fostering access and success for students of diverse backgrounds. The 2018 Regents Diversity Awards will be presented at the UW System Board of Regents meeting Feb. 9 in Madison.

Here's more about UW-Eau Claire’s Regents Diversity Awards nominees:

EDI Implementation Team

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Dr. David Jones

The UW-Eau Claire EDI Implementation Team was co-chaired by Dr. David Jones, professor of English and interim director of the University Honors Program, and Ann Rupnow, coordinator of entrepreneurship and economic development for the College of Business. The team was given an ambitious charge to develop a focused action plan for achieving UW-Eau Claire’s EDI-focused guidepost goal: an enrollment of 20 percent students of color and elimination of the opportunity gap. The co-chairs collaborated effectively with a 23-member campus team to meet all of the deadlines outlined and submit for approval a plan for achieving the university’s goal.

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Ann Rupnow

The resulting EDI Implementation Plan, implemented a year ago, includes 14 action items and received the support of UW-Eau Claire University Senate, University Staff Council and Student Senate. The plan has resulted in improved performance of units, with a specific charge of serving underrepresented students. The plan has also inspired productive action among academic departments that have not consistently contributed to EDI initiatives in the past. UWEC is now experiencing a pivotal moment of change, forging new strategies for serving underrepresented students and holding itself publicly accountable for producing equitable results.

Upward Bound program

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Kimamo Wahome

UW-Eau Claire’s Upward Bound program, led by director Kimamo Wahome, has had a significant impact on closing the opportunity and equity gap for low-income, first-generation college students at UW-Eau Claire. Upward Bound generates in participants the skills and motivation necessary to complete secondary education and to enter and succeed in programs of postsecondary education. The federally funded program serves 73 low-income and/or first-generation students who attend North and Memorial high schools in Eau Claire. Seventy percent of project participants come from a Southeast Asian (Hmong/Laotian) immigrant community and have an urgent need for English as a second language services.

Upward Bound programming includes: (1) curriculum, services and activities during the academic year, including intensive test preparation for the ACT Aspire and the ACT; and (2) a six-week residential summer program at UW-Eau Claire that includes academic instruction, targeted tutoring, academic and career counseling, postsecondary education planning, and social/cultural enrichment. The Upward Bound program has had a substantial, positive impact in bringing institutional change to UW-Eau Claire in the area of equity, diversity and inclusion, enhancing the diversity of the student population when former Upward Bound participants attend the university, thus providing postsecondary education access to economically disadvantaged students. Upward Bound also strengthens the connection between UW-Eau Claire and the Southeast Asian Hmong immigrant community.

Dr. Dandrielle Lewis

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Dr. Dandrielle Lewis

Dr. Dandrielle Lewis, an associate professor of mathematics at UW-Eau Claire, has worked diligently to create opportunities in STEM education for underrepresented students. The breadth of her work and scholarship has promoted forward movement toward achievement of the equity, diversity and inclusion goals for UW-Eau Claire.

Dr. Lewis created a sustainable Sonia Kovalevsky Day for middle- and high-school girls from the Eau Claire Area School District and the Cedar Riverside Somali Community of Minneapolis-St. Paul to have fun learning and doing math. The event has grown to include 170 girls from very diverse backgrounds and involves UW-Eau Claire undergraduate math and math education students as well as math education faculty.

Dr. Lewis also serves as coordinator and collaborator on numerous projects that engage UW-Eau Claire students in high-impact practices of immersion travel and faculty-student collaborative research, and she continually seeks opportunities to close opportunity gaps for women and students of color. She has coordinated the Somali Immersion Program and collaborated with a faculty colleague to develop and implement an international research fellowship experience for five students in Senegal, Africa. Lewis serves as a faculty advisor to student researchers studying the impact of the SK Day and has assisted multiple research teams in submitting findings for publication and sharing their results at academic conferences. Lewis also is a co-principal investigator for a National Science Foundation grant that involves a partnership with UW-Milwaukee to create a research emphasis for math majors and increase the representation of students from diverse backgrounds in STEM at UW-Eau Claire. Additionally, Lewis, a former Alliance for Minority Participation scholar, provides presentations to the summer cohort for the WisCAMP program and assists all students in the cohort in preparing for graduate school application.