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Diversity UPDATE

Vice Provost for Minority Affairs

Dear Friends of Ohio State:

A year has passed since the Supreme Court of the United State handed down its decisions in two cases related to admissions policies and procedures at the University of Michigan. We were very pleased when the Court affirmed the principle that race and ethnicity can be considered along with other factors when a college makes admissions decisions. However, to be in full compliance with these rulings, Ohio State instituted a more complex and sophisticated admissions process. We are now beginning to anticipate the concrete outcomes of those modifications.

Fortunately, we can say with confidence that the students admitted for Autumn 2004 include in aggregate the best qualified African American and Hispanic students ever to enroll at Ohio State. This judgment is based on many contributing factors, including their scores on national tests like the ACT and SAT, the strength of their high school achievements and course work, and their ability to respond well on several required essays that were new to this year's application. For example, according to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, the number of African American students ranking in the top quarter of their high school classes increased this year by 3.7%, and the number of Hispanic students from the top quarter jumped by 12.3%.

Unfortunately, while the quality of our enrolled class appears to be rising, it is now also likely that Ohio State will see a reduction in the number of entering minority students. In this we are like many other major colleges, including the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Michigan, and the University of Massachusetts. We should have a firm reading of the final number of minority students in the entering class by early in Autumn Quarter.

Currently enrolled minority students passed along some valuable Buckeye wisdom to these newly admitted students through two documents created this spring. Titled Making our Voices Heard, these publications are collections of testimonials. Minority students were asked, "What advice would you give to other minority students considering Ohio State?" These two publications--one focused on Hispanic students, the other on African Americans-- incorporate the responses that were received. Most of the advice was pragmatic and reflects the realities that all students must face their freshman year, including the hard work needed to maintain good grades.

I am proud of the achievements that we identify in this quarterly Diversity Update and grateful to the many individuals and offices that made them happen.


Mac A. Stewart
Vice Provost

Snyder Tapped to Be Next Provost

The Board of Trustees appointed Barbara R. Snyder as Executive Vice President and Provost at its May meeting. The selection of Snyder was the culmination of a nine-month national search process that drew more than 100 applicants from diverse disciplines, backgrounds, and institutions. Although not originally a candidate, Snyder was recruited to the candidacy by the search committee, which received several nominations based upon her impressive service in the interim role since last July. In appointing Snyder, President Holbrook said she recommended that Barbara serve as the interim provost because of her leadership ability, her clear understanding of the university's academic mission, her commitment to diversity, and the fact that she was well respected by faculty, staff, students, and trustees, and that she demonstrated all those qualities and more while serving as interim provost.

As executive vice president and provost, Snyder is the university's chief academic officer, the focal point for collaboration among the academic and administrative vice presidents, deans, and faculty regarding the university's academic priorities.

Snyder has worked in administration since 2000, when she was named associate dean for academic affairs at the Moritz College of Law. In August 2001, she became vice provost in the Office of Academic Affairs, working closely with the Office of Human Resources to manage academic personnel appointments, leaves, and promotion and tenure review. She also served for seven months as interim vice president for University Relations before being named interim executive vice president and provost last July.

A 1976 Ohio State sociology graduate who earned a law degree from the University of Chicago in 1980, Snyder has been a member of the law faculty here since 1988. With a specialty in rules of evidence, she currently holds the Joanne W. Murphy / Classes of 1965 and 1973 Professorship at Moritz College of Law. From 1983 to 1988, Snyder taught at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. She is the coauthor of Ohio Evidence and the Ohio Rules of Evidence Handbook. Snyder received the Moritz College of Law Outstanding Professor Award in 1997, the University Distinguished Affirmative Action Award in 1996, and the Mary Ann Williams Women's Leadership Award from the Association of Faculty and Professional Women in 1993.

Progress Report

Faculty and Staff Recruitment

John Roberts, professor of English and former associate dean of the College of Humanities was appointed dean of the college effective June 1. Roberts is the author of three books and a number of scholarly articles published in peer-reviewed journals. He is a folklore specialist and has taught all levels of undergraduate and graduate courses. Roberts joined Ohio State's faculty in 1996 as a professor of English and in 1998 was appointed chair of the Department of African- American and African Studies. He took a leave of absence to spend two years as the deputy chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, D.C. In 2003, he was appointed associate dean of the College of Humanities. He has served on numerous departmental, college, and university committees.

Rick A. Kittles, a specialist in prostate-cancer genetics among African Americans, has joined the Comprehensive Cancer Center Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute as a researcher with the Human Cancer Genetics Program. Kittles joins the university as an associate professor in the Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology, and Medical Genetics. He came to Ohio State from Howard University, where he co-directed the molecular genetics unit of the national human genome center.

Kittles studies the causes of health disparities in minority populations and is particularly interested in how genetic variation affects prostate-cancer risk and potential biological mechanisms that may contribute to health disparities. Kittles earned a B.S. degree from Rochester Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in biology from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. His major fields of study were population genetics, biological anthropology, and systematics and evolution.

Student Recruitment and Retention

The university and the Columbus chapter of LINKS, Inc., a national organization comprised of women of color, co-sponsored the Prelude Scholastic Recognition Program in May, which honored central Ohio high school minority students who have achieved a GPA of 3.0 or higher. This year's event drew more than 1,400 attendees and featured remarks by Dr. Mac Stewart, Theresa Black, and Laura M. Espy. The College of Medicine and Public Health recently partnered with the Ohio State African-American and African Studies Extension Center to create the Math and Science Club and the M.D. Camp. The camp will run for two weeks in the summer and is intended to introduce underrepresented in medicine (URM) high school students to medical fields of study.

Academic and Research Programming

The College of Social Work has begun offering a new course titled "Needs and Social Conditions of Latinos/as: Social Policies and Human Services," which looks at public assistance, health, education, immigration, border issues, and official language policy. The college also is preparing to launch a new course next year on human sexuality and social work with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons. The College of Education offered several new courses this academic year focusing on diversity: Cultural Process in Education--uses anthropological perspectives to examine how culture, ethnicity, and power operate in informal and formal educational settings in multiple context; Sexualities and Educations --provides knowledge and awareness of legal, ethical, interpersonal, and community issues related to sexual orientation as areas of diversity in education; A Historical Account of the Education of Black Folk in the U.S.--examines the tradition of black education and the implications of this tradition for educators and future generations of students; and Infusing Global Perspectives in Education--explores rationales, conceptualizations, and methods for teaching global perspectives.

The Multicultural Center, the Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing, and Faculty and TA Development sponsored Writing Diversity and the American Experience: Issues in Teaching 367, an interactive workshop for teachers that focuses on multiple forms of "writing diversity" in courses. It began with a brief talk on models and definitions for thinking about diversity within particular disciplines and various strategies for helping students. Participants then worked in small groups to identify common teaching issues. Follow-up discussion addressed participants' common concerns in helping students to develop multiple and deep understandings of "The American Experience" through writing.

"Grandma's Hands," a new program within The James Cancer Hospital, is designed to help African American women understand the importance of participating in clinical cancer trials. The sentiment that African Americans hold special reverence for older women is the impetus behind the program, and director Jack Holland hopes to use it to organize and encourage a group of wise and trusted grandmothers in central Ohio to spread the word with their friends and families about the importance of cancer awareness and clinical trials. Over the next year, Holland and approximately 10 grandmothers will use traditional social networks, like church gatherings, sewing circles, book or bible study groups at home, or other community settings as stages for speakers to talk about clinical trials. The Susan G. Komen Foundation funds the program.

The Department of Chemistry received funding from the National Science Foundation to continue working with Project SEED, a nonprofit organization that partners with universities toward a goal of using mathematics to increase the educational options of urban youth. Faculty and graduate students serve as research mentors for African American Columbus public high school students.


Dr. William Hicks, an oncologist in the Comprehensive Cancer Center Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, is the recipient of the 2003 Crystal Stair Award. The Ohio Commission on Minority Health awards the honor to a person or organization that has made a significant contribution to improving minority health in Ohio. Hicks is a professor of clinical medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine's division of hematology/ oncology and co-director of the diversity enhancement program at The James.

Access for the Disabled

The Office for Disability Services, the Student Affairs Diversity Council, and the ADA Coordinator's Office sponsored an afternoon with Deborah Kendrick, a Cincinnati free-lance writer who is nationally recognized as an advocate for people with disabilities. Kendrick spoke on the changes that have occurred in the disability rights movement over the last 30 years and the challenges that persons with disabilities continue to face in their quest for equal rights.

The university's new web access policy and standards have been approved to ensure equal access to information for all of Ohio State's constituencies. The policy establishes minimum standards for the accessibility of web-based information and services considered necessary to meet this goal and ensures compliance with applicable state and federal regulations. A web access center was created to help web developers understand and implement the new rules as they design or renovate web sites.


Former presidential candidate and ambassador Carol Moseley Braun was the closing speaker for United Black World Month and opening speaker for Women's History Month. Braun also has served as a U.S. senator, state representative, and assistant U.S. attorney. Since 2001, she has taught law and political science at Morris Brown College and DePaul University. Dr. Michael Olivas, an Ohio State alumnus and leading scholar on higher education legal issues--particularly affirmative action and Latino access--visited campus in April. During his two-day visit, Dr. Olivas met with various groups, including the Organization of Hispanic Faculty and Staff, the Hispanic Oversight committee, the Diversity Council, and the Senate Diversity committee. He also met with undergraduate and graduate student groups, delivered a public lecture, and participated in a faculty panel on diversity and higher education that included Kirwan Institute director, john a. powell. Dr. Olivas earned a Ph.D. in higher education from Ohio State.

Communicating Diversity: Implementation, Impact, and Outcome was the theme of the university's 10th Annual Conference on Diversity, Race, and Learning. The conference brought distinguished scholars Manning Marable, professor and director of the African American studies program at Columbia University, and Mary Francis Berry, chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, to campus as the keynote speakers. Participants also gathered at breakout sessions and discussed such topics as urban education, diversity in higher education, communicating diversity, educational accessibility, and profiling. Ohio State's Diversity Enhancement Award winners were recognized at the event's closing ceremony.

The Other Prom, a formal dance for high school and college students who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, was held at Ohio State's Hillel in April. Sponsored by the university's office of GLBT Student Services, the event was created to enable GLBT youth to have the prom experience that was denied to them because they could not bring a same-sex partner to a dance or felt uncomfortable doing so. Now in its fifth year, The Other Prom tries to capture the fun atmosphere of a traditional prom, with an inspiring theme, festive decorations, romantic music, prom kings and queens, and a photographer to capture the event.

Virginia Valian, a noted author and lecturer on gender equity, visited Ohio State on April 30 as the facilitator of several events focused on the knowledge about and application of issues relevant to successful implementation of the Academic Plan, specifically the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women in the academic and administrative ranks. In her book, Why So Slow? The Advancement of Women in Academia, Valian questions why so few women are at the top of their professions, whether it be science, law, medicine, college teaching, industry, or business. The theme for the annual African American Heritage Festival was "UHAMBO The Journey: Embracing Our Past, Present, and Future." The weeklong event featured a campus kickoff celebration, a town hall forum that examined the impact of hip-hop culture, a dinner-dance where participants were encouraged to wear traditional African clothing or accessories, and community service projects.

The College of Education and the Office of Minority Affairs recently co-sponsored four days of events for Brown vs. Board of Education: "50th Anniversary: Celebrating Equality in Education" in which participants focused on the history, impact, and future of the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that desegregated public schools. The celebration began with Charles V. Willie, professor emeritus, Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Ohio State Scholar in Residence, addressing the "State of Education," and culminated with the Ninth Annual Diversity Forum and Graduate Student Symposium in which 23 graduate students presented their research on multicultural issues in education. In between, faculty from the College of Education presented "The Importance of Brown vs. Board of Education on the current research agenda in education," featuring speaker Orlando Taylor, dean of the graduate school at Howard. A town meeting featured Taylor as well as Kurt Schmoke, dean of the college of law at Howard University and former mayor of Baltimore. The keynote speaker for the event was James D. Anderson, department head and professor of educational policy studies, University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign.

Outreach Activities

Larry Williamson, with the Frank W. Hale Black Cultural Center, and State Representative Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus) coordinated a statewide get-out- the-vote campaign this month called the Hip-Hop Summit. Featuring top artists in the industry, the event was billed as a non-partisan registration effort and education summit, with the goal of registering voters in the state between the ages of 18 and 40. Rap mogul Russell Simmons and civil rights veteran Benjamin Chavis founded the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN) in 2001, and since then Chavis has organized approximately 23 summits across the country over the past three years. In May, the Multiethnic Students in Human Ecology (MSHEC) and the Multicultural Center co-sponsored a "Celebration of Cultures." The program included three types of events: undergraduate students from several human ecology courses prepared posters on food, family, religion, dress, and culture from countries around the world; international graduate students served on three different panels and talked about food, apparel, and family/child traditions from their countries; and students and staff members prepared and served different foods from several countries.

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