Campus News

Forum will focus on ways communities can achieve diversity

The university will hold a Spring Diversity Forum on Feb. 28 from 12:30 to 3 p.m. in the Reception Hall of the Tate Student Center. The forum is free and open to the public but registration is required by Feb. 26.

This year’s forum will focus on the ways in which UGA and Athens Technical College can work with local communities to achieve greater diversity. The featured session is “Campus-Community Connections” and will consist of discussions led by representatives of UGA, Athens Technical College and Project Grad Atlanta.

“As institutions of higher education seek to build a diverse community of learners and educators, conversations focusing on ‘how diversity works’ are essential,” says Keith D. Parker, associate provost for institutional diversity.

Key elements of diversity will be discussed at the forum, as well as methods and activities to reduce prejudice on college and university campuses. Experienced diversity professionals will discuss successful programs, and attendees will be able to participate in those discussions.

Opening remarks will be made by Arnett C. Mace, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. Reed Kimbrough, director of diversity programs and community relations at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, will deliver the keynote address.

Two administrators from Athens Tech-Cris Perkins, director of public relations, and Lenzy Reid, director of admissions-will discuss programs at their institution. Perkins will outline “Believe,” a pilot program in its first year involving 10 Coile Middle School seventh-graders. Each month, as ways to learn about career opportunities, the students take field trips and have lunch with teachers and students from an Athens Tech program such as early childhood education or physical therapy. Additionally, there’s a $16,500 scholarship for each of the 10 students once they graduate from high school. Thescholarships are funded by the Athens Tech Foundation and future scholarships will be funded by community and business donations.

Reid will cover the Organized Black Students Encouraging Unity and Excellence program. OBSEUE encourages academic excellence and unity through partnerships between the student body, the faculty and staff, and the community.

The organization provides an array of services to allow for full development throughout a student’s college career.

Kweku Forstall, executive ­director, will share information on Project Grad Atlanta, a ­research-based school-­community collaborative designed to achieve whole school reform.

A nonprofit organization, Project Grad Atlanta seeks to improve the education of low-income, disadvantaged children in inner-city schools by concentrating on providing all children with a quality education so that they will enroll in and graduate from college.

Parker will discuss Aspire, a UGA program providing middle school students with intensive academic enrichment. Aspire was created in 2002 by Tracey Ford of UGA’s African American Cultural Center and the late Mary Frasier, a nationally recognized professor in gifted education at UGA.

The program features academic classes in the morning, lunch in a UGA dining hall and enrichment activities in the afternoon. A community partnership was formed with the Clarke Youth Association, the Greene County Mentoring Program and the Athens Housing Authority to fund and identify students for the program.

Donald McLellan of UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences will provide information on the Young Scholars Internship Program, which encourages outstanding high school students to pursue careers in science.