A MESSAGE from the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs

Bianca D. Evans

In diversity, our goals for 2012 were to execute strategies to improve recruitment and retention, expand our scope of services, and encourage students’ active participation in academic and social aspects of college life.

The recruitment initiatives targeted more than 1,000 minority students for on- and off-site recruitment events. Off-site events included visiting local high schools, attending the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) conference in Washington, D.C., and regional visits to Birmingham, Mobile, and Montgomery. Dr. Herman Turner, Jr., a 2000 Summer Bridge alumnus who received a doctor of physical therapy degree was the speaker for the Birmingham Minority Recruitment Reception. Dr. Turner encouraged students to choose Auburn University and COSAM for the academic programs, social environment, and unlimited opportunities available. On-site events included hosting the Annual Minority High School Visitation Day, which brought together 171 students, parents, and counselors from eight high schools, and participating in Loachapoka Exploring Auburn Days.

The COSAM Summer Bridge Program continues to be one of our most successful strategies for attracting and retaining minority undergraduates for careers in sciences, mathematics, and pre-health careers. We recruited 29 incoming freshmen students for the 2012 Summer Bridge program. The outstanding pre-freshmen cohort had an average ACT score of 24.6 and an average GPA of 3.71. Attendees came from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. The Summer Bridge program concluded with an inspirational address during the awards luncheon. Dr. TaShawna Thomas Stokes, a 1998 Summer Bridge alumnus who received a doctorate of medicine degree, inspired our participants to strive to achieve their highest potential. Dr. Stokes is currently a pediatrician in Atlanta, Ga., and a member of the College of Sciences and Mathematics Leadership Council.

The success Dr. Turner and Dr. Stokes enjoy demonstrate that recruitment efforts and scholarship offers are producing the desired results as more outstanding minority students are enrolling in COSAM disciplines and gaining entry into professional schools. Additionally, these graduates are serving as examples for the next generation of Auburn alumni.

Our retention strategies include increased utilization of the Drop-In Center. Nearly 1,000 hours were logged for study forums and tutorial sessions each semester. We have increased participation in the Promoting Academic Success for Students Peer Mentoring Program and Lunch ’N‘ Learn sessions with topics that include resumes, study skills, and time management. These retention strategies are well received by students, and we are encouraged that these strategies will continue to prove effective in enhancing student leadership and achievement.

Minority students are achieving in academic and social engagement. From the 2012 Summer Bridge cohort, 80 percent were in good academic standing with 50 percent having a 3.0 or above. Seven minority students had a cumulative GPA of 4.0 with two being part of the 2012 Summer Bridge cohort. Students are encouraged to get actively involved on campus. Involvement examples include: Jazmine Wilder, Kyle Adams, and Ashley Nutt serving as COSAM leaders; Jessica Andry as a COSAM peer advisor; Rudolph Davis serving as president of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and being a Gates Millenium Scholar; and Leonard Jordan serving as a supplemental instructor. Additionally, students are engaged in Student Government Association, Black Student Union, undergraduate research, marching band, and many other activities. We commend these students for their drive to succeed. Their success encourages COSAM to remain consistent in its approach and explore other opportunities to enhance the learning experience for students at Auburn University.

It has been encouraging to see the success of many of our minority students. As this year comes to a close, we reflect on the changes made to continue our success. We strive to improve our programs for recruitment, retention, and graduation of minority students.

For more information on the programs offered by the COSAM Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, visit www.auburn.edu/cosam/diversity, or email us at dropincenter@auburn.edu. We’d love to hear from you.

Bianca D. Evans

Coordinator of COSAM Minority Programs