University of Rochester

Leadership and Diversity Center Expands its Reach

September 23, 2009

Since its inception in 2002, the David T. Kearns Center for Leadership and Diversity in Science and Engineering has provided underrepresented students studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics with academic and co-curricular support. Under its new name, the David T. Kearns Center for Leadership and Diversity in Arts, Sciences and Engineering, the center has expanded its scope to include students in all academic disciplines. With the addition of the humanities and social sciences component, the Center will now assist an increased number of low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented minority students without conditions on their field of study.

"Although the needs of students studying science and engineering are well-documented, their peers in the social sciences and humanities also may need assistance finding resources and opportunities in their fields," said Beth Olivares, Assistant Dean for Diversity Initiatives and the Director of the Kearns Center. "Our expansion will allow many more students to have access to the academic support, scholarships, travel grants, graduate admissions test preparation, and research opportunities provided by the Center."

According to Richard Feldman, Dean of the College, undergraduates in the College will benefit greatly from the Center's expansion.

"Through the expanded Kearns Center, the College will be able to provide support for more students and for students in all disciplines," explained Feldman. "As a result, we expect to see increased participation in undergraduate research and increased percentages of students going on to graduate school."

The Kearns Center also houses the College's pipeline programs, assisting secondary school students through to doctoral candidates. Programs include the University's partnership with Thomas Jefferson High School, Upward Bound college preparatory programs for students in the Rochester City School District, the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program, the GEM graduate fellowship, and others.

As examples of the kinds of successes reached by students who work with the Kearns Center, in 2009 100 percent of Upward Bound's first cohort of seniors graduated on-time and 100 percent enrolled in colleges this fall. In addition, more than 80 percent of Rochester's McNair scholars have enrolled in graduate study upon completion of their bachelor's degrees, compared to a national average of 45 percent.

For further information about services offered by the Kearns Center, visit its website at