Richard Feldman, professor of philosophy and dean of Arts, Sciences and Engineering's undergraduate College at the University of Rochester, was recently given the Arturo Schomburg Distinguished Service Award by the Association for Equality and Excellence in Education (AEEE). AEEE is a professional association for staff who work with federal TRiO programs in New York and New Jersey. The Arturo Schomburg award, the Association's highest honor, is given annually to a person who has demonstrated consistent and valuable services to the cause of education for populations who have been denied access and opportunity in the pursuit of higher education. The award was presented during AEEE's annual conference this May.
Feldman, who joined the University of Rochester in 1975, served as chair of the philosophy department for 13 years before he was named dean of the College in 2006. As dean, Feldman oversees Rochester's undergraduate programs including the David T. Kearns Center for Leadership and Diversity in Arts, Sciences and Engineering, which is home to three TRiO programs, and the Office of Minority Student Affairs (OMSA), which supports the Higher Education Opportunity Program and the Early Connection Opportunity Program for entering freshmen.
In a letter nominating Feldman for the award, Beth Olivares, president of AEEE and the director of the Kearns Center wrote, "Rich works with his management team to seriously consider retention and graduation rates and the successes of students in all aspects of their education." In the last few years, these efforts have resulted in the significant expansion of several highly successful programs in both the Kearns Center and OMSA.
"While others tend to shy away from difficult discussions regarding differences in ethnicity, race, gender or income level in these outcomes, Rich is willing to have these conversations, to look at the data, and to come up with solutions," she explained.
In her letter, Olivares also noted Feldman's commitment to the College Diversity Roundtable, a group of staff, students, and faculty who meet regularly to advise him on issues regarding diversity on campus.
AEEE serves as a resource for staff who work with TRIO Programs, which were established by Congress to help low-income students enter college, graduate, and participate more fully in America's economic and social life. TRiO programs, which include Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math/Science, the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement program, and Talent Search, among others, are supported by the U.S. Department of Education.