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University Sends Delegation to Clemson Conference

Trip Part of Ongoing Effort to Increase Diversity

UMass Lowell Emeritus Provost Ahmed Abdelal
UMass Lowell’s participation in the Clemson University conference was sponsored by the Office of Provost Ahmed Abdelal.

By Sheila Eppolito

The University’s continued efforts to promote diversity were recently supported by a five-person group of UMass Lowell officials who attended a Clemson University meeting designed to present and share strategies to close the “achievement gap” that exists between black students and their counterparts.

The University delegation ― which included Doreen Arcus, director of the Honors Program; Robert Grantham, assistant professor of sociology; Peggy Knight, assistant professor, nursing; Michael Belcher, director of outreach and recruitment, and Pascha McTyson, assistant director of multicultural affairs ― was among the largest groups to attend the annual event, which drew 250 attendees to the South Carolina campus.

“Presenters discussed best practices used to support students of color in college,” says Arcus. “Some talked about specific academic programs as part of the overall college experience, while others spoke to efforts designed to improve retention of students once they enroll.”

Nearly all of the speakers highlighted the importance of including diversity in the core mission of the university, and to include diversity efforts as one of the core success indicators of the organization, not as a parallel effort.