Clemson Diversity Matters

March 2012

Recap: The 10th National Conference on Best Practices in Achievement for Students of Color

Attendees of the 2012 Best Practices Conference

The 10th National Conference on Best Practices in Achievement for Students of Color was recently held March 4-6, 2012 at the Madren Conference Center and Martin Inn at Clemson University. Conference participants came from many institutions including: Appalachian State, University of Miami-Ohio, North Carolina State University, Purdue University, University of Georgia, University of North Carolina, UNC-Greensboro, University of Oregon, University of Wisconsin, Virginia Tech, University of Oklahoma, Clemson University and many more.

Day 1 of the Best Practices kicked off with a pre-conference workshop highlighting Emory University’s Transforming Community Project. This project which was funded by the Ford Foundation was used to effect a positive change in campus race relations and eliminate racism. Later that day, President Barker held a reception at his home to welcome all of the conference participants.

Day 2 was filled with dynamic speakers and presentations. The conference kicked off its morning sessions with three featured speakers:

  • Dr. Jack Thomas, President, Western Illinois University made a presentation entitled: "Creating an Environment to Promote Student and Faculty Success."

  • Dr. James H. Johnson, The William Rand Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy, Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, gave a talk which highlighted the current and future racial, gender, age and birthrate demographic changes which are occurring in our nation and how the nation and higher education will be affected by these changes.

  • Dr. James L. Moore, Associate Provost, Professor and Director, Todd A. Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male, The Ohio State University presented resources, research, and best practices to support the academic success of African American males.

During lunch, an admissions officers’ panel discussed race-based and race neutral admissions selection criteria and what their institutions are doing to have their student populations reflect surrounding state populations. The afternoon consisted of breakout sessions which included presentations of innovative approaches to support student achievement. Some of the topics presented included virtual mentoring, online graduate student panels, first generation students, STEM programs to increase participation among underrepresented students, and creating programs with zero resources.

Day 2 ended with keynote speaker, Deborah A. Santiago, Vice President for Policy, and Research, Excelencia in Education. Ms. Santiago talked about accelerating academic success for Latino students through strengthening public policy and institutional practices.

Day 3 was the last day of the conference. Being the 10th year of the Best Practices Conference , a presentation was given which served as a summary of the lessons learned from the conference over its ten year history. The presentation was entitled: “This is What We Know For Sure: Lessons Learned Over a Decade of National Conversations.” Dr. Frankie Felder, Senior Associate Dean of the Graduate School was the presenter. The Best Practices Conference ended with a student panel which included both undergraduate & graduate students. The students discussed the factors and services that helped or hindered their progress while enrolled in a college or university.

Additionally, this year, Dr. Juan Gilbert, Professor, Human Centered Computing at Clemson, was the first recipient of a Best Practices Leadership Award for his exceptional role as a mentor, scholar, teacher and leader.

We hope to see you at the 11th National Conference on Best Practices in the Achievement of Students of Color!

February Recap: Minority Student Success Initiative (MSSI)

The February Minority Student Success Event was held February 16, 2012 in the Clemson House. In honor of Black History Month., students, faculty, and staff had an opportunity to listen and engage in dialogue with guest speaker, Cecil Williams. Mr. Williams is a former photojournalist for Jet Magazine, the Afro-American, and the Pittsburgh Courier. Mr. Williams photographed many historic figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., President John F. Kennedy and Thurgood Marshall. Mr. William’s presentation included a number of historic photographs which highlighted many civil rights events in South Carolina such as Briggs vs. Elliot, the Orangeburg Massacre and Harvey Gantt’s enrollment at Clemson University as the first African American student.. Mr. Williams’ photographs have appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, and documentaries.

For highlights, photos and additional information, visit: ”Like” Clemson’s MSSI on Facebook:

Civil Treatment® for Managers Professional Development Program

Clemson University has launched a new program for managers and other supervisors to reinforce a fair, positive and workplace environment for all employees.

Beginning in February, Clemson implemented the Civil Treatment® for Managers Professional Development Program. This program will provide a comprehensive approach to fair employment practices, helping managers learn to deal constructively with complex employee and student issues and relationships on the job. It will provide an interactive, skills-based approach that will help ensure that decision-making is legal, fair, and reflective of the university’s values and policies.

Managers/supervisors have been invited and encouraged to participate by President Barker. The objectives of the program are to help reinforce and maintain a workplace environment that is welcoming, ethical, inclusive and productive. This program will begin with upper level administrators and managers who supervise large areas of the institution .Other Clemson employees will eventually have an opportunity to participate in this program. For more information about this professional development opportunity, contact: Leon Wiles, Chief Diversity Officer, or visit the Chief Diversity Office website at