Sociocultural Programming earns Regents’ Diversity Award

UWM’s Sociocultural Programming received a team diversity award from the UW System Board of Regents at the 10th annual Regents’ Diversity Awards on Feb. 9 in Madison.

The awards recognize individuals and programs at UW System schools that promote access and success for students from historically underrepresented populations. Selection criteria included evidence of: sustainable positive impact on equity and diversity, positive institutional change, routine assessment that promotes forward movement of equity and diversity goals, intersections of diversity and collaboration with other departments or communities.

“Being honored with the UW System Board of Regents’ Diversity Award is a testament to the value of Sociocultural Programming to our campus and community,” said Rebecca Grassl, assistant director of the UWM Union, student involvement.

Sociocultural Programming’s groups, teams and organizations provide regularly scheduled events and activities that promote increased awareness and understanding of social justice and urban issues both in the community and on campus. They collaborate with more than 60 partners both on and off campus, offer roughly 50 programs and serve over 6,000 participants annually.

There are several, cornerstone campus programs involved with Sociocultural Programming. Each routinely assesses learning outcomes and program impact for their events and activities. Some of the primary indicators in those assessments include audience size, demographics and surveys.

One of UWM Sociocultural Programming’s most successful events of 2017 was the Muslim Student Association’s scheduling of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as part of the campus’ distinguished lecture series. Abdul-Jabbar’s appearance drew more than 1,100 students and community members to a conversation about his identity as a Muslim, activist and former professional basketball player.

“UWM is a more exciting, engaging and diverse community because of Sociocultural (Programming) and we are excited to see what new ideas they bring to campus next,” Grassl said.

Each Regents’ Diversity Award recipient receives $5,000 to support professional development or continue funding the program being recognized. UWM is one of three award winners this year; UW-Eau Claire’s Upward Bound program will receive the other team award, and Bee Vang, the program director of Upward Bound at UW-River Falls, will receive the individual award.

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