UT Honored at National Association of Student Affairs Professionals Conference

Terrell StrayhornThe University of Tennessee, Knoxville, received three awards at the National Association of Student Affairs Professionals’ annual conference.

Terrell Strayhorn, special assistant to the provost and assistant professor in educational psychology and counseling, and a group of UT students attended the conference Feb. 21 in Atlanta.

UT was awarded the 2008 Outstanding Graduate College Student Personnel and Higher Education Program Award, the first time the NASAP has ever given this award to a predominantly white institution. The award recognized UT for its efforts to admit a significant number of black graduate students who have moved on to administrative positions at distinguished institutions.

"This is a great honor, and it reflects our commitment to diversity within the programs, department, college and university," Strayhorn said. "My colleagues in the program, Dr. Norma Mertz and Dr. Grady Bogue, and I have worked diligently to enhance the nature of our programs to accommodate students’ needs, varying interests and an array of professionals goals. These awards demonstrate that you can pursue diversity while maintaining excellence."

James "DJ" Baker III, a doctoral student in higher education, received the 2008 Outstanding Graduate Student Award. He was chosen by a selection committee chaired by Rose Wilson-Hill, director of administration and special programs at Ohio State University. Baker was nominated by Strayhorn, his major professor.

"He is a member of one of my research teams and we have worked on two large research projects that focus on black men in college and academic support programs for black students," Strayhorn said. "His dissertation will extend this work to focus on pre-college outreach TRIO programs."

Strayhorn, along with several graduate students, also took home the 2008 Outstanding General Session Award. They presented a session highlighting findings from the African American Incentive Grant and African American Achievers research they conducted in 2007.

"This year we presented findings from a study in which we assessed the efficacy of the former African American Achievers (AAA) and African American Incentive Grant (AAIG) programs," Strayhorn said. "And, drawing from a study about how black men experience predominantly white campuses, we talked about the academic and social needs of black male and female collegians. The discussion was lively and intense; the audience consisted of chief academic officers, student affairs administrators, graduate and undergraduate students."

NASAP is a professional organization dedicated to encouraging excellence in student affairs. It addresses issues and needs of college students while promoting professional development. NASAP was founded in 1954 at Howard University as an offshoot of the National Association of Deans of Women and Advisor of Girls in Colored Schools and the National Association of Personnel Dean of Men at Negro Education Institutions.

Strayhorn thanked everyone who contributed to and supported their efforts including Provost Bob Holub, Dean Bob Rider, department head Steve McCallum, and colleagues Norma Mertz, Grady Bogue, Jane Redmond and members of the NASAP.