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ODEI Allies are Awarded for Inclusive Excellence

ODEI is proud to celebrate three campus leaders who were awarded for excellence in their endeavors to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion on UMSL’s campus and beyond.  These leaders are critical partners to our office and our collective efforts to work towards inclusive excellence.  Learn more about their amazing work below.

Dr. Marie Mora – Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Dr. Mora was honored for her efforts along with 11 other recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. “It’s a tremendous honor – and a humbling one – to be recognized along with these other inspiring mentors,” Mora said. “This recognition also confirms my fundamental belief in how one person can make a difference to improve lives, especially when we reach positions to be able to help others achieve the goals they set for themselves. I have devoted a significant part of my career to increase diversity, access and inclusion in the economics profession, in other STEM fields, and in higher education more broadly.”

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Dr. Natissia Small – Assistant Provost for Access and Academic Support

Dr. Natissia Small will serve as the principal investigator for the new $1.3 million TRIO Student Support Services grant intended for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds – low-income individuals, first-generation college students and individuals with disabilities – as they progress from middle school through to post-baccalaureate programs. Its objective is to increase, by at least 5 percent, the rates at which students persist from one academic year to the next, remain in good academic standing and ultimately earn their degrees. ““We are excited to receive the SSS grant award as it will provide us the opportunity to further meet a unique group of transfer student populations to be served,” Small said. “The TRIO SSS funding allows us to further expand our efforts in meeting academic and non-academic needs of students to overcome barriers that impede degree completion.”

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Dr. Jerome Morris – E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professor of Urban Education

Dr. Morris was named the recipient of the Lyle M. Spencer Research Award. Morris has studied the impact of school reforms, as well as the links between race, social class and the geography of educational opportunities and Black communities in the South for more than 20 years. He will use the $1 million prize to investigate his theory of communally bonded schooling in three local school districts. “What I’m hoping from this work is that from studying these communities, we will have a better sense of those factors that are conducive to inform this communally bonded model,” Morris said. “Some of the work I’ve done was based on elementary schools. Now, I’m incorporating middle and high schools into that theoretical research. We will have a better sense of what communally bonded schools look like.”

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Congratulations for these well-deserved accolades and many thanks for all that you do to support diversity, equity, and inclusion at UMSL!