Talented Undergraduate Minority Fellowship Research Program
The Talented Undergraduate Minority Fellowship Research Program was funded by a discretionary, competitive, federal, two-year grant from the US Department of Education. Dr. Ernest W. Brewer wrote and received funding for three consecutive TRUMP grants. In addition, he received financial support from Dr. Richard Wisniewski, a former dean of the College of Education, to operate the project. The project provided fellowships to 179 talented, undergraduate students who demonstrated financial need and were from minority groups traditionally underrepresented in graduate education. The project recruited students from across the southeastern United States and from more than fifty colleges and universities. Acceptance into the program was based on GPAs, recommendations, and other information provided on participant application forms.
The program of study included a summer research internship augmented by six semester hours of academic coursework for credit in statistics and research methods, along with other scholarly experiences. The purpose of all program activities was to lay an academic foundation for the successful pursuit of a graduate course of study. Participants spent six weeks at UT Knoxville during the summer and received weekly stipends. In addition, participants worked with faculty mentors in major research activities, received academic and career counseling, and participated in graduate exam preparation workshops. The participants had the opportunity to attend a reception given in their honor by the late Alex Haley on his farm in East Tennessee. TRUMP was legislatively phased out as the McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program came into existence and began serving students from similar backgrounds.
A research study conducted and published in The Opportunity Journal by Brewer and Landers (2004) found that the project was highly effective. The majority of participants continued in higher education and received graduate degrees. A significant number of participants obtained their doctorate degrees after the study was completed.
Tennessee Geographic Alliance (TGA)
Throughout its history, projects within the CAPS Outreach Center have established collaborative partnerships to support and expand project services. One significant collaboration was between the Math and Science Regional Center (MSRC) and the Tennessee Geographic Alliance (TGA). In 2002, MSRC Director Dr. Nancy Headlee Gregg and TGA Coordinator Kurt Butefish worked together to submit a successful proposal to the National Geographic Society Education Foundation. Summer MSRC participants conducted actual field research with UT Knoxville graduate students and scientific researchers from across the nation as part of Discover Life in America (DLIA) and its All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI) initiative to document existing and new species living within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Students entered data into geographic information system (GIS) databases and produced distribution maps of the flora and fauna they had inventoried. The project was supported in part through a $48,000 Grosvenor Grant for "Building a Toolbox of Skills: Immersing Teachers and Students in Experiential Learning." Student activities were recorded by a photojournalist from National Geographic and included in the magazine's September 2002 issue.
High School Equivalency Program (HEP)
Being an expert in the field of grant writing and helping disadvantaged individuals, Dr. Brewer wrote a grant proposal in response to a discretionary request for proposal (RFP) for the High School Equivalency Program (HEP) in 1985. The project was funded through grants from the US Department of Education's Office of Migrant Education. Competitive awards were funded for up to five years.
The purpose of the project was to assist migratory and seasonal farm workers (or children of farm workers) who were sixteen years of age or older (and not already enrolled in a program) to obtain an equivalent high school diploma and subsequently to gain employment, begin training, or enter postsecondary education. HEP participants received developmental instruction and counseling services intended to prepare them to complete the requirements for high school graduation or for GED certificates; they participated in subsequent postsecondary education and career activities. The major support services offered through HEP were counseling, job placement, health care, financial aid stipends, housing for residential students, and cultural and academic programs.
Past coordinators were Dr. George Traver and Dr. Loida C. Velazquez.
Educational Talent Search
In 1980, Dr. Brewer wrote the first of many federal, service-oriented grants. One such grant was the Educational Talent Search (ETS) program. This federally funded TRIO program in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education was funded for twenty-five years and served more than 25,000 participants in thirteen middle and high schools in Knox County, Tennessee.
The goal of the program was to identify and assist first-generation and low-income students in grades 6–12 in completing high school and attending the college or university of their choice. Students selected to participate in the program benefited from a number of program services designed to support student achievement and to access postsecondary opportunities successfully after high school.
Program services occurred during and after school and were free to eligible ETS students. Services included tutorials for students with difficulty in particular classes; career and academic advising; exposure to various cultural events; financial aid and scholarship advising; SAT and ACT preparation; college tours to introduce students to various institutions; and guidance to select the appropriate institution for each student's chosen career path.
In a 1995 research study, Dr. Brewer and Jama McMahan Landers conducted a longitudinal study of the ETS project that was published in the Journal of Career Development. They compared the enrollment rates of 758 ETS participants over a 10-year span with a group of participants who were eligible to participate in the program but chose not to receive services. Analysis revealed that ETS participants were significantly more likely to enroll in postsecondary education than were members of the control group.
Directors of the program were Peggy Brown, Dr. Ginger Hood, Barbara Lonas, and Dr. Nancy Headlee Gregg.
Levi Strauss Foundation Special Emphasis Grant: Project First Generation (PFG)
Knoxville Strategic Partnership
In 2003, the EOC was selected by the Levi Strauss Foundation to be a part of a collaborative effort among fifteen nonprofit service providers in Knox and surrounding counties. The primary goal of the partnership was to prevent gaps in the continuum of services from childcare, pay equity, social security, and non-traditional jobs. Project emphasis was placed on nonprofit collaborative networks, participatory research, and inclusive designs. Outcomes included communication strategies to the community, increased capacity of nonprofits to provide services, increased access to services for clients, and identification of new strategies highlighted in research and shared among partners. Vee McGahey served as the EOC collaborative partner.
Project First Generation (PFG)
Funded in 1994, PFG was designed to target low-income mothers whose parents did not graduate from college. Partnerships with businesses and industries created a distinctive experience for students that provided education, employment, and continuous mentoring, with experienced managers who were selected by the employers. Participants also received assistance from an Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) educational specialist with educational planning, seeking and obtaining financial aid, and enrolling in a postsecondary program. The project ended after three years. Vee McGahey served as director, and Sheldia Sunstrom and Gloria Lee were counselors in Knoxville and Georgia, respectively.
College Assistance Migrant Program
The US Department of Education announced it was seeking grant applications for four College Assistance Migrant Programs (CAMP) in the early 1980s. Recognizing that UT Knoxville had a low probability of receiving funding because of the limited number of awards and the high density of migrant workers in California, Texas, and Florida, Dr. Brewer developed and wrote a grant proposal to serve Region IV of the United States. His project was funded, and he immediately hired Dr. Frank Nagy from the University of South Florida, who had expertise in managing programs similar to CAMP. After serving as the principal investigator for a few years, Dr. Brewer turned the program over to another professor in the College of Education (before the college merged with the College of Human Ecology and became CEHHS). Later, when the funding cycle ended, the grant competition became more competitive, and the project was not funded in subsequent years.
The purpose of the project was to assist students who were either engaged in migrant and other seasonal farm work themselves or whose immediate family was engaged in this type of work. These students were also enrolled or admitted on a full-time basis in their first academic year at UT Knoxville. The students lived on campus, attended classes, and enjoyed the privileges of regular college students. Under the CAMP grant, the project provided academic, personal, and financial support to fifty qualified students.
Eligible students received benefits from services such as advising, educational planning, career/personal assessments, student stipends, and tutoring. These services provided the necessary information, support, and skills for them to complete their first year at UT Knoxville and to continue their postsecondary education through graduation. Stipends assisted students with the costs associated with attending UT Knoxville; funds were also available to help pay health and other social service expenses. Participants were connected to key community resources, employment referrals, and childcare support. Data showed that eligible students receiving CAMP services had a 91 percent retention rate after completing the first year of college, compared to a 26 percent retention rate for students not receiving CAMP services.