Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity

December 18, 2018

New Endowment to Support Underrepresented Students

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awards $500,000 to UW OMA&D Instructional Center

A new endowment for the University of Washington Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity (OMA&D) Instructional Center (IC) will support academic success for thousands of underrepresented minority, first-generation and economically disadvantaged students, thanks to a $500,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

This new Instructional Center Endowment will provide funding for undergraduate and graduate student tutors, helping the IC sustain and grow the number of students it serves, as well as enhance its mission of advancing academic achievement, retention, graduation and career success.

“The Instructional Center is a proven model of success for supporting students who come to the UW having experienced opportunity and achievement gaps compared to their peers,” said Rickey Hall, vice president for the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity and university diversity officer. “This gift from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is crucial to our ability to meet the needs of our increasingly diverse student population. It is also a significant step to build on as we continue to raise funds for expanding access to the IC. We are incredibly grateful for this support.”

IC Director Therese Mar (center) with economics tutors Max McDonald and Jiayi Zhuo.

IC Director Therese Mar (center) with economics tutors Max McDonald and Jiayi Zhuo at the IC’s 2018 Spring Recognition Ceremony.Emile Pitre

Underrepresented minority, first-generation and economically disadvantaged students who utilize the services of the IC are more likely to persist through their first year at the UW and graduate successfully than those who don’t, according to the center.

The success of the IC can be credited to its one-on-one assistance through instructors and student tutors, many who are former IC users themselves. Tutors are a key part of the IC’s mentoring component, creating an environment that provides students with a sense of belonging which leads to resilience and confidence.

“The Instructional Center is one of a kind,” said Ivan Machuca, first-year graduate student in mechanical engineering who utilized the center as an undergraduate. “No other place on campus can offer the type of support to succeed both academically and personally. The IC cultivated an environment where I felt I could not only survive at the UW, but thrive. It was this support and the lasting relationships that allowed me to find a home-away-from-home. For me, this made the difference in obtaining an engineering degree. I could not have done it without the IC.”

In addition to one-on-one tutoring, IC services include workshops and review sessions, study skills seminars, and professional and graduate school admissions preparation courses – all designed to better prepare students for success in rigorous courses, admissions to competitive majors, and readiness for graduate and professional schools and future careers.

Instruction and tutoring covers a wide array of subjects including accounting, biology, chemistry, computer science, economics, engineering, math, physics, psychology and sociology. The IC features an on-site writing center and computer facility and is staffed by 19 professional instructors. Over the course of a year, the IC employs as many as 50 peer tutors.

In 2001, the IC received two University Recognition Awards, winning the Brotman Award for Instructional Excellence and the Brotman Award for Diversity.

This gift significantly contributes to OMA&D’s IC campaign fundraising goal of $25 million to increase the number of students it can serve annually from 2,000 to 7,000. This funding will scale the proven impact on college and career success the IC makes for students who have faced the most significant hurdles in pursuit of their degrees.

Those wishing to donate to the Instructional Center Endowment can do so here.

About the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity
Established in 1968, the University of Washington Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity (OMA&D) broadens college access and supports the academic success of underrepresented minority, first-generation and economically disadvantaged students, as well as cultivates a campus climate the enriches the educational experience for all. OMA&D college access programs serve over 25,000 students in K-12 school districts and two-year colleges across the state of Washington and its student success programs serve over 6,000 UW undergraduates.

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people – especially those with the fewest resources – have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Wash., the foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and Co-chair William H. Gates, Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

Contacts:
Erin Rowley
UW Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity
206-616-7648
erowley@uw.edu

Anne Martens
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
206-902-7181
anne.martens@gatesfoundation.org