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Monday, April 17, 2017

Admissions Leaders: Give Prospects Unfiltered View of Campus Life | Diverse: Issues in Higher Education

For Dr. Leonard Moore, a history professor and associate vice president of academic diversity initiatives at the University of Texas at Austin, no college tour for prospective students would be complete without a look inside a classroom.
Photo: Dr. Leonard Moore

A classroom where class is in session, that is.

“I never understood college tours that occur on a Saturday where you’re just looking at buildings,” Moore said. “I’m big on putting students in the classroom. I think it’s powerful when kids and their parents are actually inside a college classroom.”

So back in the fall of 2016 — with the nation in the throes of one of the most contentious elections in history and student protests roiling campuses nationwide — Moore worked with admission leaders at UT Austin to give prospective students and their families a unique look at the kind of spirited discussions students were likely to have on campus if they enrolled.

More specifically, Moore and the admission office teamed up to allow students and their families to visit Moore’s class, “Race in the Age of Obama.”

“This particular course is not only one of, if not the most popular undergraduate courses on campus, but it also has one of the most diverse enrollments, including students from non-minority groups with varying political beliefs,” explained Ka’rin Thornburg, associate director of admissions at UT Austin and chair of the Inclusion, Access, and Success Committee for the National Association for College Admission Counseling, or NACAC.

“Given the election this fall, as one could imagine, class discussions were quite passionate,” Thornburg said.

One particular visit to Moore’s class followed an incident in October in which a group known as the Young Conservatives of Texas sparked a protest by holding an “affirmative action bake sale” in which people from different ethnic groups were allowed to pay different prices for cookies “to illustrate this disastrous policy that demeans minorities” at UT Austin.

“Dr. Moore incorporated this incident into his discussion,” Thornburg said. “Our prospective students and families visiting the class that day told the admission counselors how much they appreciated the visit — that it was a ‘lively’ but healthy discussion and that it was reassuring to know this kind of discourse was encouraged and facilitated.”

Moore said it takes bravery on the part of admission officers to allow such a class visit “because when the students come, we don’t sugarcoat anything.”

“It’s a freewheeling discussion and whatever happens, happens,” Moore said. “It’s 100 percent authentic.”

But the class visits also pay off in a variety of ways, Moore said.

Source: Diverse: Issues In Higher Education