Skip to content

The Journey Continues: Office of Diversity Programs Set to Enter its 45th Year

From Fred Brown’s time as director of the Office of Engineering Diversity Programs (EDP), the office has seen a lot of change. In 1999, it was renamed and has come to serve not only African American, Hispanic, Native American, Pacific Islander, and Alaskan Native students, but also female students.

View some of the Office of Diversity Program’s milestones»

Throughout the past 44 years, the office has supported more than 1,000 students. The Fred Brown Jr. Minority Academic Endowment, James Pippin Pre-College Program Endowment, and the Engineering Diversity Excellence Endowment provide scholarships and success-oriented resources for underrepresented students within the Tickle College of Engineering. Additionally, the office continues to expand to support more students from underrepresented populations who are pursuing engineering. The office is considered a safe place where students can learn, grow, receive encouragement, and even let out their frustrations from time to time.

EDP has also made strides in maintaining strong corporate relationships. Our partnership with the Tennessee Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (TLSAMP) provides students with many opportunities, including monthly enrichment on subjects involving professionalism and student development. The TLSAMP Graduate Development Program also offers post-undergraduate workshops and GRE preparation for students planning to attend graduate school.

This year, the Engineering VOLunteers for Ninth Graders summer program was selected for the National Association of Multicultural Engineering Programs Advocates Outreach Program Award. This award is given to honor programs that have actively increased the participation of students from historically underrepresented minority populations in engineering.

Travis Griffin
Travis Griffin

“EDP continues to develop partnerships across Tennessee to support community-based programs with the goal of supporting student learning and engineering exploration,” said Travis Griffin, director of the office.

“We’ve come a long way, but the journey continues,” says Griffin. “We are committed to supporting underrepresented students in any capacity. In the coming year, a renewed focus will be placed on Women in Engineering programs to increase outreach and retention efforts to increase the number of female engineers in our college.”

Griffin’s goal is to provide programming to address recruitment, transition, and retention of female engineering students while continuing the strong support for multicultural engineering students and their communities. Efforts will include class clustering, academic workshops, and community building in order to improve academic performance and retention.

Celebrating 45 Years of Diversity Programs

  • 1973: The Minority Engineering Scholarship program is established within the college. Fred Brown is appointed program director.
  • 1975: The Southeastern Consortium for Minorities in Engineering is formed via six founding institutions, including the University of Tennessee’s College of Engineering.
  • 1979: The college joins the National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Advocates.
  • 1980: The National Society of Black Engineers UT student chapter is established and chartered.
  • 1982: The college joins the National Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science, Inc. Consortium
  • 1986: The college selects James Pippin as program director following the retirement of Fred Brown.
  • 1987: The Fred Brown, Jr. Scholarship Endowment is established.
  • 1993: The James T. Pippin Diversity Scholarship is established.
  • 1997: The Middle School Introduction to Engineering Systems is established for rising seventh- and eighth-grade students.
  • 1999: The scholarship and co-op components of the program are renamed the Diversity Engineering Scholarship program and incorporated into the college’s Office of Engineering Professional Practice. That same year, the college’s minority outreach programs are renamed the Office of Engineering Diversity programs and incorporate pre-college and bridge programs, recruitment and retention initiatives, and mentoring programs.
  • 2000: Introduction of Sophomores to Engineering Principles (INSTEP) is established for rising ninth- and tenth-grade students.
  • 2001: The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers UT student chapter is established and chartered.
  • 2002: The High School Introduction to Engineering Systems is established for rising eleventh- and twelfth-grade students.
  • 2002: The Tennessee Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation is established. Denise Jackson is appointed principal investigator.
  • 2003: The program is renamed the Office of Diversity Programs.
  • 2010: The college selects Travis Griffin as director following the retirement of James Pippin.
  • 2010: The James T. Pippin Pre-College Program Endowment is established.
  • 2012: The American Indian Science and Engineering Society UT student chapter is established and chartered.
  • 2013: INSTEP is restructured to develop two new programs: Engineering Volunteers for Ninth Graders and Engineering Volunteers for Tenth Graders.