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University of Iowa News Release


May 1, 2008

Faculty and staff honored with 2008 Audrey Qualls Diversity Awards

Two directors in the University of Iowa College of Education who have committed their work to supporting diversity were awarded the 2008 Audrey Qualls Commitment to Diversity Awards. The awards were given Thursday, April 30, during the UI College of Education Diversity Committee Spring Picnic.

Rebecca Anthony (photo, right), director of the Educational Placement Office in the UI College of Education and a facilitator in the Women in Science and Engineering Program, was the staff recipient, and Dennis C. Harper (photo, left), director of the Realizing Educational and Career Hopes (REACH) Program, was the faculty recipient.

Anthony's work in the College of Education sparked inspiration for extending the ePortofolio (tm) to WISE participants to better help women of color showcase their professional accomplishments in ways that will help them more successfully market themselves.

The Iowa ePortfolio is a Web-based system designed to meet mandated standards and performance assessment requirements. It combines the integration of technologies, academic coursework, field experience, and a skills-based hiring tool for professional advancement.

As students move through their program, they add performances and artifacts to their ePortfolio in each course, and by the end of their program, they have electronically collected multiple instances of their work, all tied directly to state and national standards.

In the 2007-08 academic school year alone, 65 percent of the doctoral and post-doctoral participants were women of color, according to Maria Barker, an Educational Policies Leadership Studies doctoral student, who nominated Anthony.

"Rebecca displays a deep understanding of and concern for the challenges women face when entering professions in science, technology, engineering or math," said Barker, who is also a student in the UI College of Law. "Her work is strong evidence of her desire to help women be successful in fields where they are chronically underrepresented."

Anthony has developed an ePortfolio program specifically for WISE, helping to level the playing field for women of color who face additional barriers in the field.

Harper was recognized for his work as director of the REACH program, which helps young adults with multiple learning and cognitive disabilities reach their full potential. The program allows students who otherwise could not attend the university to do so through a two-year certificate program that includes the following: academic enhancement, career development, residential life, and community life leading towards more independence in the students' lives.

"He's an advocate day in and day out for students and any individual with a disability," said Amy Vander Busard, REACH coordinator for student life. "He sees potential in every student he comes into contact with in the college and campus-wide."

Interested in a two-year program for students with disabilities at National-Louis University since June of 2005, Harper has provided leadership in developing the REACH program at the University of Iowa. At that time, former UI President David Skorton requested Harper's assistance in exploring the possibility of beginning that program within the College of Education.

"Harper dedicated himself to the mission of the program," said Laura Berger, a UI student pursuing a master's degree in the Rehabilitation Counseling Program, who nominated him. "He has tried to create a living-learning experience where young adults with multiple learning and intellectual disabilities are empowered with the skills necessary to be independent, engaged and contributing members of their community."

The Audrey Qualls Commitment to Diversity Award is a student-nominated award given annually to a faculty and a staff member in the College of Education. The award recognizes their demonstrated commitment to diversity. The award was named in honor of the late Audrey Qualls (photo, left), who was a professor of measurement and statistics in the UI College of Education Department of Psychological and Quantitative Foundations from 1990 until her death in 2002. Nominations are solicited each spring.

"Audrey Qualls was known as selfless and supportive, and she tried to use a variety of modalities and tools to achieve diversity," said Ren Stinson, a graduate research assistant in the UI College of Education and a member of the Diversity Committee.

Nominees for the award must demonstrate a commitment to diversity; include issues focusing on diversity as an integral part of course content or daily work activities; recognize that there is a diversity of learning and interaction styles, and try to accommodate for this by using a variety of modalities and tools; display commitment to all students; encourage students to offer their viewpoints; and conduct research and/or demonstrate involvement in activities that reflect a commitment to diversity.

For more information on the award, visit

Founded in 1872, the UI College of Education was the nation's first permanent, college-level department of education. Since then, the college has gained an international reputation of excellence in programs as diverse as Rehabilitation Counseling, Educational Measurement and Statistics, Counseling Psychology, Elementary and Secondary Teacher Education, and Higher Education Administration. The College of Education is also home to the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills and the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. For more information visit

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: John Achrazoglou, UI College of Education Diversity Committee, 319-335-6520,; Lois J. Gray, University News Services, 319-384-0077,; Writer, Gloria Hurtado