Bauer, also a Women’s and Gender Studies faculty member who serves as special assistant to the Provost, is being lauded for her commitment to “enhancing the educational experiences and outcomes for under-represented students of color at UW-Green Bay,” according to a letter from Board of Regents President Brent Smith and Regents Diversity Awards Committee Chair John Drew. The awards committee was particularly impressed with the impact of Bauer’s Targeted Opportunities for Success in the Sciences (TOSS) Program, which has been effective in closing the academic achievement gap in UW-Green Bay Introduction to Human Biology courses.
Begun in 2009, the TOSS Program encourages multicultural students to take part in weekly workshops with teaching assistants who are trained in both the course material and in culturally responsive approaches to teaching. The achievement gap for those courses has disappeared, and the number of multicultural students majoring in Human Biology has increased since the program’s inception.
“TOSS is a positive, affirmative way for students to engage more deeply in the material that is presented in the class,” Bauer said, “and I think, even more importantly, to create community. I really think that’s what it’s all about when all is said and done — it’s the message that, ‘you belong. We want everyone to succeed and we totally think you can succeed.’ And it just allows students to make personal connections with their classmates, with the teaching assistants — many of whom are also students of color — and also with faculty.”
The TOSS Program is just one of Bauer’s many efforts to target the achievement gap and increase participation of under-represented groups in the sciences. Working with Donna Ritch, Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Bauer developed the course Ethnic Minorities in Science (Human Biology 202), which helps students acquire a historical perspective on the role of ethnic minorities in the culture of science. Bauer also has spearheaded efforts to bring notable scientists of minority backgrounds to UW-Green Bay, including biologist Tyrone Hayes, surgeon and author Dr. Lori Arviso Alvord and physician and global health expert Dr. David Walton. Meeting with these individuals inspires students and helps them see what’s possible, Bauer said.
Established in 2009 to recognize and support programs that foster access and success in university life for historically under-represented populations, the annual Regents Diversity Awards are presented in three categories — individual, team and institution/unit. In 2012, UW-Green Bay’s First Nations Studies Program won in the institution/unit category, recognized for its efforts to break down stereotypes and foster a greater understanding of First Nations people in Wisconsin. More information about the awards is available at www.uwsa.edu/bor/awards/diversity/.