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  • College town in Pennsylvania, not too, too far from the reach of being called Pittsburgh.

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Frederick Douglass Programs at Clarion UniversityEdit

CLARION - When it comes to meeting the ideals expressed by Frederick Douglass, Clarion University is leading the way. Since instituting the Frederick Douglass Program in 2001, both Clarion University and individuals have reaped the benefits. In 2001, Clarion University envisioned the Frederick Douglass Program to "be a window to the world of knowledge, a catalyst for bridging systems of thought and expression, a light of hope and a place of encouragement for all who seek change." Clarion University meets this vision through a three-pronged effort to increase student opportunities and improve student resources.

The oldest of the three programs, the Frederick Douglass Summer Scholars Program, completed its seventh year in 2007. This program provides university experience for doctoral candidates primarily from historically Black colleges and universities. The presence of these teaching fellows diversifies the summer session faculty. During the first Summer 2007 session, Kesha Morant and Tehani Finch, both from Howard University, and Valerie Jefferson from Northern Illinois University taught at Clarion University and made presentations about their research efforts. They bring the Douglass Summer Scholars Program participants to 17, including the initial scholar, Dr. Uraina Pack, now a faculty member in Clarion University's Department of English.

The second program, Frederick Douglass Graduate Assistantship Program, has operated at Clarion University since 2002. Clarion University is the only Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) institution participating in this program. The assistantships help to diversify the racial composition of Clarion's graduate student population. Clarion offers assistantships to qualified students at historically Black colleges and universities wishing to pursue a master's degree in one of Clarion's graduate programs. The awards are made on an annual basis and are renewable for a second year.

Seven graduate students from throughout the U.S. and three foreign countries are working as graduate assistants at Clarion University this year through this program. They included: Sasha Gardiner from Nassau, Fla., who is seeking a degree in speech language pathology; Brian Kehler of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, who is seeking a degree in English; Tiffany Maxwell of Austin, Texas, who is seeking a degree in education; Roderick Tucker of Akron, Ohio, who is seeking a degree in a mass media arts, journalism and communication studies; Debe Nwanze from Nigeria, who is seeking a degree in biology; Ivy Asiedu from Ghana, who is seeking a degree in library science; and Amil Cook of Randolph, Mass., who is seeking a degree in education/history.

The final piece of the Frederick Douglass Program is the growing Frederick Douglass Collection housed in Carlson Library. The collection emphasizes increasing the number of titles acquired for ethnic minority studies for children and young adults and development of the library's African-American history collection, especially in the area of slavery related to Douglass' life and times.

The concept for this program originated with the Frederick Douglass Institute of Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. This effort focuses on encouraging faculty and staff professional development around issues of equality and diversity by providing information and programs through scholarships and research, forums, exhibits, conferences and visiting scholars. The Institute plays a role in serving the traditionally underserved numbers of universities and civic communities, and provides opportunities for faculty to work with these groups and to serve as sources of encouragement.

Frederick Douglass (1818-95) was an escaped slave, fiery abolitionist, revolutionary journalist, dedicated defender of women's rights, a spellbinding orator, prolific writer, advisor to President Abraham Lincoln, and a public official. http://www.clarion.edu

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