University of Pittsburgh
June 11, 2001


Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH, June 11 -- The 2001 Chancellor's Affirmative Action Award honoring the "outstanding University of Pittsburgh program area or individual that has made a significant contribution in affirmative action" today was awarded to the Affirmative Action Committee of the School of Information Sciences (SIS).

The award, which includes a prize of $2,500, was created by an initial gift from Maryann F. Coffey, formerly an assistant to the chancellor and director of Affirmative Action at the University of Pittsburgh, and Joseph I. Coffey, her husband and formerly a professor in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.

Working with Professor Emeritus E.J. Josey, SIS' Affirmative Action Committee has over the past 15 years made a commitment of resources to the recruitment and retention of minority students, faculty members, and staff, with emphasis on African American students. Among the initiatives cited were:

• Individual recruitment efforts by Josey, including visits to Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs); attendance at the Graduate Opportunities Conference for Black and Hispanic Students in Pennsylvania; and visits to large urban public and university libraries with African American support staff holding undergraduate degrees;

• Additional involvement in Affirmative Action by Josey in his role as SIS Minority Concerns Council (MCC) advisor; his personal outreach to individual, prospective students; and his fund raising efforts, which included his joining with others to urge the American Library Association (ALA) to establish the Spectrum Initiative scholarship program for minorities, which it did in 1998;

• Reinstatement of the Minority Resource Office (MRO), which existed at SIS in the 1970s and '80s, to serve as a peer advising service that offers a forum for student concerns and a referral service to appropriate University and community resources;

• Ongoing support of ALA's Spectrum Scholars; and

• Establishment of the SIS/University Library System (ULS) Minority Fellows Program.

The Chancellor's Affirmative Action Award was chosen by a committee of Pitt faculty and staff and announced by Nordenberg at the Senate Council meeting of the Pitt faculty.

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