OADI History

Office of academic Diversity and Inclusion History

1985: Office of Academic Affairs conducted a study of retention and graduation rates of minority students comparing them to the general populations, under the leadership of Dr. Herman Thomas, a faculty associate. Recommendations submitted based on the results of the research.

1986: The University Transition Opportunities Program (UTOP), a summer transition program, was implemented. The program’s focus was primarily on African American students; recruitment began by distributing information to local churches and congregations which were a significant part of Dr. Thomas’s network. The program signified the beginning of academic support efforts specifically for minority students.

1987: The Student Advising for Freshman Excellence (SAFE) program, a peer mentoring program for first year students, was established within the Division of Student Affairs with Dr. Greg Davis serving as the coordinator between Academic Affairs and Student Affairs.

1995: The Office of Minority Academic Services was established and reported to Dr. Terrell Rhodes, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Programs in Academic Affairs; Dr. Greg Davis was named Director. His staff consisted of one academic advisor, a program assistant, and Dr. Herman Thomas continued as the UTOP Coordinator.

1996: Ms. Jodi Turner was hired and served as the academic advisor for both UTOP and SAFE. That same year, the Producing Readiness of a Diverse University Cohort in Education (PRODUCE) grant was awarded to assist underrepresented students in the STEM disciplines.

1997: Ms. Turner became the coordinator for PRODUCE.

1998: The Transfer Resources for Advancing the College Experience (TRACE), designed to assist underrepresented transfer students, was implemented for ten years (1998-1999).

2000: Dr. Herman Thomas resigns as the UTOP coordinator.

2003: Minority Academic Services changes its name to Academic Initiatives for Mentoring Students (AIMS).

2004: Kristen McManus is hired as the UTOP Coordinator.

2004: Bridge to the Doctorate grant is awarded.

2007: Building Better Brothers (B3) program is started.

2008: Dr. Greg Davis retires from the University.

2008: Academic Initiatives for Mentoring Students (AIMS) changes its name to Office of Multicultural Academic Services.

2008: Dr. Sam Lopez is hired as the Director.

2009: AVID Day at UNC Charlotte is established.

2009: Belma Blanco was hired as the Administrative Support Assistant.

2010: The Dr. Herman Thomas Scholarship for the UTOP Program is established through an anonymous gift from a UTOP alum.

2010: In a report produced by The Education Trust, UNC Charlotte is recognized as one of eleven campuses nationwide for closing the achievement gap between African American & Hispanic/Latino students and the majority student population; Office of Multicultural Academic Services is highlighted as major factor in reaching this milestone.

2010: Legislative proposal funding “need-based” scholarships for UTOP program is approved.

2010: Howard Simms is hired as Assistant Director (UTOP and B3 Coordinator).

2011: UTOP celebrates its 25th Anniversary with a weekend celebration, bringing together alumni from as far back as the first class, students and administrators.

2014: Shawn Simmons is hired as UTOP and B3 Coordinator.

2014: UTOP reaches a program high of 81 participants.

2015: Multicultural Acdemic Services moves to new office in Colvard North.

2015: Shawn Simmons is hired as Assistant Director.

2017: PRODUCE is renamed NC-LSAMP (North Carolina Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation) UNCC.

2017: Instilling Girls with Nobility and Integrity; Thriving through Empowerment (IGNITE) is created as a student organization by Nakia Foye (UTOP '15) and Shawn Simmons as a sister organization to Building Better Brothers.

2018: Regena Brown is hired as the Director.

2018: UTOP reaches a new participant high of 92 students.

2018: Multicultural Academic Services changes its name to the Office of Academic Diversity and Inclusion (OADI).

2018: IGNITE is fully integrated into the OADI as a department program.