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Alma Clayton-Pedersen Joins AAC&U Staff

A leader in diversity education, Dr. Alma Clayton-Pedersen has joined the staff of AAC&U as Senior Policy Director to work on a variety of existing projects and several new initiatives. Clayton-Pedersen brings to AAC&U a host of important skills and experiences gained through years of commitment to issues of diversity, student development, and educational policy reform. She comes to AAC&U from Vanderbilt University in Tennessee where she was the Senior Research Associate at the Center for Education and Human Development Policy in the Vanderbilt Institute for Public Policy Studies. Prior to assuming this position, she had served in several other positions at Vanderbilt including Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs and Assistant Professor of the Practice of Education and Public Policy.

Clayton-Pedersen has worked on campus diversity issues in a variety of ways. She and colleagues at Vanderbilt developed the Diversity Opportunity Tool, a CD-Rom through which students explore challenging situations of potential intergroup conflict. She also co-authored the volume, Enacting Diverse Learning Environments: Improving the Climate for Racial/Ethnic Diversity in Higher Education released in 1999. This important publication features some of the most important new research on what works to engage students in powerful diverse learning environments.

Clayton-Pedersen will work on several of AAC&U's ongoing diversity initiatives including the current William and Flora Hewlett Foundation supported faculty and curriculum development project, Boundaries and Borderlands III: The Search for Recognition and Community in America, and the Ford Foundation supported bi-annual meeting on Diversity and Learning (scheduled for October 26–29, 2000, in Pittsburgh, PA). AAC&U's Vice President for Education and Diversity Initiatives, Caryn McTighe Musil notes that "Alma will deepen and expand the diversity work of the Association because of her knowledge about the research on student learning and organizational change and her keen interest in translating that research into effective campus policies and practices."

Clayton-Pedersen will also be involved in the development of a new AAC&U initiative that addresses several of AAC&U's key priorities. The Greater Expectations initiative will define outcomes, discover strategies, and deploy resources to improve undergraduate student learning. It will include a national panel of leaders in education, government, business, and community action that will formulate a statement of aims and purposes for 21st century college-level study. As part of this initiative, Clayton-Pedersen will assist AAC&U's new Vice President, Andrea Leskes, to develop research and projects that facilitate greater access and improve the preparation of traditionally under-represented students. As AAC&U's president, Carol Geary Schneider, puts it: "Issues of readiness and support for higher levels of academic achievement are important new frontiers for those who support diversity in higher education. Alma is exactly the right person to help AAC&U move vigorously ahead on both these issues. We are thrilled that she will be building a bridge between our diversity work and our new work on greater expectations for all student learning."

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Dr. Alma Clayton-Pedersen -- Vanderbilt University, The Vanderbilt Register

Dr. Alma Clayton-Pedersen