VOLUME 32, NUMBER 17 THURSDAY, January 25, 2001

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Emanuel L. Blount Jr. is the executive director of the Office of University Preparatory Programs. Before coming to UB last semester, he was director of the University of Rhode Island/Feinstein College of Continuing Education and a lead researcher for the University of Rhode Island-Providence Campus Urban Initiative.

What is the mission of the Office of University Preparatory Programs (OUPP)?

Our mission, through collaboration and partnership with families, schools, community organizations, businesses and corporations, and through the larger mission of UB, is to expand upon the quality and quantity of preparatory services and programs by providing for the students and parents we serve such things as personal, individual, group and family counseling; career planning; tutoring in the areas of math, science, reading skills, writing skills and global studies; employment training and opportunities, and such enrichment activities as cultural diversity and field trips. This will involve the procurement of new funding and the creation and development of new programs to help prepare low-income, first-generation, college-bound, disadvantaged students for college and university life.

Can you tell me a little about the different programs that fall under the OUPP umbrella? How does OUPP fit in with the university's public-service mission?

OUPP is designed to improve the ability of students to succeed in high school and increase the access to post-secondary education. Geared to high school students, this office provides a unique service to the community through education and training. OUPP also interacts with other university programs and departments, such as those in the College of Arts and Sciences, to increase access to higher education, especially for minority, historically under-represented, at-risk and economically disadvantaged students. UB has formed a unique partnership with several community-based organizations and various public and independent schools to provide an educational support program for middle and high school students at risk of dropping out of school before graduation. The Liberty Partnership Program (LPP) is designed to provide students with a broad range of services and activities aimed at increasing their motivation and ability to graduate from high school and go on to college. The Science and Technology Enrichment Program-also known as STEP-is an educational-enrichment program that provides instruction, training and counseling services to students in grades 7 through 12 who are historically under-represented in the science, technology, health and health-related professions. The program expands upon activities that generate the skills and motivation necessary to pursue pre-professional or professional education programs of study among minorities and disadvantaged students. The Upward Bound Program at UB was established in 1967 as an eight-week high school-to-college transitional service for low-income and disadvantaged students. In 1969, the program expanded its service to include high school students between 13 and 19 years of age. Conceptually, the Upward Bound Program at the university was designed to increase the number of disadvantaged students with demonstrated potential to enroll in and graduate from institutions of higher education. The Upward Bound Math/Science Regional Center offers a six-week summer residential program of intensive study and hands-on research experiences in mathematics and science to students from New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands who excel academically. University faculty and researchers collaborate with the program to develop curriculum, instruct courses and direct internships. The Upward Bound Math/Science Regional Center helps participants gain the necessary academic skills to pursue careers in math and science.

I understand there have been changes at OUPP. Tell me about them.

OUPP has established the OUPP Advisory Board to form linkages throughout the communities of Buffalo. The members will be from all sectors of Buffalo, including businesses and corporations, education and community groups and organizations. We also have developed the Executive Director Leadership Team, the Executive Director Programs Team and the Executive Director Administrative Support Team. The team approach is an effort to communicate knowledge to serve the community and university.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

The most rewarding aspect of the job is the changes being put in place, such as team work, to meet the needs of our customers. We are developing new brochures for OUPP for marketing purposes. We are going to offer a series of workshops for the communities of Buffalo on such topics as critical thinking, conflict management, time management, etc. We also are forming new partnerships with units of the university, such as the School of Management and its Center for Entreprenurial Leadership and the School of Social Work, to name a few.

What question do you wish I had asked, and how would you have answered it?

How do you plan to pay for all these new changes and innovations? By securing, through collaboration and partnership, more and more grants and forming more and more partnerships.

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