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Colloquium - Gilbert

Achieving Diversity Without Preference in the New Affirmative Action Era
Auburn University
2/6/2008
2:00pm-4:00pm

In 2003, two land mark cases challenged the University of Michigan admissions policies, one focused on Law School admission and the other on undergraduate admissions. In Grutter v. Bollinger, the case focused on the Law School, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of the Law School. However, in the Gratz v. Bollinger, by a vote of 6-3, the Court reversed, in part, the University's undergraduate admission's policy to provide points for race/ethnicity. Therefore, the Court decided that race could be considered in admission's decision, but could not be the deciding factor. Later, Michigan residents voted to adopt a ban on racial and gender preferences through Proposition 2. In 2007, the Supreme Court heard two cases on race-conscious school placement policies in Louisville and Seattle. The court struck down the programs in Louisville and Seattle. In all of these cases, it is clear that racial and gender preferences are either over or on their way out. However, the need to diversify still exists, as explained by the courts and researchers. How can institutions achieve diversity without giving preference to race, gender, etc.? In an effort to address these issues, a data mining tool called Applications Quest, was developed by Dr. Juan E. Gilbert. Applications Quest allows the use of race/ethnicity, gender or any other attributes to be considered in admissions, school assignments, employee hiring or any other application processing area, such that no preferences are given to race or gender.

Dr. Juan E. Gilbert is the T-SYS Distinguished Associate Professor in the Computer Science and Software Engineering Department at Auburn University. He directs the Human-Centered Computing (HCC) Lab. Dr. Gilbert has research projects in Spoken Language Systems, Advanced Learning Technologies, User Interfaces (Usability), Ethnocomputing (Culturally Relevant Computing) and Databases. He has published more than 50 articles, given more than 90 talks and obtained more than $3 million dollars in research funding in his seven years at Auburn University. Dr. Gilbert is a Senior Member of the IEEE Computer Society, he serves on the IEEE Computer Society Board of Governors and he is the column Editor for the Broadening Participation in Computing Series in IEEE Computer. Dr. Gilbert was named one of the nation's top African-American Scholars by Diverse Issues in Higher Education and he was the recipient of the Black Engineer of the Year Special Recognition Award. In that same year, Dr. Gilbert received the American Society for Engineering Education Minorities in Engineering Award. Recently, Dr. Gilbert was named a national role model by Minority Access Inc. At Auburn University, Dr. Gilbert has been honored with the Auburn University Alumni Engineering Council Junior Faculty Research Award, the Auburn University ACM Outstanding Faculty Member, Auburn University Alumni Outstanding Minority Achievement Award and the Auburn University Outstanding Minority Service Award. In 2006, Dr. Gilbert was honored with a mural painting in New York City by City Year New York, a non-profit organization that unites a diverse group of 17 to 24 year-old young people for a year of full-time, rigorous community service, leadership development, and civic engagement.

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