Vanderbilt’s Posse Scholars Program has moved to the Office of Undergraduate Education under the leadership of Vice Provost Tiffiny Tung to better align with campus resources that support fellowships and scholarships for undergraduate students. The transition to OUE reflects and reaffirms Vanderbilt’s top-level commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion throughout all vice provost areas at the university.
“Positioning the Posse Scholars Program within the Office of Undergraduate Education emphasizes our unwavering dedication to equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging,” said C. Cybele Raver, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “This strategic adjustment guarantees that the Posse program remains a force for students’ transformative experiences, showcasing our commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive academic journey.”
This change builds upon the expansion of the Posse Scholars Program in which two new cohorts will join Vanderbilt in fall 2024: a cohort from New York City and another from Houston, resulting in three cohorts total. In September, Vanderbilt hosted a welcome event for the 2023–24 Posse Scholars to celebrate the program’s growth and connect the new students.
The Posse Foundation is a national nonprofit organization that teams up with selective colleges and universities in the United States to provide students with scholarships and leadership training. In 1989, Vanderbilt was the first university to partner with the Posse Foundation, whose mission centers on how the model “works for both students and college campuses and is rooted in the belief that a small, diverse group of talented students—a Posse—carefully selected and trained, can serve as a catalyst for individual and community development.”
Since its inception, the partnership between Vanderbilt and the Posse Foundation has supported more than 300 Posse Scholars, who receive scholarships that can cover the entire cost of attendance.
“As the first from my New York City Public High School to attend Vanderbilt, I was not prepared for the challenges of the environment—academically, socially or even emotionally,” said Anisa Utilla, a junior Posse Scholar majoring in human and organizational development. “Coming to Vanderbilt with the Posse Program has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Posse is so much more than a scholarship; it is a community that I am proud to call home.”
For Tung, welcoming the Posse program to her portfolio provides a new opportunity to create meaningful impact for students.
“The Posse program embodies so much of what we stand for at Vanderbilt—leadership, research, community and academic opportunity,” Tung said. “I am thrilled to welcome the new Posse Scholars to Vanderbilt and the program into the Office of Undergraduate Education. Our team looks forward to working with these students to help them have the best classroom experiences and increase their access to research, internships and other experiential learning opportunities. I’ve had several meetings with the Posse Scholars, and they are an impressive group of students. I expect that they will become leaders on our campus.”
Posse’s move to OUE coincides with the area’s ongoing search to appoint a senior director for academic opportunities and belonging, a new position that will include leadership of the Posse Scholars Program. This new role is part of the university’s continued commitment to best practices in opportunity, diversity, inclusion and belonging in higher education.
Jill Stratton, assistant provost for academic support and community engagement, is the acting senior director for academic opportunities and belonging and the primary contact for the Posse Scholars Program.
“I am delighted by the creation of this role, as it ensures comprehensive support for students throughout their academic journey, encompassing internal and external educational opportunities, research endeavors and other academic pursuits,” Stratton said. “I am honored to serve as the acting senior director and thoroughly enjoyed meeting the Posse Scholars and mentors at the welcome event. I eagerly anticipate collaborating with this new leader in Undergraduate Education.”
For information about the Posse Scholars or the Office of Undergraduate Education, please email email@example.com.