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Dr. Leonard Moore on Race and Culture in College Admission



Dr. Leonard N. Moore, the George Littlefield Professor of American History at the University of Texas-Austin (UT) and executive director of the UT HBCU Initiative, will be the closing Main Stage speaker on Saturday, Sept. 24 from 2:15-3:30 p.m. CT.

Former vice president of diversity and community engagement at UT, Moore is renown for his student-centered approach to teaching about race in America. Currently teaching a class on the black power movement and a signature course titled “Race in the Age of Trump,” he was featured in 2016 in a Journal of College Admission article titled “Committed to Diversity.”

“Back in the fall of 2016—with the nation in the throes of one of the most contentious elections in history and student protests roiling campuses nationwide—admission leaders at the University of Texas at Austin gave prospective students and their families a unique look at the kind of spirited discussions students were likely to have on campus if they enrolled,” the article said.

Working with Moore, admission leaders arranged for families to visit Moore’s class, “Race in the Age of Obama.”

“This particular course is not only one of, if not the most popular undergraduate courses on campus, but it also has one of the most diverse enrollments, including students from non-minority groups with varying political beliefs,” explained Ka’rin Thornburg, then associate director of admissions at UT Austin and chair of the NACAC’s Inclusion, Access, and Success Committee. She explained that one particular visit to Moore’s class followed a “campus climate issue surrounding a student organization’s characterization of admission affirmative action policies.” “Dr. Moore incorporated this incident into his discussion,” Thornburg said. “Our prospective students and families visiting the class that day told the admission counselors how much they appreciated the visit—that it was a ‘lively’ but healthy discussion and that is was reassuring to know this kind of discourse was encouraged and facilitated.” The class visit is also the type of thing that experts say colleges and universities should do more of to give prospective students a more authentic experience as opposed to just presenting them with brochures filled with pictures of happy-looking students, the article concluded.

A Cleveland native, Moore earned his B.A. from Jackson State University (MS) and his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. From 1998-2007 he was a professor at Louisiana State University. He is the author of four books on black politics and is currently working on two book projects.