Cyprien Lokko, originally from Ghana, West Africa, found his ‘home away from home’ as a participant in West Virginia University’s Minority Doctoral Program.

The program targets underrepresented, high-achieving minority students interested in completing a doctoral degree.

“One of the goals of the program is to create more diversity within the state by creating more faculty to teach in colleges and universities around West Virginia,” Jennifer McIntosh, executive officer for social justice at WVU.

Lokko is one of six students in the program expected to complete their doctorates by the end of 2010. He will obtain his doctorate in curriculum and instruction.

The other doctoral students are: Arelene Clausell, Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction; Charlie Collins, Ph.D. in forest resource sciences; Daton Dean, Ed.D. in educational leadership; Twyla Jones, Ed.D. in educational leadership; and Godriver Odhiambo, Ph.D. in history.

The program not only provides the funding needed for students to obtain their doctorates, but it also provides mentoring, networking and research opportunities.

“My perception of this program goes well beyond description,” Lokko said. “Programs like this are exemplary for minority students because it gives us role models to look up to and also entreats us to help bridge the disparities in minority representation among faculty in academia. The future of equity and equal representation lies in programs such as these which strive to lend a supportive hand to aspiring students who wish to join the echelons of the professorate.”

Lokko aims to use his degree to teach or serve as an administrator in higher education; but ultimately he will be an advocate for minority representation.

The doctoral students were recognized during an annual regalement ceremony in late April, where West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission Chancellor Brian Noland recognized the scholars with a name change. Participants in WVU’s Minority Doctorate Program will now be referred to as “Chancellor’s Scholars.”

“The name change is the chancellor’s way of expressing the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s commitment to enhancing the number of doctoral degrees given to underrepresented minority students,” McIntosh said.
The commission helps fund the program through a grant given to the WVU President’s Office of Social Justice and Office of Graduate Education and Life.

Since its inception in 2001, the Minority Doctorate Program at WVU has graduated more than 25 students from all over the world.

For more information, contact Program Coordinator Constinia Charbonnette at 304-293-0173 or .



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