Dean Ridley has made community outreach in East Lubbock a top priority during his tenure
Scott Ridley, dean of the College of Education, was honored Monday for his efforts to improve diversity and inclusion.
Citing community-university partnerships started during Ridley's tenure – including the East Lubbock Promise Neighborhood (ELPN) – the Texas Tech Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion awarded him the Inclusive Excellence Award.
ELPN is a federally backed, multimillion-dollar grant program designed to boost academic achievement of students in east Lubbock, one of the poorest and most underserved areas in the state and region.
It involves a partnership with Lubbock Independent School District, community organizations and local businesses to provide children access to high-quality, coordinated health, social, community and educational support from birth to career.
At an award banquet, Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec said ELPN was "a wonderful example of how what we do on this campus can have a difference throughout our community."
College of Education Vice Dean Robin Lock accepted the award on Ridley's behalf. She said he was honored by the recognition because building strong community partnerships has been his primary focus.
"Scott honestly believes in partnerships," she said.
"Often, I hear Scott talk about the fact that it doesn't matter what we as a College of Education want," Lock added. "What matters is: What do those community members see? What do they think needs to happen for their children and grandchildren?"
Launched with a $24 million U.S. Department of Education grant in 2012, East Lubbock Promise Neighborhood is one of just a dozen of its kind in the nation. Thousands of Lubbock children have received services, and high school graduation rates in the area have increased dramatically – from 67 percent in 2013 to 93 percent in 2017.
Ridley's work developing TechTeach Across Texas, a teacher education program, was also highlighted at the award ceremony.
The program involves partnerships with community colleges and school districts to recruit members of the local community with associate degrees to become K-12 teachers – making it more likely that students in diverse areas will be taught by teachers who look like them.
Ridley has been the dean of the College of Education since 2011. Prior to that, he served as associate dean in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University.