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UT Project GRAD Administration and Staff

Dorian McCoyDorian L. McCoy – Co-Director

Dorian L. McCoy is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He teaches Introduction to Student Affairs Administration, Organization & Administration of Student Affairs/Higher Education, Multiculturalism, and Introduction to Qualitative Research. He received his PhD in Educational Leadership and Research from Louisiana State University (2006). He has a Master’s of Education (Higher Education – College Student Personnel) from the University of Arkansas (1992) and a Bachelor of Business Administration – Management from Henderson State University (1990).

Dorian’s research focuses on People’s of Color experiences in higher education. More specifically, his research explores the socialization and transitional experiences of faculty, administrators, and graduate students from historically underrepresented groups and issues of access to higher education.

He recently co-authored a monograph on critical race theory, Critical Race Theory in Higher Education: 20 Years of Theoretical and Research Innovations. Dorian has published in the Journal of College Student Development, Journal of Higher Education, and Journal of Diversity in Higher Education and has written chapters in several higher education texts including Research in the College Context: Approaches and Methods (2nd ed.).

Dorian serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice and The College Student Affairs Journal. He is active in the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), ACPA-College Student Educators International, and NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. In addition, he serves as co-director of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Project GRAD Summer Institute.

Spurgeon ShawnShawn Spurgeon – Co-Director 

Shawn L. Spurgeon is an Associate Professor of Counselor Education at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, currently serving as Coordinator of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. He received his PhD in Counseling and Counselor Education in 2002 from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He has published articles on African American male development and Professor Counselor identity development and has presented at several national and regional conferences on these subjects. He is currently the faculty advisor for the Upsilon Theta chapter of Chi Sigma Iota.

Spurgeon was a member of the American Counseling Association’s 2014 Ethics Revision Task Force and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Counseling Research and Practice and the Journal of the Professional Counselor. He currently serves as President for the Association for Assessment and Research in Counseling (AARC) and as President-Elect for the Southern Association of Counselor Educators and Supervisors (SACES). He is the first recipient of the Cortland C. Lee Multicultural Excellence Scholarship Award.

Spurgeon has previously worked as a mental health counselor in a family services agency, a private practice, and a community mental health center. His work has included couples, families, and adolescents with emotional and behavioral problems. He is currently licensed as a Professional Counselor in North Carolina and Tennessee.

Kara GlennKara Glenn – Administrative Coordinator

Kara Glenn earned her Bachelor of Arts in English and her Master of Science in Teacher Education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  Prior to being appointed as Administrative Coordinator for the UT Project GRAD Summer Institute, Kara was a Pre-College Mentor (PCM) for two years.  After developing an enhanced understanding of the challenges students face while in school, she committed herself to develop teaching strategies that effectively respond to those challenges with the intent to improve their academic performance. Her responsibilities include recruiting and training PCMs, collaborating with local community service organizations, and monitoring on-campus housing.  She also serves as the liaison between PCMs and Project GRAD Administrative Team.

Pre-College Mentors (PCMs)

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The Pre-College mentors (PCMs) are full-time, live-in mentors with the Project GRAD scholars during the Summer Institute.  The PCMs work as a team during the two one-week sessions to provide much of the “backbone” to the Summer Institute.  Their responsibilities include providing constant support to the scholars, facilitating various events and programs, mentoring the scholars through their work, responding to any crisis situations that arise, and providing assistance to the scholars after regular hours, as well as many other tasks that arise.  The PCMs are a diverse group of students who range from sophomore to senior undergraduates.

Team Leaders (TLs)

Team Leaders are Project GRAD-Knoxville (PGK) staff comprised of academic advocates, campus managers, college support coaches, and college access coordinators who are housed in the participants’ high schools.   Team Leaders are current PGK staff members.

The Team Leaders’ work reflects the maturity and expertise needed to train the next generation of college-aged leaders and to energize and inspire Summer Institute participants.  The spirit brought into the work environment is one of collaboration, acknowledging the long, rich history between the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Project GRAD-Knoxville in providing excellent pre-college experiences.  We collectively embrace the mantra, “It’s all about the kids.”


The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.

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