MADISON – Jacqueline A. DeWalt has been named director of the University of
Wisconsin-Madison Pre-college Enrichment Opportunity Program for Learning Excellence
(PEOPLE) in the School of Education, where she has been assistant director since

PEOPLE is a college preparatory program serving more than 1,100 minority and
low-income students attending partner Wisconsin public schools from second grade
through the undergraduate level.

DeWalt will oversee year-round academic enrichment, summer residential workshops,
cultural and group activities in higher education, community outreach and public
school partnerships. She supervises a team of program managers who work with
college, high school and middle school students.

“Jackie has demonstrated a deep commitment to the values and programs of diversity
and multiculturalism on campus,” says Hardin Coleman, associate dean and faculty
member who supervises several diversity initiatives in the School of Education. “Her
ability to advocate for program needs and to span university boundaries to solve
problems will create greater opportunities for PEOPLE participants statewide.”

DeWalt is a lifelong learner and Milwaukee native who brings a range of experience
in improving opportunities for the growth and development of youth. She served on
several Dane County youth task forces, was a foster mother and worked in community
and government relations on behalf of the state.

Prior to joining the PEOPLE staff in 2000 as a program manager, DeWalt held teaching
assistant positions in educational policy, women’s studies and African American
studies. She was youth services coordinator for the City of Madison and Dane County
and executive director of the Afro-American Museum of History and Culture for the
State of California.

DeWalt is an alumna of one of the first programs for low-income and minority
students established by UW-Madison to enhance diversity. She received her bachelor’s
degree in education in 1973 and completed her master’s degree in cultural
anthropology in 1999 with a focus on educational policy and youth culture.

“At the core of 27 years of academic and professional experience has been
establishing collaborative partnerships with various stakeholders,” DeWalt says.
“Key individuals on campus, in the community and among our alumni all have a stake
in building the successful outcomes this program generates.”

“My vision is for PEOPLE students to graduate globally competitive in the STEM
fields (science, technology, engineering and math), entrepreneurship and
international relations. To achieve this, however, will require us to expand access
to the funding, internships and support systems that make such opportunities
possible,” she adds.

DeWalt was chosen from a national pool of candidates to replace Walter Lane,
assistant dean in the UW School of Education and longtime advocate for
underrepresented student populations. Lane created and implemented the exemplary
PEOPLE program in 1999 as part of a campus-wide diversity initiative. He will
continue in his role as director of TRIO, Posse Scholars, College Access Program,
Summer Education Research Program and special projects as assigned through the
School of Education.

The PEOPLE program unites urban public schools, American Indian tribal schools and
Wisconsin’s flagship university toward a common goal: college graduation for
students of low-income and ethnic minority families. Academic enrichment and career
exploration has dramatically increased high-school graduation and college retention

Of the first four cohorts (1999-2002) to complete the pre-college portion of PEOPLE,
99 percent graduated from high school.  Of that number, 94 percent enrolled in
higher education, 86 percent stayed at Wisconsin schools with 67 percent
successfully matriculating at UW System colleges and universities. PEOPLE Scholar
undergraduates have a 92 percent retention rate, which is higher than their peers.

Two-thirds of PEOPLE students are from low-income families. As of fall 2006, the
program comprises 189 undergraduates, 596 high school, 306 middle school and 51
elementary student participants. Seventy-two new freshmen PEOPLE Scholars were
admitted and enrolled at UW-Madison in fall 2006.

PEOPLE is a systemic approach to what has been called the most important civil
rights issue of the century. The program gives teachers in participating public
schools, and those studying to become educators and counselors at UW-Madison,
professional development experience in multicultural learning environments.

The UW-Madison PEOPLE program succeeds with public and private sector support for
the sustained individual attention and comprehensive resources critical to preparing
students academically, psychologically and culturally for accomplishment in college
and in life.