On Thursday, February 23, 2017, Rafael Bahamonde, Ph.D., Interim Dean of the School of Physical Education and Tourism Management, was presented with the Dr. Joseph T. Taylor Award. The award recognizes exemplary IUPUI individuals, academic and support programs, events, policies and activities that have led to progress in diversity and inclusion.
Dr. Bahamonde’s contributions, activities, and impact to the diversity at IUPUI and profession span over 20 years of service. He started mentoring underrepresented minority students in his first year at IUPUI and was one of the founding mentors of the newly created Minority Scholars Research Program, later named Diversity Research Scholar Program (DSRP). In 2006, Dr. Bahamonde became the DSRP director after the retirement of the founding director.
During his term as DSRP director, Dr. Bahamonde worked in grants proposals through the Center of Research of Learning (CRL), including a grant that examined the effects of the DSRP on minority students’ graduation and retention. The results of this study showed the DSRP students between 1997 and 2002 graduated at higher rate (69%) when compare to similar cohort of students with same entry characteristics (56.7%) and to the overall population of underrepresented minorities attending IUPUI (33%).
Dr. Bahamonde stepped down as DSRP director in the summer of 2008 but continued as the school liaison and is currently chairing a taskforce to evaluate the performance and structure of DSRP.
He continued mentoring undergraduate research students, all of whom completed their degree at IUPUI and several obtained graduate degrees such as MS, PhD, and DPT. In 2010, Dr. Bahamonde received the Center for Research and Learning Director’s Mentoring Award for outstanding leadership and mentoring of undergraduate research students at IUPUI.
In 2014, Dr. Bahamonde was part of the team of faculty in the biomedical sciences, the office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, IUPUI Graduate School, CRL, and Urban Center for the Advancement of Science and Mathematics Education that submitted and received an IPREP grant from the National Institutes of Health. The IPREP grant was funded for $1.25 million and helps prepare undergraduate students from underrepresented minority populations, including students with disabilities, for admission to graduate programs in the biomedical and behavioral sciences. Dr. Bahamonde serves in the executive committee and is the faculty liaison coordinator responsible for faculty mentor training and coordination across the five target programs. In this role, he developed an online mentor training for the IPREP program and provided additional mentoring resources for the faculty mentors.
Through his service, Dr. Bahamonde has shown a passion towards the improvement of diversity at IUPUI by his participation in numerous committees, panel discussions, and other initiatives. Dr. Bahamonde’s breadth and depth of diversity activities at IUPUI and at the national level shows an outstanding level of institutional leadership and commitment. His support for underrepresented students and faculty through research programs and mentoring is an example of curricular transformation and a passion for representational diversity at IUPUI.