Despite affirmative action efforts of universities around the United States minorities are still underrepresented on campus, especially in graduate schools. In scientific paths like engineering and physics this lack of diversity is especially evident. The situation is not as dire as it appears, though, with colleges admitting more minority students each year and many faculty advocating the need for varied perspectives. Many new programs meant to spur minority enrollment are currently in place or are undergoing implementation, including outreach systems and providing added resources. While minorities have traditionally shown poor rates of graduate school application and completion this may be slowly changing. These articles depict the challenges minorities face and some avenues for advocacy change useful for diverse individuals considering graduate school. They are a fascinating read for anyone interested in the state of equality and multiculturalism in our higher education system.
Four areas of concern arise from research carried out on race,sex and graduate education experience. Participants in the study report substantial differences in their time as graduate students. These substantial differences comprise significant areas of graduate education and include: mentoring and advising, departmental environments, peer interaction, and research and teaching experience. This study found that White men and women were more likely to work closely with mentors and advisers, while African Americans more frequently found support elsewhere. Despite being academically successful, African Americans report greater social isolation and dissatisfaction with their programs.
Many of us would like to think that we are bias free and non-judgmental, but is that true? Discover implicit biases and prejudices that may be lurking in your perceptions. In addition to the creation of stereotypes, prejudices and biases, how are they proliferated? Other important aspects to consider are the impacts of such existing factors on society. Understanding the areas surrounding discrimination is helpful in effectively stopping their continuation.
How can we use scientific method to design diversity programs? Minority populations are dramatically underrepresented when it comes to PhD programs, and graduate studies in general. While there have been some steps forward in achieving more diverse programs, they have not done enough. The underlying assumptions made about diversity and graduate education have to be examined in order to create effective programs for ensuring diversity.
The applicant pool, not admissions, may be to blame for the low number of minorities in graduate schools. Social sciences, arts, and the humanities present an especially small number of minority involvement. Why are talented minority students not seeking advanced degrees? Emerging educational philosophies, as seen in intellectual entrepreneurship, may be the solution to this problem.
Improving the diversity of graduate schools is important in creating an inclusive academic environment. Despite increasing trends in minority population, the number of minority students in graduate education remains shockingly low. Because graduate education is one of the most significant indicators of prestigious employment positions and higher pay, it is necessary to encourage minority participation in advanced degrees. In order to achieve this, it is important to understand the statistics surrounding race, gender, ethnicity and education. From there, more informed actions can be taken which will appropriately respond to the needs of underrepresented minorities.
The University of Iowa boasts relatively high numbers of minority and women students in attendance, but how did they achieve this? By departing from the concept that a limited applicant pool exists, the University of Iowa intentionally looked for students who would normally choose not seek out a graduate education. Further, those involved wished to foster an inclusive community that would appeal to minority students. Convincing students that graduate school is a real possibility will result in more diverse student bodies.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County has one of the highest rates of minority enrollment for advanced degrees. These numbers are particularly high in the areas of science and medicine. This is no coincidence, as the head of UNBC is very interested in encouraging minority attendance and fostering diversity. Brenda Wilson of NPR explores this success to explain how it is possible to increase minority attendance in graduate education.
Inspiring a new generation of business school professors, the PhD Project is devoted to increasing minority involvement in graduate education. Consisting of a number of graduate students and professors, this group wishes to provide support for minority students interested in academia. Receiving significant funding from prominent companies and institutions, the PhD Project has the resources necessary to enact positive change. A highly diverse population of graduate students translates to a more diverse economy, and ultimately, greater innovation.
Beyond just recruiting minority students, institutions must work to provide the necessary support and resources for their success. Individuals from underrepresented groups make up a very small percentage of research doctorates. Diversity at all levels of academia are important in fostering further minority involvement. Greater involvement is necessary in order to ensure that future generations continue advancing research and development.
Statistics show that underrepresented minorities have thus far been only a very small portion of the Princeton graduate school population. Hovering around five percent, underrepresented minorities do not make up a large number of students.Princeton is currently seeking to improve the diversity of their graduate school. Activities such as "preview days", where prospective students are introduced to the campus and leading members of the university, could help encourage students minority students who traditionally have less access. Additionally, fostering an atmosphere that welcomes diversity will also help promote the department.
Minority and foreign student populations in graduate schools are rising. Further, this increasing trend shows particular increase in African American and Hispanic students. While there is a general upward trend in minorities attending graduate school, few choose to study science and engineering, often preferring the study of education. Despite the increased rates of attendance in minority populations over the past few years, greater change is still desired.
Conferences which encourage active minority involvement could result in more advanced degrees. Activities familiarize students with a number of important skills for graduate education. For example, lessons on how to get published or negotiate a first job offer could be highly beneficial for students with less resources. Additionally, anecdotes given by successful minority students who have struggled may help students see that success is possible.
The relationship between an adviser and a student can be instrumental in completing graduate education. As a minority student, what is the best way to find a university, or adviser that fits? In a competitive academic environment with little representation, how are women and minorities to respond? Familiarizing yourself with a campus and its population will help you determine whether or not it would be a good match. While it may be important to have a sense of community, seeking an adviser that is the same race, gender or ethnicity may not be the best way to achieve this. Given the lack of diversity in general, and the extra burden placed on such advisers, instead, look for an adviser that shares similar research or academic interests.
A synthesis of over 30 years worth of educational data reveal pertinent information to gender and race in postsecondary education. The data show that enrollment for many underrepresented groups nearly doubled over this period. Further, the proportional presence of minorities has continued to improve. Women in particular have shown an exceptional increase in enrollment and presence in graduate schools. Despite these increases, this study also indicates that some minorities still lag behind in terms of overall graduate school presence.
The fields of science and engineering can be especially intimidating environments for women due to the prevalence of men. There are, however, many resources which show that it is possible to be successful. A number of professional organizations aimed at women and minorities are valuable resources for networking and support. Further, information compiled to help female graduate students achieve equality and inform them of available resources is also included.
The Woman in Math Project hosts a number of resources which discuss issues related to women in science and mathematics. Publications on practical and theoretical issues have been included, while links to other websites of interest have also been provided. Such websites include academic associations, literature on gender studies, and upcoming events in the world of women and mathematics. Additional resources such as information regarding grants and funding aimed at women, as well as mathematics in general provide students with the tools necessary to survive.
A collection of resources which is intended for biologists who are also women. Aimed at fulfilling the practical aspects of achieving a graduate education as a woman, these resources are especially useful for busy professionals. The lack of female involvement in many biology programs contributes to an experience that is isolating at times, but there are a number of available resources that address this concern. Career resources for postdocs, PhDs, and anyone involved in graduate school are covered as well.
In a field where it is necessary to fight for your ideas, cultural messages about gender can make that fight even more difficult. Carol Kovac is the director of IBM Life Sciences, and she shows how it is possible to succeed in a sometimes hostile environment. Attracting very few women, the fields of business, science, and technology are negatively affected by a lack of diversity. Being highly reliant on creativity and innovation, these fields could substantially benefit from greater involvement from diverse populations.
Data regarding gender differences and achievement in science and engineering are explored in this National Science Foundation article. Movement along the post-secondary career track is examined through four prominent milestones: tenure track placement, earning tenure, achieving the rank of associate professor, and achieving the rank of full professor. Overall, women are less successful than men in progressing along their academic career path. Gender differences surrounding family dynamics largely affect achievement. For instance, married women and women with children tend to be less successful than married men or men with children.
While female attendance in science and engineering graduate programs continue to increase, they receive less support and less frequently reach higher academic ranks. What can be done to prevent women from leaving academic career tracks in science and engineering? Part of the reason for the discrepancy between female involvement and achievement lies in the fact that they are not included in some communities of engagement. Further, latent cultural perceptions of women as less mathematically or scientifically talented require that women work harder just to overcome such perceptions. Women are then left with the uncertainty of how aggressive to be in pursuing their academic and professional interests.
The ability to negotiate can be an important skill in attaining a position or being promoted. Research shows that men more often negotiate for increased wages while women do not. A series of experiments also show that women tend to be less likely to initiate negotiations and are less optimistic about their worth. Understanding the power of negotiation, and how to effectively negotiate can result in greater professional and academic success.
The Association for Women in Science is dedicated to overcoming job discrimination, lower pay, and professional isolation experienced by many women in academia. Working across all sectors and disciplines, this organization champions the interests of women. In addition to having chapters all over the country, AWIS hosts many events aimed at providing women with important professional skills and education necessary for success. Hoping to contribute to equal opportunity, fair pay and appropriate recognition, AWIS works to improve the professional well-being of women.
ADVANCE grants are provided by the National Science Foundation and are aimed at retaining women in the fields of science and engineering. Further, the ADVANCE program works to represent women in academic and professional environments, while also helping them to advance through academic career tracks. Ultimately, this program is dedicated to achieving a more diverse workforce which includes men, women, underrepresented minority groups and disabled individuals. A wide variety of funding opportunities are available in order to realize these goals.
The Center for the Advancement of Hispanics in Science and Engineering Education is a national non-profit organization which pursues the interests of Hispanic students in academia. Dedicated to preparing underrepresented minorities for academic excellence and professional success, CAHSEE works to create a more diverse science and engineering community. CAHSEE operates mainly through educational programs, and leadership development events. Stimulating intellectual appetites and abilities, this organization works to help students achieve excellence.
The Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists is dedicated to increasing the involvement of Mexican Americans in scientific fields. Working to promote positive perceptions of Mexican Americans in addition to their advancement in education, MAES is interested in cultural and practical aspects of its members' lives. Emphasis is placed on providing a supportive environment which fosters networking and academic success. In addition to looking out for the interests of its members, this group is devoted to improving the state of education in America.
The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering is a national learning organization which encourages minority involvement in scientific and technical fields. This organization is devoted to increasing the presence of minorities in science and engineering to proportional national levels. A shared passion for improved education and presence in scientific careers unites African American, Indian American, and Latino individuals. Though this group operates on a large scale, focusing on middle-school to workforce entry, a special emphasis is placed on graduate education.
The National Society of Black Engineers is one of the largest student governed organizations in the country. Hosting nearly 400 chapters located all over the nation, the NSBE is a major force in improving minority involvement in graduate education. The mission of this group is to contribute to the number of culturally responsible black engineers who will perform well academically, and professionally. Interested in improving the likeliness of success among black students, the NSBE offers training in leadership, professional development and mentoring opportunities.
The National Organization for Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals is a national organization which supports and promotes the interests of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals related to scientific and technological fields. Investigating matters which directly affect the lifestyles and health of these individuals are among the priorities of the group. NOLGSTP is also dedicated to informing the scientific community of LGBT issues in science. Interested in promoting positive perceptions and ensuring fair policies, this organization vehemently supports the interests and needs of the LGBT scientific community.
The American Educational Research Association is an inquiry based organization which explores issues pertaining to education. One of the many initiatives they conduct offers minority dissertation fellowships in education research. Every year, AERA will award three doctoral fellowship positions for dissertation research at any accredited university in the United States. This program is aimed at supporting outstanding minority graduates, who are interested in improving minority involvement in higher education and ultimately national competitiveness.
EDGE is focused on improving the ability of women to successfully complete graduate programs in mathematics. This organization works to directly improve important skills, offering seminars which educate participants on algebra and essential areas of mathematics for research. Both pure and applied mathematics are covered. Furthermore, a support system and mentoring program will ensure that those involved achieve continued success academically and professionally.
The United States Department of Education provides this list of accredited post-secondary minority institutions. Including institutions all over the country, this list gives information on a variety of educational facilities. Information provided also includes state, city, official name and minority attendance rates. Institutions from Puerto Rico have been listed as well.
The California Forum for Diversity in Graduate Education is aimed specifically at increasing the number of advanced undergraduates and masters candidates which are currently underrepresented in doctoral programs. Unlike many other major movements in graduate education, this program is dedicated to encouraging minority enrollment in the arts, humanities, behavioral and social sciences. A number of activities and informative seminars explain opportunities for graduate education, and its potential benefits. Covering an extremely wide variety of topics outside of law, business, and science, this yearly event is a helpful resource for those interested in graduate education.
The Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) is a national program funded by the National Science Foundation which promotes a significant increase in minority involvement in the fields of science, engineering, and mathematics at the graduate level. Another goal of this program is to increase the number of PhD graduates in these fields. The AGEP is also responsible for investigating the past and present data surrounding minority involvement in graduate education. Using this knowledge, the program wishes to inspire a national dialogue on how to move the minority presence in graduate education forward.