We know that a diverse student body enriches graduate education by providing a multiplicity of views and perspectives that enhance research, teaching, and the development of new knowledge.
A diverse mix of students facilitates opportunities to learn from, and promotes respect for, others who represent the broad range of backgrounds, cultures and experiences prevalent in contemporary society.
While the University of Minnesota is committed to an understanding of diversity that is both broad and inclusive—encompassing all racial, ethnic, and cultural groups, as well as differences in sexual orientation and expression, religious beliefs, socioeconomic status and life experience—this year’s GPEA will provide an opportunity to focus on the role of historically underrepresented populations in U.S. post-baccalaureate education.
Underrepresented minorities constitute more than one-quarter of the U.S. population, yet in 2014 only about one in ten doctoral degrees in the U.S. were awarded to underrepresented students. The proportion is even lower in STEM fields. The underrepresentation of African American, Latino, and Native American students in post-baccalaureate education has long been identified as a critical concern by policymakers, researchers, and university administrators across the country. Despite this, the pace of progress has been slow to increase enrollment and degree completion by students from these groups.
- What can we do at the University of Minnesota to improve the recruitment and retention of a diverse graduate and professional student body?
- What do we even mean when we say “diversity,” and why is diversity so hard to discuss?
- How does unconscious bias influence the decisions we make? How can implicit biases be overcome?
- How do we create a climate on campus that’s conducive to success for all students?
We invite you to take part in a series of stimulating conversations as we address these questions and more at the 2016 Graduate and Professional Education Assembly.
In addition to internal and external panel presentations featuring leading diversity advocates, scholars and practitioners, all attendees will take part in breakout discussions in which the groups will identify and share recommendations for action across the diversity spectrum.
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