Practical strategies and tactic were developed for increasing the percentage of underrepresented minority graduate students in one of the leading R1 research institutions. Insights were generated from faculty, select staff, prospective students, current students, and recent graduates.
Study participants were asked to share their perspectives on graduate school selection as well as diversity and its challenges within the context of STEM graduate education. Interview, focus group and survey data revealed:
- Cultural differences that should be reflected in communications
- Differences in brand favorability and preference for competitor schools that varied by race/ethnicity
- Unintended potential barriers in the admissions process to address
- Student recognition of diversity as a benefit to their educational environment and research (a sentiment not uniformly reflected by faculty)