Rethinking the Structure of Student Recruitment and Efforts to Increase Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Doctoral Education

Kimberly A. Griffin, Marcela Muniz
International Journal of Doctoral Studies  •  Volume 10  •  2015  •  pp. 199-216
While researchers, institutional leaders, and policymakers have made significant progress towards increasing undergraduate student diversity in the United States, diversity in graduate education has been less often studied and a more challenging goal on which to make progress. This qualitative study explores the roles and work of graduate diversity officers (GDOs) in student recruitment activities with a focus on how race and issues of diversity manifest and influence this process. Interviews with fourteen GDOs at 11 different research universities in the United States highlight the phases in the graduate recruitment process, the manner in which diversity is considered at each stage, and GDOs’ perceptions of their ability to shape this process. Findings suggest that GDOs are important institutional agents in diversification efforts; however, faculty engagement and broad institutional commitment are required to increase diversity in graduate education due to GDOs’ often limited involvement in the admissions stage of the recruitment process, where race becomes the most salient in decision making.
diversity, recruitment, administration, graduate education, United States
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