In keeping with one of UCI’s primary goals, “First in class by expanding the student body and make UCI a first-choice campus for students,” Frances Leslie, Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of the Graduate Division teamed up with Thomas A. Parham, Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs approximately five years ago to achieve this goal; as well as, cultivate UCI’s graduate student and postdoc diversity. Over the last few years, this dynamic duo has traveled across-the-country to encourage students of different backgrounds to consider UCI.
Recently, they traveled to Albany State University and Morehouse College. Both of these campuses are Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). The purpose of these visits is to reach out to HBCUs and help build strong partnerships and increase the pool of highly qualified diverse graduate students. The visits include meeting with deans and the provost, as well as, an information session for current students. At Morehouse the information session consisted of 20 students and at Albany State approximately 47 students and faculty.
To date, their cross-country outreach has resulted in a 57 percent increase in new, underrepresented minority doctoral students.
In addition, Dean Leslie’s staff is also pursuing this same goal when it comes to postdoctoral scholars. UCI has the most diverse postdoc population out of all the UC’s and are participating in recruitment activities to maintain this ranking in the system. Last month, Graduate Division’s, Mary Frances Ypma-Wong, from the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs along with Samantha Anderson-Mekhail, from the Office of Inclusive Excellence and Darryl Taylor, Professor in the Department of Music, School of the Arts, all represented UCI at “The Institute on Teaching and Mentoring.” This is the largest gathering of minority Ph.D. scholars in the country and provides workshops, recruitment and networking opportunities to give scholars the tools to enter higher education.