In this issue:
Managing Editor:Yolanda S.
Making Strides is a free, quarterly (April, July, October, and January) research newsletter published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Directorate for Education and Human Resources Program. Its purpose is to share information about minority graduate education (MGE) in the fields of science, mathematics, and engineering. It is available in print and electronic format. Inquiries, information related to MGE, and all correspondence should be sent to the editor.
|A Profile of an MGE Institution:
By Jordan Konisky, Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Studies and Professor of Biochemistry and Cell Biology at Rice University
Can a small, department-based model of minority Ph.D. education be diffused across a whole university? Can it be replicated at a large public university? Rice University, with an enrollment of approximately 650 graduate students in its Schools of Engineering and Natural Sciences, is small in comparison to most major research universities. Yet, Rice’s Department of Computational and Applied Mathematics (CAAM) has been a national leader in producing underrepresented minority Ph.D.s in mathematics. \
The Rice Minority Graduate Education (MGE) program builds on the successful CAAM model as developed over several years by Professor Richard Tapia, a nationally recognized leader in undergraduate and graduate education. The goal of the Rice MGE program, which we designate locally as the Diversity Graduate Program in Science and Engineering, is to diffuse the Tapia/CAAM model across Rice and to the College of Engineering of the University of Wisconsin, an institution which is ten times larger than Rice. Our goals are to both increase the production of minority Ph.D.s, and most importantly, to foster the development of future role models and leaders.
A major function of the Rice/ Wisconsin MGE is to help each graduate
program identify underrepresented minority students with a high potential
for success in graduate work. MGE program personnel, including faculty
and students, attend local, regional and national graduate fairs, professional
meetings and other events looking for potential students. While the ultimate
decision to accept a student resides with the department, the Rice MGE
program actively advocates for students that we identify as matching well
with program objectives. Students may apply for admission through either
the MGE program or the department of interest.
Rice is within the purview of the Fifth United States Circuit Court
of Appeals, and therefore all activities must fall within the constraints
of “Hopwood.” In March 1996, the Court opinion in the case of Hopwood vs.
Texas held that affirmative action programs in matters of higher education
admissions are a violation of Federal law. In Texas, that ruling was subsequently
extended in an opinion by State Attorney General Dan Morales to also encompass
financial aid programs based on race. Our challenge has been to design
a program that promotes minorities’ admission and support, yet remains
within the confines of the law. Rice grants MGE fellowships based on the
full range of predictors alluded to above plus a demonstration (through
an essay and interview) of the fellows’ potential and commitment to promoting
diversity both at Rice and throughout their careers.
MGE students share social events, study groups, professional development
workshops, national professional meetings, and assist in the recruiting
of students to the program. They also serve as mentors in the MGE summer
undergraduate program and as role models to students who are less advanced
in their graduate studies. MGE students also regularly tutor K-12 students.
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