The mathematics department at the University of Iowa is awarding seven Ph.D.s to minority students this year. According to the university, prior to this monumental achievement, the greatest number of doctoral degrees awarded to minority students by a single mathematics department in any given year was four. Over the past decade, the mathematics department at the University of Iowa has awarded doctorates to 25 minority students. This is about 8 percent of all doctorates in mathematics awarded to minorities nationwide during the period.
Dan Anderson, professor and chair of the department of mathematics at the University of Iowa, explains how the university has accomplished this impressive record: “A number of years ago some faculty of the department decided they wanted our department to be a leader in giving students from under-represented groups a chance to get a Ph.D. in mathematics. One reason for our success is that the whole department, both faculty and graduate students, bought into this goal. We quickly realized there was a lot more to this than just recruiting the students. We have redesigned our curriculum and put in place a mentoring system and other programs to enhance student success.”