Four Elite California Universities in Joint Effort to Boost Minority Ph.D.s in STEM Fields

Sidney Hiil, a Ph.D. student in chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley. (Photo by Michael Barnes)
Sidney Hill, a Ph.D. student in chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley. (Photo by Michael Barnes)

The California Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate is a new consortium that aims to increase the number of underrepresented minority students in Ph.D. programs in mathematics, computer science, engineering, and the physical sciences. The consortium includes Stanford University, the California Institute of Technology, the University of California at Los Angeles and is led by the University of California at Berkeley. Funding was launched with a $2.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

Together, the four schools are creating a unique, cross-institutional community of underrepresented minority Ph.D. students, postdoctoral scholars, and faculty members in the targeted fields; developing faculty training to better recognize and help these students thrive and advance; and conducting research that includes annual surveys of Ph.D. students about what factors impact their attitudes, experiences and preparation for the future.

Mark Richards, the University of California at Berkeley’s executive dean of the College of Letters and Science and a professor of earth and planetary science, states, “The California Alliance institutions already are providing remarkable opportunities for graduate students. The issue is that we have to do something above and beyond what’s standard in graduate education to give all students a sense of belonging.”

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  1. Quick point of accuracy: the California Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate has been around for quite some time (pre-2005, I believe). This is a “reformulation” of that original alliance.

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