The 2016 Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, called on the university to double the number of graduate students from historically underrepresented groups by 2022.
Brown reports that it is off to a good start in meeting its goal. In 2015, the year before the diversity goal was announced, there were 204 graduate students from underrepresented groups in degree programs at the university. Today, there are 254, an increase of 24.5 percent. The number of first-year graduate students from underrepresented groups increased by 38 percent from 2015 to 2017 and the percentage of first-year Ph.D. students from these groups increased by 65 percent.
Andrew Campbell, dean of the Graduate School, stated that “more students of color are applying to Brown because more of them want to be here. And that’s because we have outstanding faculty doing outstanding research, but it’s also because Brown is becoming known as a place to where outstanding faculty of color are attracted and well represented and where faculty in general recognize the added value and unique perspectives that underrepresented students offer.”
“This work is important to Brown and bigger than Brown,” Dr. Campbell added. “Graduate students are scientists in training who will conceive of life-saving drugs. They are engineers and designers who will turn ideas into on-the-ground solutions. They are humanists who will help us understand ourselves. In diversifying our Graduate School student body, we are turning a sharper and more relevant eye to the challenges that society faces. That’s what true diversity does.”