UW Graduate School

Message from the Dean

Educating a diverse student body to prepare the leaders and innovators of tomorrow — this is central to the University of Washington’s mission as a public institution. Educating people of all backgrounds, cultures, races, ethnicities, abilities and orientations is vital to the economic and social success and growth of Seattle, our state and our world.

The UW Graduate School is committed to making graduate education accessible to all students. While our limited resources have been focused on students of color, the Graduate School is forging partnerships with other campus organizations to make the UW as accessible and welcoming to everyone. On campus and throughout the community, the Graduate School supports and promotes diversity in a number of ways.

Fellowships to recruit top students

Our Diversity Fellows Program provides recruitment funding totaling approximately $600,000 each year to about 25 departments.

We have re-purposed several internal Graduate School funds to create fellowships to spur degree completion.

Advancement. We have re-organized our core GO-MAP staff to support an energetic advancement initiative to build endowment funds for minority and underrepresented graduate and professional students for all UW schools and colleges.

Attracting the best students in the nation

We work with the Posse Foundation, a network of U.S. institutions committed to college access and leadership development among students who may be overlooked by traditional college selection processes, and we have established a UW Graduate Posse Fellowship – the first of its kind in the nation.

With a $100,000 grant from the Intel Corporation, we continue to develop and maintain the National Name Exchange Academic Portal, a web-based tool that helps identify qualified underrepresented undergraduates from more than 50 major U.S. universities for graduate recruitment.

We have coordinated UW recruitment efforts at several national conferences, including SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science) and the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS). In addition, we have represented the UW at other conferences – notably the California Forum for Diversity in Graduate Education and the McNair Scholars annual conference.

Bolstering recruitment across campus

We have created an online recruitment and retention guide for UW schools, colleges and departments; the tool-kit draws on best practices from UW units, as well as from other universities.

We are expanding our outreach to UW departments to assist with the recruitment and retention of minority and underrepresented minority students.

Connecting students and building networks

Through our Prospective Student Days, we offer activities for students who have been admitted – but who have not yet committed to the UW. Over two days each spring, students network with current students and faculty across campus at orientation sessions and other events. Prospective students learn about funding, housing and resources on and off campus.

Our Graduate School Ambassadors are a corps of current graduate students who help academic departments in their diversity recruitment efforts by meeting with prospective students and serving as advocates for the UW.

At “Getting Connected,” our annual autumn orientation reception, new UW students interact with faculty and graduate students from other disciplines. To help new students in their early days at the UW, we’ve crafted a “Graduate School 101” orientation to complement their departmental or college orientations.

Preparing students for academic and career success

Our Voices in Academia lunches provide opportunities for faculty members and small groups of students to discuss topics such as attendance at professional conferences, career opportunities in academia and outside academia, and how to translate research to general audiences.

Our Voices in the Community lunches provide opportunities for students to meet with community and business leaders to talk about professionalization, careers and service to the community.

We have created workshops and short Mentor Memos to give students concrete advice about issues such as crafting effective job application letters, time management, writing a literature review and how to select a lab.

Educating the public

The Mary Ann and John D. Mangels Endowed Lecture Series, established in 1990, brings scholars and individuals whose careers impact diversity, to the UW — for the benefit of minority students, faculty, the entire campus community and the general public. In 2010-11, the Mangels lecturers included sociologist Doug Massey, poet Elizabeth Alexander and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Despite these efforts — and many others throughout the University of Washington — our graduate student body and faculty are not as diverse as they should be. To illustrate the challenges and offer solutions, the Graduate School has published a report on diversity in graduate education at the UW. We know that higher education is the key to economic prosperity and livable communities. And, we recognize that the University of Washington’s long-term success — and that of our state — depends heavily on our ability and willingness to attract and retain a diverse body of graduate students. We must start now.

David L. Eaton
Vice Provost and Dean
UW Graduate School