March 9, 2021

UNLV Top Tier Graduate Faculty and Student Support Committee

March 9, 2021

In attendance:

Peter Gray (Chair), Alexander Clements, Matthew Mohan, Emily Lin, Han-Fen Hu, James Rich, Jichun Li, John Tuman, Josue Epane, Laura Book, Pramen Shrestha, Susan McLennon, Thessa Higenkamp, Carola Raab, Christine Ancajas

Unable to attend: David James, Valarie Burke, Harsha Perera


Kara Wada shares the following context to help set up our focus at the March 9 meeting:

"While we are incredibly proud that UNLV has been categorized as a Minority-Serving Institution in both the HSI and AANAPISI categories, the path to getting these designations has been largely due to shifts in our student population and not due to large, intentional efforts to be minority-serving. Now that we have these wonderful designations, it's our responsibility to live up to them and become a truly minority-serving, as opposed to minority-having, institution. To that end, Kate and I tasked Kyah King [a doctoral student in Education and who has lots of experience with recruitment and admissions as well] with doing research on what other R1+MSI institutions are doing on this front, particularly at the graduate-level, but also overall, and with a focus on things we could/should implement here at UNLV and in the Graduate College more specifically....We want to primarily focus on things that are within our purview that we could do, enact, create, change that would help to better serve our constituents. Kyah will present to you what she has found thus far, and we'd love it if you all could expand on that research and then provide us with some recommendations on concrete things we could/should be doing."

Notes from committee discussion:

Kaya King gave her presentation and raised some ideas for addressing today’s goal of identifying concrete MSI-relevant strategies and tactics we could be doing at UNLV.

·       We do already do some of the things peer institutions do, like have an annual fall grad student survey and provide much professional development programming for non-faculty career pathways

·       However, students and faculty may not know of these resources. How to best spread awareness? Word of mouth? Maybe a Grad College “campus tour” to get word out, or perhaps Grad Rebel Ambassadors to spread the word? Other communication nodes include faculty and social media sharing that information. Include some relevant information in syllabi.

·       Endorsement of minority student scholarship programs. These might be campus-wide and merit-based.

·       Centralized web page for department or school that compiles information of relevance to minority students. Perhaps a hub for student organizations? There exists a Grad College website hub of information (e.g., workshops, certification programs) but not for a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) focus. Lots of other institutions do have a diversity page that consolidates many resources.

·       While a graduate student climate survey is administered each fall, staffing limitations  constrain the ability to analyze and share results of climate surveys.

·       Excelencia.

·       Programs or opportunity or space for faculty to share resources for how to better engage with minority students. How to best mentor minority students for non-academic jobs?

·       Challenging budget context. Faculty hiring to align with MSI goals.

·       Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) College of Liberal Arts (COLA) committee was recently created, and other departments in COLA are also creating DEI standing committees to support faculty and students. A standing department committee could help disseminate the information on resources to faculty and students. Perhaps Grad College could then engage with College and Department DEI committees to avoid silos and ensure sharing information and aligning efforts.

·       Perhaps work with development officers to seek support for minority student scholarships/engage donors around these topics.

·       Mentoring possibilities that align with MSI goals. Grad with undergrad students; more senior grads with more junior grads; faculty…with growing appreciation of “team mentoring” approaches, try to align aspects of mentoring to support minority students and postdocs

·       UNLV graduate student alumni to serve as a mentor for current graduate students.

·       In addition to providing resources to students directly, providing training/requirements for faculty members are also important. People who care about diversity and inclusion would  attend the workshops and provide mentorship to minority students already. The key is to change/convince those who haven't bought in. However, the review/P&T process does not reward those who actively serve and support minority students.

·       How to recruit diverse students? Dearth of resources to recruit students, like annual activities in which could seek to bring prospective students to campus or for other events? Could university invest in activities to aid in diversity recruitment? Any kind of bonus for recruiting GAship or scholarships? Importance of personal touch/advisor reaching out. GA allocation to College but some flexibility to amount/use. Encouragement to support (e.g., Office of Undergraduate Research), scholarships, etc. diverse undergraduate students.

·       Could also look for community partners to align with workforce development and MSI-mission. For example, there might be alignments in the health sciences with minority-serving community partnerships.