Inside Higher Ed Opinion: Graduate Diversity Officer Josephine M. Moreno On Making Graduate Admissions Inclusive

This article was originally published on the Inside Higher Ed website.

Graduate admissions across the country are on the precipice of a potential transformation due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s exposure of social inequality coupled with the social response to racial injustice in the U.S. This unprecedented year has laid bare the need for equitable access to higher education such that all Americans have equal opportunity of success for themselves and their families. Inequality in graduate education is starkly evident in the National Science Foundation’s 2019 Annual Survey of Earned Doctorates. According to the report, people of color who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents earned only 16 percent of doctorates that year, even though the Census Bureau reports that they were 39 percent of Americans in 2020. We can and should do better.

In the middle of this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, many graduate programs pivoted to embrace holistic review methods when standardized score requirements were temporarily waived, largely due to limited access to test taking. Institutions and faculty engaged with equity in graduate education adopted holistic review practices championed by many institutions and organizations, including the University of Washington, Columbia University and the Council of Graduate Schools. As early as May 2020, universities such as Cornell University began talking about holistic review practices in graduate admissions in response to COVID-19.

However, equitable and inclusive graduate admissions practices will not endure without the full support of faculty and administrators. As the lead on the Alliance for Multi-campus Inclusive Graduate Admissions (AMIGA), a project that establishes holistic review methods in the humanities at the University of California, Davis, and UCLA, I offer insights from AMIGA on how equitable and inclusive practices can succeed, rather than be forgotten as stopgaps for an anomalous year.

The above is an excerpt. Read the full article on the Inside Higher Ed website.

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About the Author

Josephine Moreno has 20 years of experience as a graduate diversity professional at the University of California, Davis, and previously at the University of California, Berkeley. She leads the five-year Alliance for Multi-campus Inclusive Graduate Admissions (AMIGA) project, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to establish holistic review methods in the humanities and humanistic social sciences at UC Davis and UCLA.

About Graduate Studies

Graduate Studies at UC Davis includes over 100 dynamic degree programs and a diverse and interactive student body from around the world. Known for our state-of-the-art research facilities, productive laboratories and progressive spirit – UC Davis offers collaborative and interdisciplinary curricula through graduate groups and designated emphasis options, bringing students and faculty of different academic disciplines together to address real-world challenges.
UC Davis graduate students and postdoctoral scholars become leaders in their fields: researchers, teachers, politicians, mentors and entrepreneurs. They go on to guide, define and impact change within our global community.

For information on Graduate Studies’ current strategic initiatives, visit the Graduate Studies strategic plan page.

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