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Focus: The Evolution Of A Recruiting Initiative For African American Graduate Students At Georgia Institute Of Technology

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.576.1 - 8.576.13



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Paper Authors

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Robert Haley

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Calvin Mackie

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Sundiata Jangha

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FOCUS: A Recruiting Initiative for African American Graduate Students at Georgia Institute of Technology Sundiata K. Jangha1, Robert G. Haley2, Dr. Calvin Mackie3

1 George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering 2 College of Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

3 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Tulane University

Introduction In today’s changing world, many industry, government and academic leaders have reached the same conclusion regarding diversity: “Diversity is no longer a moral imperative, it is a key to survival.” While diversity is a commonly used word in many circles, it is misunderstood by some and maybe even avoided by others. A common acceptable definition of diversity when addressing organizational behavior is “an inclusive collection of individuals and groups who bring varied human characteristics.”

Diversity in graduate school is no exception. If our workforce and professional ranks are to be diverse, the institutions of higher learning must be committed to diversity, encourage diversity and provide an atmosphere to promote diversity. In Academia, diversity has initially been addressed on two levels: gender and ethnicity. As Dr. C. Mojica Rey stated “Successful diversity programs level the playing field for women and minorities by addressing their needs and teaching undergraduates the unwritten rules of academic science.” [1]

The primary goal of this paper is to present an overview of a program Georgia Tech established in 1992 to address the dearth of African American graduate students in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering. The FOCUS program is a graduate school awareness event held annually during the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Celebration. The three and one-half day event is designed for African American undergraduates to increase the awareness of, explore the benefits of, and encourage the participants the application to graduate school – if not at Georgia Tech then another institution. The purpose in writing this paper is to import information about Georgia Tech’s effort, which will aid other academic institutions in formulating and implementing similar programs to increase diversity within the ranks of their graduate student bodies. While FOCUS affects all of the colleges on Georgia Tech’s campus, the concentration for this paper from an analysis standpoint will be on the interactions between the FOCUS program and the College of Engineering (CoE). This is the original college for the program and as such,

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Haley, R., & Mackie, C., & Jangha, S. (2003, June), Focus: The Evolution Of A Recruiting Initiative For African American Graduate Students At Georgia Institute Of Technology Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11919

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