June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
As both professional societies and universities campuses take more active measures to promote diversity awareness and competency, graduate student inclusion is often a secondary focus after undergraduate and faculty enrichment. Many campus diversity offices are already overburdened with increased demands for programming, leaving graduate students to form their own support communities, which can suffer from lack of guidance or cohesion. While it can be tempting to encourage graduate students to attend undergraduate organizations or nominally include them in faculty mixers, neither proposition promotes the discussions graduate students require for personal or professional development.
At Tulane University, the lack of graduate specific diversity programming has lead to the formation of two communities initiated by and continued through graduate student efforts: Women+ in Science and Engineering (WISE) and The Gender and Sexual Diversity Graduate Coalition. The importance of faculty and administration support, identification of constraints on a graduate community, and a review of successful community activities are discussed in the context of these two groups.
Best practices from a year of events for each community are reviewed in detail. These practices include the implementation of a technical communication seminar and colloquia series, an LGBT in Academia Panel with out faculty members, a workshop on overcoming Imposter Syndrome, and the start of an LGBT in STEM P-12 mentorship program. Both graduate student communities saw increased levels of involvement by centralizing communication methods through a single social media account. Furthermore, the collaboration between graduate communities have been integral to the success of the individual groups as each fulfills intersecting and separate roles within the graduate student body.
These best practices, and all of Tulane’s graduate community activities, are in continual development and benefit from constant feedback.
Elfer, K., & Rynearson, A. M., & Hicks, N. M., & Spingola, E. M., & Fair, K. (2017, June), Lessons Learned: Strategies for Creating and Mentoring Diverse Graduate Student Communities Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28624
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