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Author(s):Currier, James; Atwood, Michael; Trauth, Eileen
under-represented groups
Abstract:The student bodies and faculties of most, if not all, iSchools lack sufficient diversity. To build diverse student bodies, provide resources and services to support students from under-represented groups, and offer a more multi-culturally-representative educational experience for all students that mirrors the U.S.’s changing census demographics and global interconnectivity, many iSchools are striving to increase enrollments of minority students and faculty members within their institutions. However, despite a philosophical commitment and demonstrable outlay of diversity-focused curricula, programs, materials, staff, and funding within these respective institutions and throughout the LIS field as a whole, many iSchools are experiencing difficulties in identifying and recruiting Master’s and PhD students and faculty members from under-represented groups. As an example, a recent exploratory study of seven iSchools indicates that of 203 faculty members, 23 are Asian Pacific, six are African American, four are Hispanic, and one is Native American. The latter three are far below the percentage of these groups within the greater population. In an effort to address these concerns, the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences (SIS), in cooperation with other academic institutions throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is initiating a planning effort to develop a long-term initiative. A recently approved Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant will enable SIS, in collaboration with two other founding iSchools – Drexel University and Pennsylvania State University – to begin a year-long planning effort to develop an annual four-week Summer Institute on Graduate Study in the Information Sciences (SIGSIS) for promising undergraduate juniors and seniors who demonstrate strong potential to earn doctoral degrees and become members of iSchool faculties. The goals of the yearly Summer Institutes are to provide these select juniors and seniors with (1) supportive, hands-on mentors, (2) information and tools imparted by a dedicated cadre of faculty and staff, and (3) a rich, on-campus experience that augments their individual knowledge foundations, familiarizes them with the academic environment, and promotes their success within that milieu. The University of Pittsburgh’s Summer Institute (SIGSIS) is modeled on Wheaton College’s Summer Institute for Literary and Cultural Studies (SILCS), based in Norton, Massachusetts. Wheaton College’s SILCS is a four-week institute “to promote diversity in the field of English” and “to increase the number of students from diverse backgrounds who would be applying to graduate programs”.
Issue Date:2009-02-08
Genre:Conference Paper / Presentation
Date Available in IDEALS:2010-04-12

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