“A commitment to diversity and excellence is at the core of our academic mission. I am extremely proud of the work we have done to build on the success of the Meyerhoff Scholarship Program by incorporating its key components into graduate education.”
— President Freeman A. Hrabowski, III
UMBC Honored for Promoting Diversity in Graduate Education
January 21, 2003 – UMBC has received the Council of Graduate Schools/Peterson’s Award for Innovation in Promoting an Inclusive Graduate Community for its efforts in building a comprehensive, supportive environment for women and minority graduate students. More than a dozen schools were considered for this year’s award, including Georgia Tech, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
“There has been a 50 percent rate of attrition for doctoral students at U.S. graduate schools over the past 20 years, and among minority students this figure is even higher,” says Scott Bass, dean of the Graduate School. The university has identified better mentorship between faculty and graduate students as the key to helping more minorities and women excel in science, math, engineering, and technology graduate programs.
Associate Dean of the Graduate School Janet Rutledge has created a new Graduate Horizons Program to recruit women and under-represented minorities to UMBC’s Ph.D. and master’s degree programs. She was instrumental in landing a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to establish the Maryland Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (MAGEP), a consortium of universities including UMBC and the University of Maryland’s campuses at College Park and downtown Baltimore. MAGEP seeks to build graduate student recruitment, mentoring, and professional development statewide.
UMBC’s Meyerhoff Graduate Fellows Program in the Biomedical Sciences also stands out as a model of success. Created in 1996, the program has grown from two minority students to 31 students across six departments. Biochemist Michael Summers directs the program. He is the only Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator at a public university in Maryland and is the recipient of the U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.
Summers also recently received a $2 million grant from HHMI to create the HHMI Undergraduate Scholars Program to prepare students for doctoral studies and academic careers and improve their research and communications skills by participating in local and international scientific conferences, mentoring disadvantaged high school students, and other activities.