Athens, Ga. – Diverse Issues in Higher Education recently ranked the University of Georgia 15th in the nation for doctoral degrees awarded to African Americans, up from 17th in last year’s rankings. The doctoral completion rate for African Americans at UGA has been ranked within the top 20 colleges in the nation for three consecutive years.
The latest ranking from Diverse Issues reflects the UGA Graduate School’s efforts to recruit and retain underrepresented students through graduation. Enrollment of African-American graduate students at UGA has consistently grown since 1999 when the graduate school began formal inclusiveness programs.
“I am proud of both these doctoral students who completed their degrees at UGA and our continued progress toward enhancing the diversity of our university,” said Maureen Grasso, dean of graduate school. “We strengthen UGA’s community and quality of research with the diversity of our graduate student body.”
According to this year’s rankings, UGA ranked 52nd overall for conferring doctoral degrees upon students from all underrepresented populations.
The Graduate School Outreach and Diversity Office recruits students from underrepresented populations and supports first-year students by helping them adjust and set their expectations for graduate study.
“As we continue to increase enrollment of students from underrepresented populations on campus, our goal is also to provide students with different networking opportunities that are beneficial to their academic development,” said Shauna Hemingway, director of the Graduate School Outreach and Diversity Office.
The diversity office’s Graduate Feeder and Summer Bridge programs provide newly admitted students with mentorship and guidance opportunities from current students, smoothing the students’ transition to graduate school.
“We want to make sure every student has the full social and academic support to finish their studies,” said Hemingway. “The partnerships between first-year and seasoned graduate students create a valuable social and professional network for students as they move through their programs.”
The diversity office works to establish these relationships early on. The Future Scholars Visitation Program, one of the office’s main programs, allows prospective students to meet with faculty from various departments and begin early discussions on research ideas. Prospective students can also network with current students. UGA accepted more than 60 percent of prospective students who participated in the FSVP last year.