UT Austin’s Plans to Increase Diversity in Academia with Award from The National Science Foundation
Pub Date: October 15, 2020 | by Dynahlee Padilla
The University of Austin Texas (UT Austin) and eight other research universities have recently been granted a 3-and-a-half-year award funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) — to make the pathway of increasing diversity in academia more accessible for historically underrepresented minorities.
This research project is part of NSF’s Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) program — where universities collaborate to create evidence-based models that transform doctoral education, postdoctoral training, and faculty advancement, particularly for students in mathematics, physical and earth sciences, and engineering (MPESE) fields.
Dr. Marvin L. Hackert, associate dean for the graduate school at UT Austin, explained that underrepresented groups represent about 30% of the overall population. By the time those students get to graduate school, that drops down to only about 10% of the overall graduate student population. Similarly, only about 6% make up the post-doctorate population and about 5% make up the faculty, specifically in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields (STEM).
“So, we are trying to address what it takes to minimize this drop off between elementary school to college to graduate school to postdoctoral to faculty positions —to increase the representation of underrepresented groups that have leadership roles and faculty positions at research universities,” said Hackert.