Academic Affairs

Diversity in Admissions

Diversity in Admissions

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How: Principles and How to Begin

Action Steps

Each UW institution defines educational goals in their mission statements and diversity plans. To meet these goals instiutions establish strategies, or plans of actions, which identify the concrete steps they will undertake to achieve the broader educational goals.

The following four-step process can be used to maintain the fit between institutional and diversity goals and promote compliance with federal law. (The following was developed by Arthur Coleman and presented as part of a College Board sponsored seminar entitled "National Seminar on Admissions (Selection) & Federal Law", held November 16 & 17, 2005, in Chicago, IL.)

STEP ONE:Inventory and Assemble (Know Your Program)

  • Collect, assemble and inventory all policies and programs designed to support institutional diversity goals, including all admissions, financial aid, outreach, recruitment, and retention policies and programs that bear on diversity goals.
  • Assemble an interdisciplinary team which includes institutional leadership and appropriate stakeholders to evaluate policies and programs in view of institutional goals and legal requirements.

STEP TWO:Justify (Clearly Define Goals)

  • Establish or reinforce clearly defined, institutionally- specific, mission-driven, diversity goals.
  • Clarify whom the institution seeks to attract and how that correlates with educational objectives.
  • Assemble evidence of action on diversity goals through policies, appropriate research studies, and statements from leaders or employers that amplify the benefits of a diverse student body.

STEP THREE:Assess (Evaluate Program Design)

  • Periodically evaulate all diversity-related programs to determine the need to use race-conscious practices, and consider whether appropriate race-neutral alternatives exist to achieve the goals.
  • Review programs to determine their necessity and fit to the institution's mission and educational goals.
  • Review programs to ensure the use of race is done in a manner where applicants receive an individualized holistic review where diversity is not defined solely in terms of race.
  • Review programs in light of having no harm or disadvantage accrue to those who are not the beneficiaries of a race-conscious policy.
  • Ensure that race-conscious programs and policies have clear duration and are used no longer than needed to meet educational goals.

STEP FOUR:Act (Take Necessary Action Steps)

  • Gather evidence to determine if certain programs are advancing diversity and educational goals as intended.
  • As goals are met, take steps to modify programs as needed to reflect new circumstances.
  • Establish reviews to ensure race is used in the most limited way possible while still advancing diversity goals.