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Information for Sloan UCEM Programs

Suggestions for Broadening Participation in STEM Graduate Programs at Illinois

Targeted Yield Recruitment:

  • Identify sources for targeted recruiting of URM STEM talent in your area of discipline. See this list of possible recruitment resources. Other examples: McNair Scholars, Meyerhoff Scholars.
  • Check NSF lists of top baccalaureate institutions of origins of black/African-American and Hispanic/Latino doctoral recipients in science and engineering. Offer to give a seminar at one of these institutions. Identify summer REU programs that target URM students, and offer to visit them during the summer to meet the students and talk about graduate school options. The BADGE program in the Graduate College may be available to provide some funding for recruiting travel.
  • Invite students from targeted institutions to apply to undergraduate research programs, NSF-REU and SROP here at Illinois. Check the Graduate College’s Tookit for Broadening Participation in Graduate Education for recruiting ideas and its Diversity Recruiting Schedule if you want to join efforts in recruiting at a particular conference.
  • Recruit at national STEM conferences aimed toward URM populations, such as SACNAS, NSBE, SHPE. To maximize recruiting efforts at the conference:
    • Sign up as a career fair exhibitor or join Illinois representatives if career fair booth has already been arranged. Note that exhibitors are sometimes given access to resume databases of student participants at the conference.
    • Support attendance of faculty and graduate students who can give first-hand information about the graduate program and research opportunities.  
    • Expand interactions beyond those at the career fair booth. Engage with potential recruits at the undergraduate poster sessions. Volunteer at a resume workshop, attend a networking dinner, or participate on a panel discussion to encourage early career professors.
    • Get to know faculty members and directors of URM STEM programs at undergraduate institutions wherever possible.
  • Invite recruited students to apply to participate in the Graduate College’s ASPIRE program.
  • Invite recruited student to submit graduate application. IMPORTANT: Include information about BTAA application fee waiver at FreeApp.
  • Develop professional relationships and follow up with targeted recruits.

Application Review:

  • Reevaluate graduate admission procedures and criteria.
  • Read the report Race, Class, and College Access: Achieving Diversity in a Shifting Legal Landscape. While this report focuses on undergraduate recruiting and admissions, many of the strategies perceived as effective for racial/ethnic diversity could be applied to graduate recruiting and admissions including: holistic application review, reduced emphasis on standardized test scores, considerations of overcoming hardship and socioeconomic status disadvantage.
  • Track and review URM and female applicants.
  • Reformat graduate applicant review portal to readily provide summary information of female and URM applicants and offers.
  • Appoint a diversity advocate whose role will be to monitor URM applications, ensure key statistics are reported to the Graduate College, and ensure that faculty receive the required training to serve on the admissions committee. NOTE: Required for Sloan UCEM participating departments.
  • Graduate admissions committee members to read and discuss:

NOTE: Required for Sloan UCEM participating departments. Graduate Admissions committee members please verify online.

Yield Initiatives:

  • Talk about graduate diversity initiatives during program over to all students visiting your department during recruiting visits.
  • Provide brochure of graduate students resources and campus STEM organizations specific to your department. Examples include SACNAS, NOBCChE, WCC, o-STEM, GradSWE, SHPE, NSBE, and others.
  • Offer prospective URM students the opportunity to meet with graduate students in your department who are involved with the aforementioned STEM organizations.


  • Review pictures on your department’s website, brochures, presentations, etc.  Do these show diversity in students, alumni, and faculty?
  • Add a “Diversity and Inclusion” webpage on your department's website that includes statement, descriptions of support systems, and links to resources.
  • Communicate clearly on the graduate application information webpage that prospective students may apply for an application fee waiver at FreeApp.