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Information for Sloan UCEM Programs

Suggestions for Broadening Participation in STEM Graduate Programs at Illinois


  • Read “Measuring Diversity: An Evaluation Guide for STEM Graduate Program Leaders," issued by American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in partnership with NSF Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP).  This guide provides a framework, detailed advice and practical tools  for evaluating effectiveness of graduate level programs in STEM diversity initiatives.
  • Review your unit's URM enrollment in PhD programs at Grad Data or the DMI Dashboard.
  • Find national data in the NSF's report on Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering, including graduate enrollment by field, citizenship, ethnicity, and race (table 3-5) and doctoral degrees award by field, citizenship, ethnicity, and race (table 7-4).

Recruitment Strategies:

  • 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 Research Experiences for Undergraduates (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 Toolkit 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 ABCRMSSACNAS, NSBE, SHPE, ERNAISES. To maximize recruiting efforts:
    • Sign up as a career fair exhibitor or coordinate with other Illinois representatives to share a booth or have booths grouped together.
    • Exhibitors often have access to resume databases and abstracts of student participants.  Preview and plan which presentations to visit in advance.
    • Support attendance of faculty and graduate students who can give firsthand 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 reception, 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.
  • Forward resources for underrepresented domestic applicants at Illinois.
  • Invite recruited students to apply to participate in the Graduate College's ASPIRE program.
  • IMPORTANT: Tell students that they may be eligible for a Big Ten Academic Alliance application fee waiver.  For more information and to apply go to FreeApp.
  • Develop professional relationships and follow up with identified recruits.

Application Review:

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

Enrollment 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.
  • Promote participation at the Summer Predoctoral Institute (SPI) and its benefits during the prospective student campus visits and follow-up communications, even before they have accepted an admission offer.


  • 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. See examples: Aerospace, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics
  • Communicate clearly at your department's graduate application webpage that eligible prospective students may apply for an application fee waiver at FreeApp.
  • Point to the UIUC campus commitment and links to resources at Inclusive Illinois.