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FROM JERRY BALDASTY: Graduate School Report 4: Diversity

November 23, 2011



Graduate students make up a quarter of the 40,000 students at the UW. Yet only 10 percent of graduate students are underrepresented minorities – that’s fewer than 1,000 students out of the 10,297 US-resident graduate students on all three of our campuses. If we are to fulfill the University’s vision of educating a diverse student body, we have much work to do.


Attached is a copy of the Graduate School’s report on diversity among graduate and professional students here at the UW. This report is part of an ongoing series from the Graduate School on campus and national trends in graduate education. In this report, we make three points, offer solutions and present a call to action.


First, we are falling behind. The UW’s minority representation lags behind many other universities that we consider our peers, and fails to reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of Washington State.  We have made some progress in the past decade, but it’s clear that we are not keeping up with changes in our state and nation.


Second, the challenges are daunting. Our state’s degree production is well below the national average; we are not educating as many of our own residents as most other states.  Our prospective students – more diverse racially and ethnically than ever before – face enormous obstacles in their desire for education.


Third, the stakes are very high. Higher education is the key to economic prosperity and livable communities; if UW does not do better, Washington state will suffer greatly. The threat to our state’s prosperity — and to the well-being of our children and their children — is clear.


This report details these three points, and recommends an action plan to support graduate and professional students – which will bolster economic prosperity and strengthen livable communities. I hope you will read the report and let me know your thoughts and ideas. Diversity must be embraced by everyone throughout our campuses if we are to achieve it.


Jerry Baldasty

Vice Provost and Dean

Graduate School

Professor, Communication

Adjunct Professor, American Ethnic Studies; Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies

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