I see most spaces I walk into in color first. I walk into classrooms, the supermarket, doctor offices and check for representation. I often count the number of Black and Brown folk in the room with me. I examine spaces thoroughly. I ask myself: What are the norms in this space? Have I dressed appropriately? Can I speak Spanish out loud? Do I have to enunciate? Will I have to use my “White English”?
These are some of the questions I was able to unpack and process throughout my master’s program at the University of Maryland College Park (UMD). The Higher Education, Student Affairs and International Education Policy (HESI) program not only challenged me to be more critical of our education systems, but also provided the foundation for my diversity, equity, and inclusion practice. At UMD and through my work at Partners in Print and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion on campus, I found the language, read scholars of color, and embraced my social justice educator identity. With the help of my advisor, professors, colleagues-turned-friends, sister scholars, and my Institute for Recruitment of Teachers (IRT) network, I earned a degree that otherwise would not have been possible for me.
Over the past year, the IRT has assisted 94 students in their graduate school preparations in their pursuit of doctoral and Master’s degrees in the humanities, social sciences and education fields. We are excited to report that the 2018 cohort received nearly 353 acceptances to graduate school programs, and 70% received partial to full graduate school funding at the following institutions:
George Washington University
Indiana University, Bloomington*
Michigan State University, Education
This year, the IRT committed itself to serve more students and just admitted our biggest class! We will assist 121 students through the Ph.D. process, and 45 students through the master’s degree process. In sum, we will support 166 students. Nearly half of our class identifies as Black or African American, 37% identify as Latinx, 18% identify as Asian, and 1% of our cohort identify as Native American, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander.
Within the past year, our number of institutions increased from 85 to 100! This increase to 100 institutions would not have been possible without our alumni, who hosted information sessions on their campuses — THANK YOU! Over the past three years, we also doubled the number of HBCU institutions. We hope to build this trend and aim to increase it in three years. If you attended an HBCU, or are currently working at an HBCU as a faculty member or administrator, I encourage you to reach out to me regarding ways we can collaborate to ensure we can identify and recruit additional students at HBCU’s.
Without a doubt, June and July are exciting months in the IRT office. As we embark upon school list advising with a new cohort of 166 IRT scholars, the office also is buzzing in anticipation of the 29th Summer Workshop and the arrival of 29 Interns. This year’s Interns will descend on Andover on July 2, 2019. The cohort is a diverse one representing 24 institutions:
California State University, Sacramento
Notre Dame of Maryland University
Salem State University
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Los Angeles
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
University of Pittsburg
University of Texas, Austin
Wayne State University
Congratulations to Women’s Studies Professor LaKisha Simmons, IRT ’02 who is the recipient of this year’s Black Celebratory Cornerstone Award! Selected annually by graduating students, the award recognizes faculty or staff who enhance the academic and social progress of African American students at the University of Michigan.