The working group hopes to include diversity discussion in NSO
In a campuswide e-mail yesterday evening, the Office of the Provost announced that the Admissions and Recruitment Working Group has put together a draft proposal for changes to Georgetown’s recruitment process.
The changes, which are meant to encourage a more diverse student body, are not official, and the “plan for implementation” of any changes will not arrive until January 2010, after community comment. However, the e-mail, signed by Provost James O’Donnell and Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity Rosemary Kilkenny, did indicate that the suggestions would be “immensely helpful” to the University’s ongoing recruitment of the Class of 2014.
Suggestions for altering the admissions and recruitment process, according to the nineteen-page working group report (PDF) provided by link in the e-mail, include, among other things:
Prominently advertising the 1,789 new scholarships that Georgetown will be adding to encourage need-blind admissions over the next five years to potential students.
Looking into strategies that will increase the likelihood that an accepted student from an underrepresented group will attend Georgetown
Increasing the diversity of Blue and Gray tour guides and their knowledge of diversity issues and clubs on campus.
Including imagery on Georgetown’s redesigned website that highlights campus diversity.
Including a required essay prompt that invites students to discuss how their background or life experience would enrich Georgetown on applications.
These proposed changes are aimed at increasing campus diversity and cross-cultural engagement. The report notes that relative to peer universities, Georgetown has a very low attendance yield among its accepted minority applicants.
Last week, the Diversity Working Groups formed in response to the Hoya’s offensive April Fools’ Day issue held a town hall meeting to discuss their progress. Unfortunately, the meeting was pretty sparsely attended, so Vox decided to go out on campus and find out what students are thinking about Georgetown’s diversity issues.
On Thursday night, students from the Diversity working groups commissioned by President John DeGioia’s office gathered for a town hall meeting in Copley Formal Lounge. Although the meeting was sparsely attended, a number of prominent administrators were present, and a wide range of ideas on diversity were presented.
For a more thorough examination of the working group’s progress, see Lily Kaiser’s article in the print edition of the Voice.
Vice President for Strategic Development Dan Porterfield explained that the groups had been working hard over the summer to draft concrete recommendations for Provost James O’Donnell and DeGioia.
“[The working groups examined] how can we increase the number of underrepresented groups in the undergraduate population … [and] how can we ensure that all students who are applying to Georgetown hear a clear and compelling message about the standards of citizenship, civic engagement, and respect present,” Porterfield said.
When the meeting was opened up to members of the audience, the discussion became more heated with one individual shouting loudly at the assembled members of the working groups. A faculty member (who did not give her name) also supported the statements of the irate audience member and argued passionately that Georgetown needed to pursue greater recruitment of minority Professors.
“We’re weaving and creating stronger connections among students … that, as much as possible, breaks down some of the walls and divisions that we experience at our life together at Georgetown,” Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson said.
Although the specific recommendations generated by the working groups remain to be seen, panelists spoke out strongly for programs geared toward recruiting minority students, the creation of minority studies programs, and stronger financial aid programs.
GUSA has compiled the results of their “Omnibus Student Survey,” the summer survey which polled the student body on everything from GUSA’s structure, student diversity, and GUTS buses, to student safety, academics, and the free newspaper program and earned its chief organizer, GUSA President Calen Angert (MSB `11) high marks on the Angertometer.
Here’s what the 1,020 student respondents said, according to an email from Angert (because of a glitch with UIS, the are no breakdowns available for individual questions):
29 percent of students said they felt unrepresented by GUSA last year
77 percent of respondents rated GUSA’s student advocacy track record “poor” or were unsure of how they felt, but 20 percent approved of their past programming
66 percent felt that Georgetown is a diverse campus and the same number felt there is “sufficient programming, as organized by faculty and staff, on campus that engages students on the subject of diversity”
Over 90 percent said they would support a continuation of Saturday GUTS bus routes and an expanded GUTS route to include a bus to a grocery store (GUSA recently accomplished the latter)
91 percent said they felt safe on campus, but two-thirds of respondents would like to see increased DPS patrols
92 percent agreed that “the university fosters an environment that is conducive to intellectual learning.”
89 percent said that they had read a free newspaper provided on campus by the Collegiate Readership Program that was recently suspended due to funding issues
After the jump, see all the results Angert provided in his e-mail!
In the wake of the Hoya‘s April Fools’ Issue last spring, President DeGioia held a town hall meeting and announced the creation of three working groups to address diversity issues in terms of admissions, academics and student life at Georgetown. DeGioia promised that these groups—comprised of administrators, faculty and students—would be doing work over the summer and issuing a report this semester.
So what were they up to exactly this summer? We checked in with Rosemary Kilkenny, Georgetown’s Vice President of Institutional Diversity and Equity to see how their summer assignments went.
The academics working group outlined a document that compares Georgetown’s curriculum to that of “similar” schools. The purpose of this document was to examine whether or not Georgetown’s curriculum placed enough importance on cultural diversity. Factors mentioned in the outline include whether the curriculum requires the study of various cultures, what percent of students are ethnic studies majors, and an analysis of minority enrollment in relation to these factors.
The admissions working group addressed the huge discrepancy between the percent of admitted black students and admitted white students who end up attending Georgetown. According to Kilkenny, approximately 25 percent of admitted African American students attend Georgetown, as opposed to between 70 and 80 percent og admitted white students. This finding led the admissions group to think about how Georgetown packages itself as a community in terms of cultural diversity.
In terms of student life, Kilkenny brought up the apparent social segregation that takes place on campus, citing Leo’s specifically as a particularly flagrant example. The participants of the student life working group have been studying and analyzing integration within several student groups and activities on campus this summer.
Sound like exciting stuff to you? If you’re interested in joining one of the working groups you should contact Rosemary Kilkenny at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proliferation of chapels and crucifixes notwithstanding, we actually aren’t that Catholic!
Over on the Daily Beast, Kathleen Kingsbury has made it her mission to debunk “bogus college stereotypes.” Earlier this week she took on entrenched stereotypes like “Oberlin is all hippies,” “Smith turns girls into lesbians,” “Villanova is so white and preppy” and, best of all, “Georgetown is so Catholic.”
Georgetown University—an officially Jesuit-affiliated school—might really be Catholic? You don’t say!
[A]at its heart, this is a Catholic university (America’s oldest) and visitors are quick to realize that. Consider the crucifixes that adorn most classrooms, the theology requirement, and the parking spaces that read “Jesuit Parking Only.” Plus, as exacted by Catholic doctrine, stores on Georgetown property can’t sell condoms.
Ok, so maybe Georgetown being Catholic isn’t such a “bogus stereotype” after all, right? Not so fast! This one Jewish student didn’t feel weird about it at all!
What [Jill Herskovitz] and her parents found both on their initial visit and in her four years there, however, was a diverse campus with an active Hillel—about 15% of the student body is Jewish—and a full-time Muslim chaplain. Jill filled her theology credits with “Problem of God,” a survey of world religions, and a Jewish Studies course. “It was probably the best four years of her life,” says her mother Joan, who now counsels other hesitant prospective Jewish parents. “She’d go back tomorrow if she could.”
I don’t know where Kingsbury got that 15 percent Jewish statistic (The Student Commission for Unity report puts it at 6.5 percent, and the Jewish Students Association website says it’s “approximately twelve to fifteen percent” of undergrads), but nice to know that we meet the Daily Beast‘s standards for religious diversity!