We hope to gain more ideas and/or insight on what we need to do to increase our minority population on campus. We plan to conduct some focus groups with students on campus and work with the team to recommend new strategies.
Overall recommendations from both students and committee members for improving the recruitment of minority students included:
Student Affairs should continue to explore opportunities to establish a campus radio station that features student programming. A student-run station would provide a creative outlet for students to share their interests.
Student Affairs (Div. of Educational Equity) should explore a mentoring program that would allow upper division students to mentor incoming freshmen to provide social and academic support as needed.
Residence Life and Housing and Food Services should continue to explore options to create a game room in Lawrence Hall. Several students of color identified this as a need in the focus groups and felt that it could provide a nice outlet for students to get together.
The Student Facility Fee Committee should explore options to create an outdoor basketball court. Students who participated in the focus groups indicated this would be very desirable and a way to interact with different cultures.
Admissions should develop a "Behrend Lion Scout”, "Student Ambassadors” or “Peer” recruiting program which would train current students, especially first and second year students, to return to their high schools over the Thanksgiving break and recruit students to Behrend. Students should be provided a modest stipend for the time spent training, giving a presentation and any follow-up with prospective students.
Admissions, along with Marketing and Communications, should develop a DVD (student testimonials that reflect all cultures) designed for referral students which emphasize the themes identified in the focus groups. Referral students represent the largest group of prospective students who may not have sufficient information about Behrend and thus dismiss the college out of hand. The content should feature current students and also be available on the web.
Admissions, Student Affairs, Student Activities, and Athletics should all collaborate on ways to regularly invite local and prospective minority students to relevant events on Campus (i.e.: speakers, concerts, athletic events, Rhythms of Life series, etc.). Even if they don't come, the regular "touches" keep Behrend on their mind and familiar with the
activities we offer.
Academic Departments and Schools:
Students in the focus group felt that academically Behrend was meeting their expectations and that the college should explore more proactive ways to promote and strongly emphasize more of Behrend-only majors when recruiting.
Student Activities should explore the interest in creating Greek fraternities and/or sororities for minority students, which was very desirable for many of the students in the focus groups.
Student activities should promote more events and activities that appeal to the minority population on campus.
Financial Aid should provide and publicize more need-based and/or academic scholarships that is available for minority students.
Marketing and Communications:
Marketing and Communications should look at changing the TV commercial to reflect Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. This was mentioned by several students in the focus groups, because they felt that the current commercial reflected UP.
Development and Alumni Relations:
Development and Alumni Relations should create a Minority Alumni Network, where successful minority Behrend alums working in different careers would be willing to correspond by email/blogs/etc. with prospective students about how Behrend helped them get where they are and provide advice about how they can do it as well. Current students in the focus groups, indicated that they would be willing to participate in the Minority Alumni Network once they graduated.
Athletic Department should explore ways to upgrade campus sports programs and include a football team, which was desirable for some students in the focus groups.
Chancellor’s Office should explore options and strategies to hire more faculty of color, seeing a familiar face is very important for minority students,” as one student emphasized.
Chancellor’s Office should look at exploring a more diverse academic curriculum on the subject of African American Studies.
Chancellor’s Office should work with local businesses to develop more retail around campus.
- Felicia Williams, Leader
- Ken Miller, Facilitator
- Melissa Borgia, Member
- Jane Brady, Member
- Biddy Brooks, Member
- Randy Brown, Member
- Andy Herrera, Member
- Terri Mando, Member