A GSAS Trouble Spot


The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences has always had trouble with its minority recruitment program. Unlike the Med, Law and Business Schools, the GSAS has historically found it difficult to increase significantly the number of minority students who apply, register and complete their degrees.

So when an ad hoc committee of concerned GSAS minority students made several recommendations about the school's program, the University administration prepared for yet another look at the problem that has plagued them since minority recruitment levels became an issue.

Francis M. Pipkin, chairman of the Faculty Council subcommittee on graduate education that has been examining the student proposals since they were submitted in December, pointed out this week that minority recruitment at the graduate level is rather different from recruitment programs a the College.

To begin with, the pool of candidates for admission is small, in part because professional schools--which offer more marketable degrees than the Ph.D--compete with the GSAS for qualified minority students.

In addition, the admissions process at the graduate school is departmental, so the GSAS minority recruiter does not sit on the committees that consider the applicants.

And, like most graduate schools, the GSAS students have a high rat of attrition from the school's degree program--and minority students are no exception.

To combat these problems, the ad hoc student group suggested that the GSAS set up a committee to oversee the entire admissions process, increase the financial aid available to minority students and hire a minority group member of attract candidates and help minority students once they enroll in the GSAS.

Although they agreed with the first two recommendations, GSAS administrators took issue with the third, disagreeing with the students' claim that only a minority group member would have the contacts in the outside world needed to attract minority applicants, and that only a minority group member could be truly sensitive to minority student needs.

Pipkin's committee on graduate education took a position somewhere between the two groups in its report to the Faculty Council last week, saying only that the GSAS has vigorously attacked the problem of minority recruiting, but that the school may not have used as much imagination as it might in approaching the subject.

The final decision on the recommendations rests with Dean Rosovsky and GSAS administration, but because Rosovsky has asked the Faculty Council for advice, it will continue to hear presentations on the problem.