School of Graduate Studies Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

last update: April 12, 2022

Strategic Plan to Address the Five Strategic Goals

Goal 1: Bring to Rutgers a diverse population of graduate students and broaden participation to address the historical disparities in representation across race, gender, and ethnicity.

  1. Gather information from graduate programs periodically concerning recruiting, admission and enrollment of underrepresented students.  Responses will be valuable for identifying actions and resources needed to accomplish key goals.
  2. Encourage all graduate programs to adopt best practices in recruiting, admitting and enrolling underrepresented students through an activity modeled after DICE’s Strategies and Tactics for Recruiting to Improve Diversity and Excellence (STRIDE) project (currently devoted to faculty recruiting), which communicates and evaluates best practices for recruiting through workshops, trainings, and web-based toolkits.
  3. Expand resources for SGS graduate recruitment efforts, such as the Recruitment Ambassadors program. 
  4. Work with faculty and programs to create authentic, deep, and sustainable educational and research collaborations with minority-serving institutions.
  5. Expand and coordinate events for admitted students to introduce them to the Rutgers community with the goal of increasing the rate of acceptances.
  6. Incorporate an equity, diversity, and inclusion statement as part of the graduate application process.
  7. Create a path to graduate education for undergraduates (at Rutgers or elsewhere) by enlisting current Rutgers graduate students to serve as mentors (with appropriate training, programmatic support and compensation for the graduate students).  
  8. Promote, coordinate, and expand efforts to obtain external funding to bring more undergraduate research interns to Rutgers and to create more bridge to the doctorate programs for master’s students interested in doctoral study. 
  9. Advocate for strong financial support packages (including selective support of master’s students) with amounts and durations that are competitive with peers and large enough to meet the needs of students, including funding for essential research needs.
  10. Increase the funding of SGS-administered fellowships such as Dean’s Fellowships for Broadening Participation and SUPER-Grad Fellowships and use these fellowships as part of recruiting efforts.
  11. Disseminate metrics on recruiting, admission, and enrollment, and use these metrics to identify and address disparities across race/ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status and ability in the graduate population.

Share your feedback on the full plan today.

Goal 2: Develop targeted, funded projects to ensure successful experiences and outcomes for a diverse cohort of graduate students.

  1. Increase budget for year-round emergency funding to meet unexpected student needs and ensure distribution in an equitable fashion.
  2. Increase funding for doctoral research and student travel, ensuring that funds are distributed equitably and address areas of greatest need.
  3. Expand the resources of SGS’s GradFund, which provides advice, support, and mentoring for students seeking external fellowships so that the needs of a large and diverse cohort of students are met.
  4. Create interdisciplinary faculty groups to initiate and obtain external funding to advance diversity and inclusion in graduate education, including expansion and development of partnerships with other institutions, including those making up the Big 10 Academic Alliance, to collaborate on grant proposals and research projects.   
  5. Establish small grant programs to fund research of graduate students that focus on issues relevant to diversity and inclusion.  

Share your feedback on the full plan today.

Goal 3: Foster the personal, professional, and scholarly growth of students, leading to successful graduate school experiences and post-graduate outcomes and careers.

  1. Expand programs for professional development of graduate students in areas such as external internships, language and writing support, business skills, and networking with alumni, in coordination with Rutgers partners (Career Exploration and Success; Rutgers Business School; Graduate English Language Learners).  
  2. Review SGS activities and services (for example: GradFund, Teaching Assistant Project, career and professional development workshops) to determine how well they address the needs of a diverse cohort of students, domestic and international, and what resources may be needed to address unmet needs.
  3. Institutionalize opportunities for students to have a significant voice in policies and decisions both within their programs and across SGS (for example, an elected SGS Student Executive Council).
  4. Provide training, advice and assistance for students who are applying for jobs within or outside academia, including job search techniques, resume/CV preparation, and interviewing skills. Ensure that services meet the needs of the diverse student population.
  5. Host dialogues and workshops to prepare students to succeed in their post-graduation jobs and careers, within or outside academia.
  6. Create sustainable affinity groups, safe(r) spaces, and peer-support networks.
  7. Promote dialogue across difference through workshops and events attended by faculty and students to foster communication and understanding.
  8. Determine (through surveys and other means of communication) the extent to which supporting services offered outside SGS, including those that address the mental health and wellbeing of students, are meeting the needs of the diverse graduate student population.
  9. Investigate and expand avenues available to students to safely report concerns.
  10. Provide a guide to resources available for managing conflict resolution and mediation, including: (a) listing the name of the appointed ombudsperson in each graduate program; (b) informing students of their right, as specified in SGS bylaws, to appeal decisions within their programs and within SGS; (c) reminding students of the resources provided by the SGS problem resolution office, the university Office of Student Conduct, and the university ombudsperson; (d) informing students of resources available to report instances of harassment or discriminatory treatment. Advocate for hiring by the university of trained and accredited professionals in conflict resolution.
  11. Support and coordinate efforts by graduate programs to ensure that policies, requirements, and practices are responsive to the needs, goals, and aspirations of the whole student, including but not limited to life experiences that intersect with race, ethnicity, citizenship status, and family and economic situations.  
  12. Vigorously advocate for the creation and funding of much-needed affordable and safe childcare and infant-care options for graduate students, including providing evidence addressing the importance of such measures for student wellbeing and student success.
  13. Work with university partners to examine and implement the recommendations in the 2019 report of the Rutgers Committee on Sexual Harassment Prevention and Culture Change.
  14. Organize and display data on major metrics of graduate success, including but not limited to time-to-degree and post-graduate outcomes, disaggregated by categories such as program, race/ethnicity, gender, domestic vs. international status, and use data to address mentoring practices and professional development activities. Compare data to available results from peers (such as other Big 10 Academic Alliance universities).
  15. Conduct periodic assessments of accessibility, where assessments cover all aspects of the graduate student experience, including SGS services, academic activities and research, and accessibility is interpreted broadly to include measures to address potential barriers to success due to factors such as language differences, sensory or sensorimotor disabilities, chronic or acute health concerns, infant-care spaces, or learning disabilities. 

Share your feedback on the full plan today.

Goal 4: Promote inclusive scholarship, teaching, and mentoring.

  1. Support the efforts of programs to develop inclusive courses and curricula in all disciplinary areas; use the SGS website to share ideas and developments, including sharing of relevant research findings.
  2. Expand and develop existing efforts to build an inclusive culture of effective mentoring for all students through mentoring training of faculty that includes: recognition of the goals and aspirations of all students, responsiveness to cultural and religious affiliations of students, elimination of bias in all forms, and respect for the needs of the whole student (work-life balance).
  3. Expand training for faculty and graduate students in inclusive teaching.
  4. Formally recognize training or achievements in diversity and inclusion in SGS through awards, certificates, and microcredentials such as digital badging.
  5. Incorporate outreach, advocacy, and community engagement into the graduate student experience, including working with Career Exploration Services and other Rutgers and community offices to create relevant internships for graduate students.
  6. Require a statement on mentoring and inclusion as part of applications for membership in the SGS Graduate Faculty.
  7. Require a statement on diversity, equity, and inclusion for all course proposals as of Fall, 2022.
  8. Consult with the Rutgers English Language Institute to review admission requirements for language testing.
  9. Work with departments and schools to develop incentives for faculty to engage in more projects, research and activities centered around diversity and inclusion, including external grant applications and other fundraising, recruiting, and mentoring undergraduate research students.

Share your feedback on the full plan today.

Goal 5: Develop institutional infrastructure to support collaboration, accountability, and community engagement in support of DEI goals.

  1. Hire web specialists and work with all Rutgers partners concerned with graduate education to build and maintain a strong and visible Rutgers-wide resource, Diversity and Inclusion in Graduate Education, and use this resource to share activities, accomplishments, ideas, and innovations, ensuring that the initiatives at Rutgers are visible to those outside the university.
  2. Host periodic discussions and workshops on DEI-related topics for students, faculty, and staff to build relationships and share concerns, ideas, and experiences across programs, schools, and disciplines.
  3. Collaborate with graduate programs engaged in service learning, advocacy and outreach, and with campus offices (for example, the Collaborative Center for Community-Engaged Learning and Research) to organize new opportunities and events highlighting community-based DEI advocacy and facilitating relationships between graduate students and community organizations. This includes but not limited to activities where graduate students share their academic knowledge or research achievements with community organizations using suitable formats, such as visits to schools, public libraries, museums, parks, or community centers in under-served areas. Meet with leaders of these organizations to assess needs and ways the SGS graduate students can contribute. Organize and host events for students to bring opportunities to their attention and recognize student activities and achievements with digital badging.
  4.  Report annually to the SGS Executive Council on the implementation of the strategic plan goals in SGS and expand goals and implementation steps as needed.
  5. Develop and implement a strategic communications plan for DEI to facilitate collaboration and share ongoing updates on strategic plan implementation. Hire web specialists to create needed online tools for resource- and information-sharing.
  6. Periodically examine SGS academic policies, bylaws and program bylaws in order to assess alignment with strategic DEI priorities. 
  7. Establish a process for discussing DEI goals and strategic plan implementation, via meetings of the Executive Council, Graduate Director Forums, student committees and/or an advisory committee.
  8. Establish a permanent student committee to advise on diversity, equity, and inclusion in SGS, including and beyond the goals outlined in this plan.
  9. Hold events for the staff and administrators of the graduate programs to keep them informed about activities related to diversity, equity and inclusion within SGS.
  10. Encourage SGS staff to participate in ongoing diversity, equity, and inclusion education coordinated by the Division of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement, and develop support structures to identify and promote diversity in staff leadership.
  11. Periodically evaluate SGS staffing with respect to meeting the needs and fulfilling the DEI strategic goals, and address staffing shortfalls through hiring as needed.

Share your feedback on the full plan today.