Northwestern's Commitment to Diversity with Dwight A. McBride,
Dean of The Graduate School and Associate Provost for Graduate Education
Dean McBride kicked off AHEAD@NU’s spring quarter series with a dynamic
presentation outlining the importance of diversity at both the national and
institutional level and what The Graduate School is doing to support this initiative.
Dean McBride spoke of the current demographic trends in our nation. In 2011, non-
Asian’s represented over 1/3 of our population and women over 1/2. Unfortunately
these trends do not follow faculty trends and Northwestern is especially
underrepresented in the STEM disciplines (science, technological, engineering, and
math.) By 2023 over half of US children will be underrepresented minorities, by
2042 the minority will be equal to the majority, and in 2050 1 in 3 people will be
Hispanic. Dean McBride’s interest lies in how to create this diversity locally in order
to train the next generation of Americans to be successful in this changing society.
He feels it is his job to create a welcoming place for all individuals by giving them an
environment in which to thrive.
The recently released strategic plan identified diversity as a top institutional
initiative. At The Graduate School, diversity is one of the three pillars of their
own strategic plan and they are very committed to making an impact in this area.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) has helped to push this diversity initiative
(especially in the life sciences) through their funding guidelines. Dean McBride
outlined several initiatives underway to broaden the recruitment portfolio:
1. Building partnerships with minority serving institutions through fall
visits and hosting luncheons with opportunities for students to meet
with faculty, tour the facilities, and talk with current students.
2. Providing guidance during the admission and review process so that
students’ potential is analyzed versus solely their proven ability.
3. Growing the Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP) that has
proven to attract a high percentage of diverse students.
4. Building a better sense of community for diverse students.
Overall, Dean McBride stressed that it is up to each of us to hold each other
responsible for these ideals and encourages sharing of best practices throughout the
~Summary written by Cathy Barrera
AHEAD@NU can be reached by email at AHEAD@northwestern.edu. All emails are confidential.