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Ensure Access and Inclusion

This theme lies at the heart of Fordham’s mission as a Jesuit institution of higher learning, and requires seeing beyond our certainties to ensure that humanities departments and programs embrace progressivism, promote a greater social justice in word and in deed, and empower their students, faculty, and communities. A new humanities Ph.D. model must address the concerns and requirements of students from underrepresented, underserved, and marginalized communities. Current Survey of Earned Doctorates data tells us, for example, that the percentage of first-generation college students (traditionally hailing from underrepresented and minority communities) who go on to complete Ph.D.s has fallen from two-thirds in 1963 to one-third in 2014. Coupled with this worrisome trend, the prevailing structure of Ph.D. program admissions emphasizes narrow specialization and presumes one possible outcome: an academic career in the professoriate. Any attempt to include a variety of outcomes in a model Ph.D. program that also is accessible to these communities must center on recruitment and admissions.

  • How can we reimagine the role of recruitment and admissions as mutually reinforcing platforms to advance meaningfully the goals of attracting and retaining a diverse and inclusive student body and faculty?
  • In what ways can the application process itself be reconfigured to attract communities of Ph.D. applicants which are currently not being reached? How should humanities Ph.D. programs rethink the notion of a model applicant/student?
  • How can we develop new models of financial support that promote inclusion and advance the goals of reforming time to degree?
  • Are there modes of pre-Ph.D. mentoring and preparation that can be designed to serve potential applicants from our community in becoming successful humanities Ph.D. program applicants (both here at Fordham and possibly elsewhere)?

Resources for “Ensure Access and Inclusion” Meeting


Posselt, Julie R. Inside Graduate Admissions: Merit, Diversity, and Faculty Gatekeeping. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015.

Articles/Book Chapters

Cassuto, Leonard. “Admissions.” In The Graduate School Mess: What Caused It and How We Can Fix It. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015. 17-56.

Cassuto, Leonard and Julie R. Posselt. “Inside the Graduate-Admissions Process: A Study Finds the Pervasive Misuse of Test Scores and Too Much Homophily.” Chronicle of Higher Education, January 31, 2016.

Davidson, Martin N. and Lynn Foster-Johnson. “Mentoring in the Preparation of Graduate Researchers of Color.” Review of Educational Research 71, no. 4 (2001): 549-74.

Flaherty, Colleen. “Feeling Isolated and Excluded.” Chronicle of Higher Education, October 20, 2016

López, Marissa. “On Mentoring First Generation and Graduate Students of Color.” Race and Ethnicity: The Site of the Committee on the Literature of People of Color in the United States and Canada.

Mason, Mary Ann, Nicholas H. Wolfinger, and Marc Goulden. “The Graduate School Years: New Demographics, Old Thinking.” Do Babies Matter? Gender and Family in the Ivory Tower. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2013. 8-26.

Smith, Sidonie. “Diversifying the Humanities.” In Manifesto for the Humanities. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2015. 165-9.


Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. “2016 GPSS Report on Race, Diversity and Inclusion.” Yale University Graduate and Professional Student Senate, 2016

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan.” Rackham Graduate School, University of Michigan. See especially the sections on “Key Findings, Themes and Recommendations” and “Selected Examples of Rackham DE&I Programs, Initiatives, and Resources.”

Task Force on Inclusion and Diversity. “Report to APA Board of Officers for the November 2014 Meeting.” American Philosophical Association, 2014.

Yale Graduate and Professional Senate Releases Report on a Survey of Students’ Experience with Bias.” Yale News, October 17, 2016. Provides a little infographic summing up some of the findings of the report.