For my Graduate Leadership Fellow project, I worked with a network of instructors across multiple institutions to draft an article on crating more equitable graduate admissions in the biological sciences. I gave a current graduate student’s perspective in a team of primarily faculty members. We drafted a proposal for the article for submission to the American Naturalist’s call for special section papers on Nature, Data, and Power. This proposal pulled together existing literature on equitable admissions, as well as expertise from faculty working across public, regional, and private institutions, from R1 to primarily teaching. The focus of our article is to create a guide for use here at Michigan State University and other biological science departments to assesss and revise their own admissions process.
Because our work is collaborative and multi-institutional, it has been slow-going. This article is still undergoing the proposal and drafting process after rejection from AmNat’s special section. We are currently seeking a home for the proposal and the article itself as we continue to work towards crafting this important guide.
If someone were to continue this work in the future, it would be important to work together across the different departments in the university to discover which departments are open and interested in revising their admissions process in an evidence-based fashion. Because the article focuses on biological sciences broadly, and MSU’s biological sciences departments are rather siloed, this project would require advocates in multiple departments to collaborate and unify goals.
As someone interested in equity and in serving in a teaching and advising role to undergraduate students at regional universities, this project was important for developing my understanding of the current state of graduate admissions as well as where the conversation around admissions is headed. I hope that I can use the collaborative skills and the knowledge gained from working with faculty and administration in order to better guide my future mentees towards their own goals, inside or outside the institution of academia.