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Examining the Role of Graduate Colleges in Advancing Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at Public Universities


Dec 01, 2020


Jun 30, 2023
Funding Agency
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and the Spencer Foundation

This Spencer Foundation funded project examines graduate colleges’ efforts to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) at public and predominantly White institutions (PPWIs) in Michigan, a state where legislation prohibits affirmative action.


Prior research consistently demonstrates that many academic departments do not discuss EDI or provide affirming learning environments for students who are underrepresented within their respective disciplines and fields (e.g., racially minoritized students, women in STEM, students with disabilities). Emerging research suggests graduate colleges at PPWIs may play a vital role in supporting students’ learning related to EDI and in fostering inclusive environments. However, little is known about how public policy contexts promote or constrain graduate colleges’ efforts to advance EDI at PPWIs, despite evidence that affirmative action policies help sustain hostile campus climates that heighten the need for graduate colleges to support minoritized students.

In this comparative case study, the research team will engage in document analysis, interviews and focus groups with graduate college staff members and students involved with diversity efforts, and observations of graduate college programs, trainings, and meetings. The project’s aim is to illuminate how graduate colleges respond to public policies that constrain efforts to increase access and promote success among minoritized graduate students. Perez will serve as Co-PI and will work alongside Dr. Claire Robbins (PI, Virginia Tech) to collect and analyze data and to disseminate findings.

Primary Investigator(s)

Associate Professor, Marsal Family School of Education

More Awards

Award Start Date
Sep 15, 2018
Award End Date
Aug 31, 2024
Award Start Date
Aug 01, 2018
Award End Date
Jul 31, 2024