Increasing equitable access to graduate education through competitive hiring in the life sciences
Carroll, Kathleen A.
Lance, Michael J.
Smithers, Brian V.
Debinski, Diane M.
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Many professions necessitate a graduate-level education, and research conducted by graduate students is integral in many fields, particularly those in the life science programs like ecology and environmental sciences. However, practices for recruiting and selecting graduate students are inconsistent among and within institutions. Although some institutions, departments, or faculty members hire graduate students through open and competitive graduate student hiring processes, graduates are frequently selected through inconsistent processes that limit the pool of applicants and do not maximize the potential for increasing workforce diversity. Here, we review and evaluate six approaches to graduate recruitment processes common in ecology and environmental science degree programs in the US to determine which approaches, or combinations of approaches, could increase equity in career development opportunities, promote workforce diversity, and provide clear justifications to funding bodies. We compiled our list of recruitment methods through informal interviews with recruiters, administrators, faculty, and graduate students in ecology, natural resources, and environmental sciences. We determined that three of the six approaches examined were most effective in supporting equitable graduate student hiring practices, and three were not. While life science fields were the primary focus of this review, our approach to evaluating graduate recruitment methods is widely applicable across disciplines where graduate students conduct research.
Carroll, K. A., Lance, M. J., Smithers, B. V., & Debinski, D. M.(2023). Increasing equitable access to graduate education through competitivehiring in the life sciences.New Directions for Higher Education,2023,21–31.https://doi.org/10.1002/he.20472