Vanderbilt University's Office for Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education (VU-EDGE) is charged with providing leadership in the identification and recruitment of talented Ph.D. students from underrepresented groups. Specifically, this means African-American, Hispanic, and Native American students across all fields, women in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields and some students whose background is classified as being both first-generation and low-income.
VU-EDGE coordinates a comprehensive and far-reaching recruitment program that breaks down into four different categories:
Direct Student Contact
A very simple concept, but one often overlooked by universities is the use of numerous direct contacts. In addition to responding to your requests for information, our office is proactive in reaching out to students to make sure their questions are answered. We, like many of our peers, receive recommendations of students that we should contact so you might actually get a letter or an email from us. We hope that initial contact encourages you to look more deeply at us and our learning community.
Publications & Public Relations
- We mail brochures, calendars, and flyers to prospective students and to our peers at other institutions.
- We invite a select group of coordinators from McNair Scholars and Honors colleges/programs to visit campus (on us) so that they can get a better sense of what our programs offer the students they advise. We also invite a select group of science faculty from Historically Black, Hispanic Serving, and Women's Colleges to meet with our science faculty, deans, and graduate students during a weekend, all-expenses paid visit to campus.
- Our Bridge programs in the Physics/Astronomy and the Biomedical Research departments join Vanderbilt to seven universities (Fisk University, Tennessee State University, Barry University, Clark Atlanta University, Florida A&M University, Tuskegee University, and the University of Puerto Rico) enabling us to help students at these masters-granting universities pursue their dreams of receiving a Ph.D.
Field recruitment is a powerful tool in recruiting underrepresented students to Vanderbilt. We also use this time on the road to do research about your colleges/universities and to make contacts with new agencies and schools. Each year members of the Vanderbilt community travel to National Conferences (e.g., SACNAS, McNair Scholars), Women's Colleges (e.g., Smith College, Haverford College), Historically Black Colleges and Universities (e.g., Hampton University, Spelman College), Hispanic Serving Institutions (e.g., University of Puerto Rico, University of Miami), Tribal Colleges, and even Black and Latino Churches to meet students who might be interested in considering doctoral study at Vanderbilt. If you'd like to know where we are this year, you can look at our travel schedule.
"Closer Look" Campus Visits
When asked which are the most effective of all strategies that colleges use, students overwhelmingly say that visiting the college campus was most important. We offer visit opportunities at all three stages of the recruitment process: rising senior recruitment, applicant recruitment, and during our efforts to encourage admitted students to accept our offers.