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:
We make use of numerous direct contacts in our outreach efforts. In addition to responding to your requests for information, our office reaches 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 an email from us. We hope that our initial contact encourages you to look more deeply at us and our learning community.
We invite a select group of administrators from McNair Scholars and Honors colleges/programs as well as faculty and staff members from Minority Serving Institutions (Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Tribal Colleges), and Women's Colleges to an all-expenses paid campus visit to get a better sense of what Vanderbilt offers with respect to graduate education and summer research opportunities. During these visits, participants meet with our faculty, deans, program administrators, and graduate students who are integral to the success of our efforts.
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, Women's Colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, Tribal Colleges, and majority institutions 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.
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 visitation 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.