Among the many ambitious goals set in Brown University’s 2016 Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion action plan was the plan to double the number of graduate students from historically underrepresented groups (HUGs) by 2022. Not only would achieving that goal benefit the Brown campus — with a greater diversity of perspectives central to excellence in teaching, research and more — but it would contribute to building a pipeline of potential leaders in higher education and the public and private sectors as well. This fall, as the largest-ever cohort of students from HUGs enters the Graduate School — representing 12 percent of the incoming class — the University has taken a significant step toward meeting the action plan’s goal and, even more importantly, contributing to a more diverse world beyond Brown.
Compared with 2015, the year preceding the launch of the diversity and inclusion action plan, the number of first-year graduate students who identify as belonging to a HUG increased by 38 percent. For Ph.D. programs, the number increased by 65 percent. This year, there are a total of 254 graduate students from HUGs working toward degrees in the Graduate School; there were 204 in 2015.
Andrew Campbell, dean of the Graduate School, calls the arrival of the incoming 2017-18 graduate cohort a milestone moment.
“This work is important to Brown and bigger than Brown,” Campbell said. “Graduate students are scientists in training who will conceive of life-saving drugs. They are engineers and designers who will turn ideas into on-the-ground solutions. They are humanists who will help us understand ourselves. In diversifying our Graduate School student body, we are turning a sharper and more relevant eye to the challenges that society faces. That’s what true diversity does.”
Read more of O'rya Hyde-Keller's article on Graduate School's most diverse class.