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"Emerging Scholars Initiative" to Increase Student Diversity

January 25, 2016

As set forth in the Faculty Diversity Initiative announced on November 3, 2015 by President Peter Salovey and Provost Ben Polak, Yale must expand and develop the pool of young scholars who will contribute to the excellence and diversity of future generations of faculty.

Yale currently sponsors a number of ‘ pipeline programs’  that help our students and alumni transition into graduate programs and into the academy, including the Edward A. Bouchet Fellowship, the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program, and the James and Mary Pinchot Fellowship at the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. However we can and must do more,” says Michelle Nearon, associate dean for graduate student development and diversity.

Following through on this commitment is the new “Emerging Scholars Initiative,” a partnership between the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the Office of the Provost that will focus on fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive graduate student community campus wide.

All “emerging scholars” must exhibit outstanding academic promise and achievement and meet at least one of the following criteria: 

• they come from backgrounds that have been underrepresented in their chosen fields of study, including historically underrepresented minority students, first-generation college graduates, students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, or women in some STEM fields;

• they plan to pursue research related to issues of diversity and identity, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, religion, sexual orientation, and ability;

• they have previously been or are currently involved in diversity-related initiatives by volunteering for community service or outreach on their undergraduate campus.

The initiative has three parts: supplemental funding for incoming PhD graduate students, research awards for current PhD students, and post-baccalaureate research experiences for prospective graduate students.

Supplemental funding: Beginning in the fall of 2016, fifteen new Dean’ s Emerging Scholars Fellowships per year will be offered to incoming PhD graduate students across all schools. These grants of $3,000 will be in addition to standard departmental stipends. Students selected for this fellowship will also receive a one-time restricted research grant of $2,000 to be administered by their department or program. Recipients will be selected after admission decisions have been made by the Graduate School, but before offers of admission are sent out to applicants. Departments and programs may recommend recipients, but final decisions will be made by a committee comprised of the Dean of the GSAS, the Academic Deans, and the Associate Dean for Graduate Student Development and Diversity. 

Research awards: Ten new competitive Dean’ s Emerging Scholars Research Awards per year will be provided to currently-matriculated PhD students. These one-time awards will help cover conference and/or field work expenses and will be administered by departments and programs. The application form and additional details will be forthcoming and will go into effect beginning in the fall of 2016.

Post-baccalaureate training: Six one-year post-baccalaureate opportunities per year will be available for prospective PhD students across the divisions. The program, beginning in July 2016, builds on Yale’ s well-established NIH-funded post-baccalaureate program in the biological and biomedical sciences. The post-baccalaureate program will provide participants with a foundation of knowledge and skills necessary for success in graduate school. Participants will take courses, conduct research, and receive mentoring alongside first-year Yale PhD students under the supervision of faculty mentors. Additionally, they will pursue a curriculum that may include graduate school and career workshops, research literature seminars, a journal club, and GRE preparation. The application and additional details will be forthcoming.