In April 2021, the Advisory Committee on Student Admissions and Recruitment, appointed by President Thomas F. Rosenbaum, advanced a set of 11 recommendations to help the Institute recruit and holistically support a more diverse group of graduate students, particularly those from racially minoritized communities.
Committee members concluded that improving diversity in recruitment and admissions must be a continuous and evolving process, informed by feedback as well as data-driven analysis. The committee's recommendations fell in four broad areas—recruitment and outreach; admissions procedures; Caltech culture and student quality of life; and communications—and incorporated both near-term strategies as well as changes that will require longer-term investment and effort.
Rosenbaum constituted the Advisory Committee on Student Admissions and Recruitment in September 2020 to examine how Caltech could bolster efforts to identify and attract talented and promising candidates from every background.
The committee was asked to focus on graduate admissions, including the challenges and opportunities associated with decentralized processes, and to identify practices that would help accelerate and sustain the Institute's goal of recruiting a more diverse graduate student body.
Tim Colonius, Frank and Ora Lee Marble Professor of Mechanical Engineering, chaired the committee. Joining Colonius on the committee were: Michael Alvarez, professor of political and computational social science; Bil Clemons, professor of biochemistry; Bethany Ehlmann, professor of planetary science and assistant director of the Keck Institute for Space Studies; Katalin Fejes Toth, research professor of biology and biological engineering; Matilde Marcolli, Robert F. Christy Professor of Mathematics and Computing and Mathematical Sciences; David Chan, professor of biology and dean of graduate studies; Jennifer Blankenship, options manager for the Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science; Natalie Gilmore, assistant dean of graduate studies; Jarrid Whitney, assistant vice president for student affairs, enrollment, and career services; Daniel Mukasa, graduate student in materials science; Newton Nguyen, graduate student in environmental science and engineering; and Diego Olaya (BS '23), undergraduate in physics. Jennifer Torres, from the Office of Strategic Communications, staffed the committee.
Following four informal agenda-setting meetings, the committee convened for nine formal meetings between November 2020 and February 2021. During this time, the committee consulted with Caltech faculty, students, and staff, as well as colleagues at peer institutions, and examined documents and other records addressing demographic data on graduate student applicants and matriculants; the graduate admissions process and how it varies across divisions and options; examples of best or promising practices; and approaches employed to support diversity and inclusion in undergraduate admissions.
Based on its discussions, the committee then developed, refined, and prioritized action items to arrive at a final set of recommendations.