The Association of American Geographers presents: Broadening the participation of under-represented minorities in higher education by visualizing a geographic approach to access.
To remain competitive in a global environment, we need the full intellectual participation of an increasingly diverse country. Unfortunately, our URMs continue to struggle with access to higher education.
That’s because, traditionally, we think of higher education recruitment as a linear “pipeline” or “pathway” for students. Instead, WE think of it as a rich landscape that understands where students are coming from and where they aim to go.
This means that we need a better understanding of spatial behavior? We also need place-based context to understand how campuses can give a different sense of ‘place’ to different students. And we need to develop collaborative and articulated regional strategies for better positioning of learning institutions.
Mapping technologies is one of the ways we can accomplish this. By visualizing spatial data, we can see old problems in new ways and discover innovative solutions.
Geography departments using this approach saw female student participation grow by 6% and URM participation by 15%! And departments with diversity plans to recruit URMs had an average graduate student population of 20% URM.
Engaging students in this intellectual activity also catapults them into job opportunities for a rapidly growing field: The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts nearly 30% growth for geographers by 2022. Money Magazine named geographic information system analysts among their top 100 best jobs in America, and recent studies find geography graduates are paid above average and have lower than average unemployment rates.
In order to engage and support URMs to pursue higher education and fully participate in the workforce of the future, we need a deeper understanding of the “where” that informs policymaking about federal and state funding for students and universities.
To learn more, visit us at aag.org/diversity.