The MRRC currently focuses on three main areas of work.
- Climate and Retention: MRRC works to address issues related to the social climate of the program, and as a result, to improve the retention (and graduation) of underrepresented students of color. This goal has led us to focus on the program’s organizational structure, and the development of social supports. On-going activities and events include: a Solidarity group whose members gather regularly to share experiences, coping strategies, and to offer emotional support; a faculty-student mentoring program that provides students with additional perspectives and support outside of their advisors; and group graduation celebrations for Solidarity members receiving their PhD.
- Student Recruitment: MRRC works to recruit underrepresented students of color to the department. One aspect of our work is to encourage more underrepresented students to apply. To do this, we reach out to undergraduate sociology departments and recruit at key conferences. We also strive to maintain contact with underrepresented students of color at each stage of the admissions process by providing personalized support as prospective students prepare their application, consider joining our department, and make their final decision. Our goal during admissions season is to ensure that underrepresented students are able to make an informed decision about graduate study in our department. As part of this work, we help organize Visit Day and also introduce prospective students to the larger community of current graduate students.
- Faculty Recruitment and Retention: MRRC works to identify current faculty and candidates of color, identify resources to augment targeted faculty searches, and seek out support for current Faculty of Color in Sociology. Through our annual Town Hall Meeting and other communications with the Sociology departments, we provide data-driven reports on the departments’ progress on recruitment and retention of minority faculty and set goals towards improving the diversity of the faculty and the climate for Faculty of Color.
Other Activities and Accomplishments
- Annual Town-Hall Meeting: The main objectives of the Town Hall meeting are to assess our program’s progress regarding diversity issues and to provide a forum for faculty, staff, and students to gain a better understanding of the experiences of minority students in our department.
- Data Collection and Reporting: A small group of MRRC members collects and reports data related to MRRC climate, recruitment, and retention activities on an as-needed basis.
- Sociology Student Lounge: In 2008, the MRRC initiated efforts to establish a place for students, faculty and staff to come together.The Sociology Lounge is located on the 4th floor in Social Sciences (room #4315). The purpose of the lounge is to provide a space to break down barriers between and among the aforementioned groups and promote social connection among Sociology program members, which benefits all members of our program.
- Statistics Tutor: MRRC helps to fund a statistics tutor to help all students in the department succeed in the required statistics sequence courses.
- Guest Speakers: MRRC helps to pay for scholars of color to travel to the department to present on their academic work that is of interest to the department.