Hispanics and other students of color in the engineering department are also helped to feel welcomed into the department and the greater MSU community with a program underwritten by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation that helps students with housing and other concerns.
Of course, while open arms and wide smiles are fundamental to the success of populations that traditionally have been underrepresented in critical education areas, a commitment to academic excellence and a pathway to employment after graduation matter to all students. Our top schools shine here, too.
The University of Texas at Austin's engineering program boasts world-renowned faculty and research facilities, in addition to a career assistance center where students post resumes and companies do the searching based on key words contained in the student's information. Other universities are instituting similar centers.
"We also have a number of programs for minority students to make them feel welcome in this large environment," says Cindy Brown, assistant dean for business affairs in the College of Engineering.
The Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley has a unique program that began in 2003, the Center of Responsible Business. It seeks to integrate "social corporate responsibility" into the business program and the subsequent practices of its graduates, or, as the school puts it, "a new generation of business leaders."
"We have a reputation of activism and a reputation of giving back to the community," says Jhett Pihakis, MBA program admissions director. "We are among the smallest of the top-ranked programs in the country, and our community is tight-knit and collaborative. Our commitment to diversity is also a very important part of our program."
At Berkeley, the focus isn't just top-down. Students are also active participants in business diversity, each year sponsoring a Diversity in Business conference, which brings academics and business leaders from around the nation to talk about "best practices" for successful businesses in a diverse community, such as leading and managing diverse communities, and entrepreneurship and diversity. This year's conference will be held in October. (For more information, visit http://diversity.haas.berkeley.edu/conference/.)
Diversity extends to the geography of business, a key attribute for students interested in reaching out to both the Hispanic world and to booming markets in China or India. Berkeley's master's in business administration program offers a certificate in Global Management, and our top-ranked business school for Hispanic students, Stanford University, offers a similar certificate. "As a business school, our small size also offers a personalized approach and greater attention," says Eric Abrams, director of diversity initiatives at Stanford's business school. The school also offers a specialty in entrepreneurship.
An analogous program is offered at the nationally ranked Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, number three on the list of top business schools for Hispanics. The Allwin Initiative for Corporate Citizenship at the business school highlights case studies in community development, affordable housing, and social service, among others.
Getting a student into school is only half the battle, and our top schools also do what it takes to ensure that when they leave the campus, it's with a diploma in hand. In that respect, in the list that follows it's helpful to look not only at the enrollment by Hispanics in any given program, but also how that percentage compares to the percentage of eventual graduates with advanced degrees.
At the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine, for example, while 16 percent of its enrollment is Hispanic, an impressive 23 percent of its M.D. degrees are earned by that population – a retention success story that reflects on its self-described mission to instill "cultural competence" in its students.
At Michigan State, Ms. O'Kelly says that the MSU graduate-engineering program has a very high retention rate. "Ninety percent of minority graduate students in engineering get their degrees."
Noting that the industry has observed an "alarming" shortage of engineers, particularly Hispanics, she pleaded: "We need you. We need you as country, as a society."
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