Event Title

Recruitment and Retention of Historically Underrepresented Students: UWM’s Experience

Mentor 1

Chia Youyee Vang

Start Date

16-4-2021 12:00 AM

Description

Barriers to academic success for historically underrepresented students are welldocumented in the literature. Critical factors that get in the way of their academic success include financial barriers, lack of college readiness, and lack of a sense of belonging. Other studies found that culturally relevant educational programming along with mentorship from senior colleagues who are from similar backgrounds and financial assistance positively contribute to the success of these student populations. This study explores the extent to which the experiences of UWM students and alumni are similar to or different from experiences identified in existing literature. Rather than conducting a study that centered on problems, this study took an asset-based approach by paying greater attention to what works with the hope that the findings can inform programs and initiatives. Based on interviews with 33 current UWM students and 33 alumni (20 Black/African American, 16 Southeast Asian American, 15 American Indian,15 Latinx/o/a American), factors that contributed to the recruitment, retention and graduation of students from historically underrepresented populations examined. The overwhelming majority of interviewees attended UWM because it is “close to home”. Previous exposure to UWM, either through pre-college programs or family members, positively impacted their decision. It was, however, striking that most could not identify specific actions that UWM took to influence their decision. Once matriculated, interviewees attributed their success to a broad range of academic and support services (relationship with specific faculty and staff members and peers). Interestingly, many highlighted their own perseverance as critical to their success because they were not going to college merely for themselves. Since many were first-generation students, they wanted to succeed for their family and community. In order for UWM to be competitive in attracting students, an overwhelming majority expressed the need for the university to have a meaningful presence in their respective communities.

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Apr 16th, 12:00 AM

Recruitment and Retention of Historically Underrepresented Students: UWM’s Experience

Barriers to academic success for historically underrepresented students are welldocumented in the literature. Critical factors that get in the way of their academic success include financial barriers, lack of college readiness, and lack of a sense of belonging. Other studies found that culturally relevant educational programming along with mentorship from senior colleagues who are from similar backgrounds and financial assistance positively contribute to the success of these student populations. This study explores the extent to which the experiences of UWM students and alumni are similar to or different from experiences identified in existing literature. Rather than conducting a study that centered on problems, this study took an asset-based approach by paying greater attention to what works with the hope that the findings can inform programs and initiatives. Based on interviews with 33 current UWM students and 33 alumni (20 Black/African American, 16 Southeast Asian American, 15 American Indian,15 Latinx/o/a American), factors that contributed to the recruitment, retention and graduation of students from historically underrepresented populations examined. The overwhelming majority of interviewees attended UWM because it is “close to home”. Previous exposure to UWM, either through pre-college programs or family members, positively impacted their decision. It was, however, striking that most could not identify specific actions that UWM took to influence their decision. Once matriculated, interviewees attributed their success to a broad range of academic and support services (relationship with specific faculty and staff members and peers). Interestingly, many highlighted their own perseverance as critical to their success because they were not going to college merely for themselves. Since many were first-generation students, they wanted to succeed for their family and community. In order for UWM to be competitive in attracting students, an overwhelming majority expressed the need for the university to have a meaningful presence in their respective communities.