University of New Hampshire Plans to Improve Diversity

University of New Hampshire Plans to Improve Diversity

DURHAM, N.H.

The University of New Hampshire wants to add some diversity to its student body. With a student population that’s 95 percent White, the school recently ranked 11th in a Princeton Review college guide that measured student body homogeneity nationwide.

Saint Anselm College in Manchester ranked No. 5.

This year, UNH officials say they’ve adopted a plan to bring more Black, Hispanic and American Indian students and teachers to the campus over the next five years.

“We’re being proactive,” said Wanda Mitchell, the vice provost for diversity. “We’re not saying ‘We’re New Hampshire and this is the way it is.'”

The plan focuses on recruiting minority faculty and students to the school — and keeping them there.

It calls for the university to offer incentives to administrators who bring in diverse faculty and to set up mentoring programs for the recruits.

The same goes for students. Recruiters should go to inner-city high schools and set up summer programs for teenage minority students to make them familiar with UNH, according to the plan.

“Then, UNH is not a strange land,” Mitchell said. “We need to get the information out to a broader community so students of color know it’s an option.”

It also says the university should push to attract female professors to teach in historically male-dominated fields, such as science and math.

Mitchell said a task force identified these areas as needing improvement.

The university also plans to pursue grants to pay for diversity programming and will encourage professors to develop first-year courses on diversity issues. The plan recommends the university develop better relationships with organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

In addition, the university wants to strengthen partnerships with traditionally Black or American Indian colleges to give UNH students opportunities to study there for a semester.

Efforts like this are necessary because UNH graduates will be competing for jobs with students from diverse populations, something employers may look for, Mitchell said.

Associated Press



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