Writing, Reading, and Soliciting Letters of Rec for Equity
Inclusive Graduate Education
CURRENT PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES
March 10, 2020 - Better Letters: Writing, Reading, and Soliciting Letters of Recommendation for Equity
Location: Colony Ballroom (Stamp Union 2203) Time: 2:00 - 4:00 P.M. (Parking information for Union Lane Garage.)
Contact: Anna De Cheke Qualls, email@example.com
(Free event/RSVP not required)
Letters of recommendation are used in admissions and hiring to glean information and qualities which may go unnoticed in the review of an applicant’s file. However, they are also one of the most common places that bias is written into applicant records-- sometimes in subtle ways. Toward the goal of equity-minded evaluation, this workshop 1) reviews key research studies on bias in letters of recommendation, 2) enables participants to recognize gender and racial biases in existing letters, and 3) provides practice in writing better letters. Activities are specifically designed to help attendees develop knowledge, skills, and language to manage common equity dilemmas inherent in how we solicit, write, and review letters.
Co-presenter: Julie R. Posselt, Director, Inclusive Graduate Education Network Research Hub and Director, California Consortium for Inclusive Doctoral Education
Co-presenter: Román Liera, Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Pullias Center for Higher Education at the USC Rossier School of Education
Event sponsored by: the Inclusive Graduate Education Faculty Working Group, the College of Arts and Humanities, the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, the Astronomy Department, the School of Public Health, the School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation, the Graduate School, and the Office of Faculty Affairs.
INCLUSIVE GRADUATE EDUCATION WORKING GROUP
Consistent with our mission, the University of Maryland's Graduate School counts its diversity as one of its greatest strengths, and as an institution, we are committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion.
In 2015, through collaboration with a handful of Directors of Graduate Study, the Holistic Review Faculty Working Group (HRWG) was initiated. Through this network, resources across the campus started to be shared with respect to holistic review, inclusive graduate program practices and mentoring. In subsequent years, the HRWG sponsored the visit of Drs. Keivan Stassun, William Sedlacek, and Kimberly Griffin.
In 2017, holistic review training was provided for 33 campus faculty and other graduate program stakeholders with Drs. Julie Posselt and Casey Miller. In 2018, the East Coast Holistic Review Institute was held on campus, once again with Drs. Posselt and Miller. Over 70 people attended the morning plenary from all over the United States, followed by 33 faculty members for the hands-on afternoon training.
In the spring of 2019, the group offered a campus-wide seminar on Holistic Review: Graduate Programs Share Best Practices. The 2-hour program included presentations by Astronomy’s Dr. Stuart Vogel, English’s Dr. Kellie Robertson and Computer Science’s PhD student Candice Schumann, who discussed AI applications of inclusion/diversity in graduate admissions.
In addition to offering professional development to the graduate campus, in 2018 the HRWG proposed and implemented an additional academic section in the online application to better understand an applicant's non-cognitive skills. This section has been widely used by graduate programs as part of their admissions processes. In the winter of 2019, the group initiated a proposal to modify the prompts for the Statement of Purpose and the Letter of Recommendation form in the graduate application.
In the fall of 2019, the HRWG was renamed the Inclusive Graduate Education Faculty Working Group (IGEFWG). Members span across the graduate enterprise, and represent both master's and PhD programs. The Graduate School's representative to this working was also selected to participate in the NSF INCLUDES' Inclusive Graduate Education Network (IGEN) Holistic Review Trainer Program in October 2019 with Drs. Julie Posselt and Casey Miller.
Anyone interested in joining the group can contact Anna De Cheke Qualls (firstname.lastname@example.org).