May 25, 2006

Prospective graduate students visit SIUC

by Sun Min

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Educators are working to enhance diversity in the political science department at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

As part of a new recruitment initiative, minority college students from Dillard University, Mississippi University, Southern University at New Orleans and the University of Mississippi earlier this week visited the SIUC campus and met with administrators to learn about SIUC's graduate program in political science.

"I understand the importance of graduate school education, especially for minorities," said Randolph Burnside, director of the program and assistant professor of political science. "A lot of them are left out of the loop when it comes to graduate school opportunities. I always said if I were ever given the chance, I would assist other minorities as I was assisted."

Earlier this year, Burnside traveled to several historically black universities to spread the word about SIUC's recruitment efforts. Funding for the program comes from SIUC Chancellor Walter V. Wendler's Reflective, Responsive University Initiative. Seymour Bryson, associate chancellor of diversity, coordinates the grants.

Burnside hopes to expand his recruitment program to include more students and more schools. Burnside's goal is to set up networks with individuals at historically black universities and Hispanic-serving institutions and to increase the political science department's minority graduate student enrollment.

"I hope that we're able to diversify our graduate student population in the department because I think that will be beneficial to other graduate students and the entire university as a whole. SIUC has a tradition of catering to underserved communities and we hope to carry on that tradition."

Maintaining a diverse student body is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.