Minority enrollment up at MSU; progress made on diversity goals

Contact: Paulette Granberry Russell, Affirmative Action Compliance and Monitoring, (517) 353-3922, or Tom Oswald, University Relations, (517) 355-2281 or oswald@msu.edu

Apr 11, 2003

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Minority student enrollment at Michigan State University is up 3.6 percent from one year ago, including a "historic" high in the number of minority freshmen, the university's chief affirmative action officer reported today.

The enrollment figures, as well as the university's progress toward increased workforce diversity, were outlined in the 2001-02 annual Progress Report on Affirmative Action and Diversity Within Community, which was presented to the MSU Board of Trustees at today's meeting.

"Our continued progress is a direct result of the efforts of campus units and individuals committed to the principle that MSU's core mission includes assuring equal access to educational and employment opportunities," said Paulette Granberry Russell, director of the Office for Affirmative Action Compliance and Monitoring, and senior adviser to the president on diversity issues.

The 2001-02 report details programmatic efforts to achieve and support campus diversity, as well as looks at the representation of the diverse groups within the campus population. Among the conclusions of the report:

Total domestic minority enrollment increased 3.6 percent from a year ago. The 7,389 African American, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian students represent 16.4 percent of the total MSU student population.

The number of women students increased by 332 from a year ago. Women represent about 54 percent of the student population.

For the third consecutive year, the total enrollment of minority freshmen increased to a historic high. Minority freshmen represented about 22 percent of the freshman class.

Among MSU's colleges, the College of Human Medicine had the highest proportion of minority students with 32 percent. The College of Social Science had the highest number of minority students - 1,143 of its 5,448 students.

Women comprise 39.6 percent of the academic personnel workforce, up from last year's 39.2 percent. Minorities represent 18.3 percent of the academic personnel workforce, up from 17.9 percent a year ago.

Among MSU support staff, the numbers of minorities and women increased slightly from a year ago. Granberry Russell said that while she is pleased with the gains made, there is always room for improvement. Specifically, she said the university must focus on programs that not only provide short-term gains, but also improve retention rates of minorities and women within the university.

Efforts and activities over the past year have included a variety of pre-college initiatives, including a College of Natural Science summer enrichment program in math, science and writing for underrepresented middle and high school students; the College of Education's Young Educators' Society, which hosts campus visits for urban middle and high school students; and the College of Osteopathic Medicine's "OsteoCHAMPS," a program that works with Michigan high schools to encourage minority students to consider careers in the health care field.

In addition, Granberry Russell said the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, resulted in a university-wide collaboration that led to the development of curriculum changes designed to increase understanding of the Middle East and people from that region who live and work on the MSU campus.

"While we continue to recognize the need to improve our recruitment and retention of women faculty and staff, students of color, and students from diverse communities and backgrounds," Granberry Russell said, "we also recognize and support programs that already exist, making refinements to those programs to ensure we address the evolving needs of the community and work toward an increasingly diverse MSU."

For additional information on the Office for Affirmative Action Compliance and Monitoring, visit the Web at www.msu.edu/~aacm/