Preparing Underrepresented Students of Color for Doctoral Success: The Role of Undergraduate Institutions
International Journal of Doctoral Studies
Since the late 1980s, there has been a significant increase in the number of doctoral degrees conferred upon underrepresented minority (URM) students. However, White students still account for the vast majority -approximately 80 percent -of all doctoral degrees conferred in the United States. As education stakeholders seek to diversify the professoriate, an updated examination of the baccalaureate origins of successful URM students is warranted to improve our understanding of where they are
... where they are best prepared for doctoral degree programs. We used data from the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) to identify the baccalaureate origins of African American, Latina/o, and Asian/Pacific Islander students who received doctoral degrees between 1995 and 2005, distinguishing the top ten producing institutions for each racial/ethnic group. Using extant research, we then identified and examined institutional characteristics of those top ten producers. Findings both confirm and build upon past research showing that institutional characteristics such as sector, racial/ethnic composition, selectivity, and geographic location matter in terms of producing successful URM doctoral students. The implications of the findings are discussed and suggestions for future research are presented for institutions that wish to recruit and retain URM students to their doctoral degree programs.