Outreach and Recruitment during COVID-19 for the 21-22 Academic Year

We at the Graduate Division understand that we will continue to encounter recruitment and outreach challenges in graduate education due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 and its various variants. It is more important than ever for DEPARTMENTS to have a very solid digital and online presence to showcase the great staff, graduate students, faculty, and research that UC Santa Barbara has to offer. 

Our 
Mission

 

The Graduate Division strives to improve diversity in graduate education though our outreach, recruitment and retention efforts. As a department, develop a shared vision for addressing the diversity values and beliefs of the program. This mission should be consistent with the campus overall mission as it applies to diversity of graduate education:

“Our academic community of faculty, students, and staff is characterized by a culture of interdisciplinary collaboration that is responsive to the needs of our multicultural and global society.”
-- UC Santa Barbara Mission Statement

“We are continually striving to maintain a diverse academic community through the recruitment and academic preparation of academically qualified students, and through the recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty and staff.”
– Chancellor Henry T. Yang

The Graduate Dean’s Advisory Board on Diversity was formed in 2016. The board is comprised of campus administrators, faculty, staff, and graduate diversity peers who are committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse graduate student population. The committee, in concert with the established Faculty Diversity Officers in each department, assist in the development of ongoing action plans for diversifying the graduate student population.

The Graduate Division’s Plan of Action for 2021-22

Due to the uncertainty COVID-19 pandemic, the Graduate Division will continue to be cautious and focus on virtual outreach events for the new academic year. Click through the topics below for a quick breakdown of the fall 2021 recruiting season.

Starting in September, the Graduate Division, with a collaboration with the Office of Public Affairs and Communications will release campaigns that will highlight our scholars in the following areas:

  • Humanities and Fine Arts
  • College of Engineering
  • Division of Social Sciences 
  • Division of Mathematical, Life and Physical Sciences
  • Gevirtz Graduate School of Education
  • Bren School of Environmental Science & Management

The campaign will allow the prospective scholars to engage with the campaign through a contact form providing us with critical data for our outreach efforts. We’re hoping to collaborate with departments to provide this data as well as create virtual programming for these prospective scholars.

This Fall, the Graduate Division will host several admissions and outreach presentations for a number of institutions and Undergraduate Research Programs across the country. Some of the Undergraduate Research Programs that we will work with include the following:

  • Ronald McNair Scholars
  • Mellon Mays Scholars
  • California State University Pre-Doctoral Scholars (Sally Casanova)
  • Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation
  • Hispanic Serving Institutions
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Click here to see the tentative schedule for fall 2021 admissions and outreach presentations

Departments may want to schedule informational sessions following out Admissions Open House session to take advantage of a captive audience. The Graduate Division would be more than happy to provide some guidance and promote your event through our website and mailing lists.

The Graduate Division plans to collaborate with its sister campuses to provide a comprehensive presentation on Graduate Studies within the UC System.

The Graduate Division will create a mailing campaign aimed at prospective scholars from Historically Black Colleges and Universities as well as Hispanic Serving Institutions.

Check the Graduate Division Graduate School Fairs and Conferences calendar for updated listings. We are concentrating on our virtual events and will continue to add conferences as they come across our desk.

Planning Your Department Outreach and Recruitment Efforts

The following outlines best practices in recruiting the most talented and brightest graduate students to UC Santa Barbara. While there is no single, standardized approach, these may be starting points for your department’s development and/or improvement in its recruitment efforts. Attention to diversity in these efforts ensures a welcoming climate for all students.

Remember, MOST OF THESE EVENTS WILL BE TAKING PLACE VIRTUALLY.

Conferences/Graduate School Fairs

Participate in Graduate School Fairs at other colleges and universities, as well as major Conferences that target a demographic of students interested in your respective department discipline. Examples include:

  • Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS)
  • American Psychological Association Annual Conference
  • American Sociological Association Annual Conference
  • California Diversity Forum in Graduate Education 
  • Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)
  • Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program Research Conference

Communication Plan

During this time, communication should be delivered through multiple channels (e.g., promotional online advertising, direct mail, zoom workshops, and multimedia presentations) and come from a variety of sources (e.g., faculty, admissions advisors, and current students).

Include photos of faculty and students working together and showcase the welcoming and inclusive environment of your department.

  • If possible include testimonials or stories from students or alumni, student and faculty accomplishments and awards, and demographics of program (i.e. % of students receiving funding, placements, time to degree, ethnicity, gender, etc.).
     
  • Include important links to campus resources, Graduate Division, student services, etc.
  • Include a departmental statement of support for diversity and equal opportunity in education.

Use social networking websites (Facebook, Twitter), Instant messenger (G-Chat, Yahoo), video conferencing (Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype) -- particularly for those who are unable to visit the campus.

Utilize our student online forums by submitting an article about your graduate program/activities or participating in the ongoing Day in the Life series chronicled on Graduate Division’s Instagram and Facebook pages.

  • Graduate Division’s Instagram Page: For more information about providing content for Graduate Division’s Instagram account or participating in the Day in the Life series, please contact Marge Perko, Director of Graduate Division Marketing and Communications.
     
  • Graduate Division’s Facebook Page: For more information about providing content for Graduate Division’s Facebook account, please contact contact Marge Perko, Director of Graduate Division Marketing and Communications.
     
  • The GradPost: For more information about submitting an article about your graduate program/activities, please contact Hannah Lawrence, Editor and Assistant Director of Graduate Professional Development.

Strategic Communication Plan

Based on Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University’s (Virginia Tech) recruitment plan, the Graduate Division has adopted a similar model and developed a strategic communication plan. We strongly encourage departments to develop a strategic communication plan that highlights all or part of the following:

Goal:
Contact applicant regularly (once a week; once every two weeks)

Department faculty

  • Email department highlights and information
  • Advisor calls student
  • Graduate student in lab calls/emails

Department staff 

  • Email financial letter
  • Call to help with financial letter
  • If additional recruitment money becomes available, set up campus visit 

Graduate Division Dean 

  • Email UCSB highlights and information

College of Engineering Dean/College of Letters and Science Dean 

  • Email UCSB highlights and information

Guest Lectures

Fund faculty and graduate students to participate in recruitment visits to other universities highlighted by a talk or symposium, and/or a presentation to a disciplinary student club/organization.

Identify and Develop Feeder Schools

Contact UC Santa Barbara alumni/current faculty, faculty colleagues, department chairs, and undergraduate research programs at other universities. Alumni who are now faculty can be persuasive advocates for your program. In turn, where UC Santa Barbara faculty and current graduate students attended undergraduate and graduate school can be another fruitful venue to revisit.

Professional Connections

Encourage faculty and graduate students to engage in recruitment activities such as hosting a reception when attending professional and academic meetings.

UCSB Graduate Division Information Session Department Open House

A virtual UCSB Graduate School Information Session and/or UCSB Department Open House will provide scholars with a broader understanding of the opportunities available through a graduate education at UC Santa Barbara. We encourage departments to utilize the Graduate Admissions and Outreach team and/or collaborate with other departments/colleges to facilitate campus visitations and activities. Activities may include application and funding workshops, campus and department virtual tours, and student panels, Here’s an example of how the Graduate Division and UCSB department can collaborate:

TIME EVENT
9:00 AM Log In – UCSB Video (2 Minutes)
9:00 – 9:15 Welcome by UCSB Graduate Admissions, Outreach and Diversity Team
9:15 – 9:45 Presentation of UC Santa Barbara Application Process, Q&A
9:45 – 10:00 Presentation from Graduate Diversity Peer
10:00 – 10:05 Farewell and Reminder about Department Information Sessions
10:05– 10:15

Break – Prepare for Department Information Session

 

TIME EVENT
10:15 – 10:30 AM Welcome by Department Chair/Introductions
10:30 – 10:45 Orientation to Department Graduate Program
10:45 – 10:50 Break
10:50-11:40 Orientation to UCSB Graduate Program’s application & funding process
10:40-11:10 Graduate Student Panel (Students Only)
11:10 – 11:15

Farewell

 

Strategic Partnering

Partner with specific faculty, in particular, at other UC and the California State University campuses. The CSU system graduates the largest number of underrepresented students in the state of California.

Yield‐Encouraging Acceptance of Admission Offers

Cultivate a relationship between the admitted student and your department. Emails and phone calls from faculty, current students, Graduate Program Assistants, and alumni play a critical role in the student’s choice of graduate programs.

Make sure to respond to a student within 24 hours of their contacting you and maintain a log of communication with each student so that others know what the student has been asking, learned about, etc.

  • Graduate Student Mentors: Offer current graduate students a stipend or part‐time paid position to work on outreaching to admitted students (phone calls, personal contact during visit) 
     
  • Alumni Mentors: Create an alumni advocacy program to assist on outreaching to prospective and admitted students.
     
  • The more personal and individual an interaction feels for a student the better. Introduce students to specific faculty, staff, students and alumni whose interests may intersect. Also make them aware of student organizations or activities that may be of interest to them. 
     
  • Inform and invite students to any lectures or programs of interest the department/campus may be holding during time when students are making their decisions. They may not be able to come, but it will give them an idea of the different opportunities available to them.
  • Departments really need to plan for an alternative to in-person campus visits. Plan virtual campus visits and involve current students and/or alumni in the planning and activities.
     
  • If possible, coordinate a newly admitted student weekend and create opportunities for faculty, staff, current students, and prospective students to interact. Remember that the Graduate Division’s peer advisors (located in the Graduate Student Resource Center), are pleased to meet with students upon request.
     
  • Offer a mix of social and academic activities. Formal panels are a great way for students to be introduced to an entire department, and virtual informal mixers. A virtual dinner or happy hour with current students allows prospective students to ask questions and learn things they might have otherwise not asked.

Evaluation of Admission Applications

Appoint an admissions committee that is representative of the diversity of your department or that has individuals who are interested in achieving diversity in your department.

  • Have a discussion about what characteristics the department is looking for in students.
    • What are the different indicators of success and/or what makes a student the right fit for the department?
    • In addition to grades and test scores, what other qualities are you looking for: research/ work experience, research/academic interests, leadership, overcoming adversity, and/or unique perspectives or skills?
  • Invite Walter Boggan, Director of Admissions and Outreach, to meetings concerning admissions and application evaluation practices.

Evaluation and Follow‐Up

Keep records of who attends what events, how many contacts are made, etc., so that you can use these to evaluate the process at the end. After the recruitment and admissions season is over, evaluate the process in order to begin planning for the next year.

  • Contact students who accepted and rejected offers of admission to UC Santa Barbara to ask why 
  • Evaluate effectiveness of different strategies
  • Hold meeting with faculty and staff involved to get their insights on the process
  • Talk with current students involved about what they thought did and did not work
  • Maintain contacts at other institutions that may be useful once recruitment begins again