Impact of affirmative action bans in graduate fields of study

Jan 24, 2013

Important findings on the impact of banning affirmative action in higher education were just published in the American Educational Research Journal (AERJ) in Online First. Affirmative action in university admissions has long been a matter of public debate, and Fisher v. University of Texas, Austin has placed its use in admissions policy as an issue before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The article, "Understanding the Impact of Bans in Different Graduate Fields of Study," presents the results of a study undertaken by Liliana M. Garces, George Washington University. Garces examines the effects of affirmative action bans on the enrollment of of color across six fields of graduate study in four states—California, Florida, Texas, and Washington. The six fields of graduate study are the natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, business, education, and humanities.

Garces' research shows that the impact of affirmative action bans was most pronounced in engineering, natural sciences, and social sciences, fields in which students of color already are underrepresented. She encourages educators to reconsider their admissions practices and consider the benefits of campus diversity for all students, benefits that include enhanced critical thinking skills, cultural awareness, civic engagement, and workforce competencies/.

In light of national concerns over underrepresentation of students of color in the and engineering, Garces says that banning all affirmative action considerations in admissions in graduate fields of study has consequences. "As institutions struggle to increase the representation of students of color in graduate programs, particularly in STEM fields, the findings from this study suggest that bans on affirmative action are inhibiting these efforts. . . . Graduate education programs will need to rise to the challenge and adopt innovative outreach and recruitment practices and adopt admissions criteria to help reverse this trend."

Explore further: Less privileged kids shine at university, according to study

More information: Garces, L. M. (2013). Understanding the impact of affirmative action bans in different graduate fields of study. American Educational Research Journal (Advance online publication: doi: 10.3102/0002831212470483 , January 14, 2013)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Why are UK teenagers skipping school?

Dec 18, 2014

Analysis of the results of a large-scale survey reveals the extent of truancy in English secondary schools and sheds light on the mental health of the country's teens.

Fewer lectures, more group work

Dec 18, 2014

Professor Cees van der Vleuten from Maastricht University is a Visiting Professor at Wits University who believes that learning should be student centred.

How to teach all students to think critically

Dec 18, 2014

All first year students at the University of Technology Sydney could soon be required to take a compulsory maths course in an attempt to give them some numerical thinking skills. ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.