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    Recommendations to Enhance Diversity and Inclusiveness
    10. Recommendations to Enhance Diversity and Inclusiveness

    Based on interaction with the research participants, it is recommended that:


    • Graduate programs should take a more comprehensive approach to articulate the various aspects of their program of studies. Factors that should be considered include, but are not limited to, specific financial aid available, mentors, and outlines of specific requirements for program completion. When students have an overall picture of what graduate school will entail, they can begin to plan financially, socially, and academically. In the case of the aforementioned males, some of them had family obligations that impacted their educational journey. Having a complete understanding of the barriers as well as the advantages associated with graduate school is influential in the decision-making process. For example, placing emphasis on competitive financial assistance for academically qualified students allows students to prepare for ancillary changes in work schedules and salaries that often accompany involvement in graduate programs. Planning for graduate assistantships or weekend employment becomes critical when pursuing graduate education. Particularly for African American males (who may be the primary bread winners), planning and making the necessary personal and financial adjustments are important prior to and during one’s graduate school tenure. This comprehensive approach can dispel misconceptions that uninformed potential candidates may have about the “ins and outs” of graduate school. Institutions must begin to make it their duty and responsibility to present the complete information in order to ensure that potential students not only enroll, but make informed decisions about their education.
    • Opportunities to network with other students from underrepresented populations are critical for recruitment and retention. The literature suggests that many students of color experience feelings of being ostracized, or disconnected from their peers. Having a safe space in which such students can feel connected may heighten self-efficacy within and outside of the classroom setting. As indicated by the graduate students in this study, maintaining a connection to one’s ethnic community is seen as a way to obtain that support. For Black men, this connection to the ethnic community is often deemed a necessary part of their daily survival. Having such a connection allowed these participants to obtain relevant sociocultural experiences that were unattainable within their graduate school experience. Through networking, members of marginalized groups may not only find support, but a network of racial and ethnic minorities with whom they can relate. This sense of support is important in combating negative feelings that sometimes arise from being one of few minorities in an academic setting.


    An emphasis should be placed on marketing doctoral programs in Counseling Education and Counseling Psychology. In large measure, participants in this study were unaware of the existence of these programs until another student or professor personally recruited them. Marketing doctoral programs not only increases the quantity of applicants, but the quality of applicants as well. As more students of color become familiar with the variety of graduate programs offered, the applications from such students tend to increase. Having a more diverse applicant pool opens the door for faculty members to admit a more diverse group of students into their respective programs. Active recruitment leads to a domino effect; students of color often gravitate to programs in which there are other minority students enrolled. Increasing enrollment not only of African American males, but minorities in general will increase the quality and growth of doctoral programs such as Counseling and Counseling Psychology. In fields such as counseling and psychology, an emphasis on multiculturalism and diversity is imperative to one’s graduate course of study. Through more heterogeneous cohorts of students, graduate students can use their cultural backgrounds and experiences to assist in the learning process.


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