Hey everyone! I'm excited to be writing my first post in what will be a three-part series over the next couple months on multicultural recruitment and retention. I often get asked how a middle class White girl from Southern Minnesota got involved in this field, so I wanted to give you a little background before I delve in!
My passion for all things diversity-related started during my college years, when I found myself intrigued by the offerings of the Gustavus Diversity Center. Learning about different backgrounds and cultures quickly became a passion of mine. When I started my first job and was assigned the St. Paul Public Schools as part of my recruitment territory, I immediately sought out as much information as possible about the students I would be working with. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area has approximately 60,000 Hmong Americans, making it the largest metropolitan Hmong community in the country. I knew I would need to learn a lot about this population, so I read every book I could get my hands on, talked to current Hmong students at the college I worked for and found a "gatekeeper" in the Hmong community to help me make connections.
I knew that almost every college and university wanted to increase their population of non-White students and spent significant amounts of money recruiting from diverse communities. What I soon found out was that very few colleges were thinking about what it would take to retain these students, which is where my second passion was developed. You will notice I will always say I work in "multicultural recruitment and retention" because it is my firm belief that you cannot have one without the other. I consider myself incredibly lucky to now work at an institution that allows and encourages me to both, which has made it possible for me to develop strong relationships with the students I recruit during their time on campus.
Over the course of this series, I will look at best practices in multicultural recruitment and retention in higher education and share some ideas that I have been able to implement at my own institution. I look forward to learning from you as well and encourage feedback, questions and comments along the way! Feel free to connect with me via Twitter (@jhiscock) to continue the conversation and networking!