Report of the Working Group on Diversity

Harriette Gregg, Ph.D., South Carolina State University

Barbara Johnson, Ph.D., University of Texas-Pan American

Joel Stark, Ph.D., CUNY, Chair

 

In responding to the charge, our working group was keenly aware of the complexity of the issues. There is a large body of literature in this area. We felt that it might be constructive to obtain stories of success and failure related to the recruitment and retention of minority students in our professions. Letters were sent to representatives of CGPCSD programs. Since we waned honest accounts, we requested that institutions not identify themselves. If there were no stories to be shared, we asked that the included self-addressed envelope be returned with a blank piece of pater. We received 122 responses, 41 of which were blank. We appreciated the thoughtfulness and detail in many of the responses.

In reviewing the stories, we were impressed with the innovative methods which some programs found to be effective in overcoming barriers to diversity. Major factors appear to be:

We were also concerned about the failure of many programs to acknowledge the need for enhancing diversity in our professions. Perhaps we must heed the words of Maurice Mendel who summarized the efforts of his University, concluding that "none of this happens quickly. Some issues which we began dealing with nine years ago have been resolved in the intervening years, while some are still unsolved... A paramount factor remains perseverance." (GGPCSD Proceedings, 1997, p.70).

A complete copy of the report will be mailed to Program Representatives. Our working group feels very strongly that the dialogue for diversity must continue. We recommend that the 1999 Program Committee plan a series of group discussions with facilitators and recorders on removing barriers to diversity.