A Diverse and Stimulating Undergraduate Academic Environment: Current Initiatives

To the extent that improving quality is measureable by admissions data, we are making progress and, by some measures, we are becoming more diverse. UD enrolled a higher percentage of high-achieving students in fall 2010 than in fall 2009 (as measured by high school GPAs and SATs). The freshman class includes more Asian-American and international students than last year’s entering class. However, the number of African-American and Latino freshmen has declined. This is cause for concern and requires an action plan.

As with other students, the academic preparation of entering African-American and Latino students has improved. We have also seen a modest increase in the number of in-state applicants who meet the academic requirements outlined in our Commitment to Delawareans. Additional programs and initiatives—such as the Confucius Institute, the Arts and Humanities Summer Institute, Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math and Science—are critical to diversifying our student body.

But admissions is only the first step. Since embarking on the Path to Prominence, UD has made student life issues a priority. The University has launched a First-Year Experience program, refined our New Student Orientation programs and enhanced areas such as study abroad, undergraduate research, internships and service learning. We have initiated an Academic Program Review of the University Honors Program, and a new program director and program enhancements will soon begin.

Staff support has been increased in key related programs, including the Center for Black Culture, Student Services for Athletes, Disabilities Support Services and the Office for International Students and Scholars. Staffing has also increased in programs that guide underrepresented students to graduate education, such as NUCLEUS, the McNair Scholars Program and ArtsBridge.

To engage students in the most important issues of the day, we have sponsored prominent national speakers through UD Speaks and through the Center for Political Communication. And to help students nurture their bodies as well as their minds, the Division of Student Health Services has launched Healthy Hens, a student lifestyle program that offers health-risk assessments, consulting services and educational programs.