Ask the White Guy: How Do We Recruit Latino College Grads

Luke Visconti’s Ask the White Guy column is a top draw on DiversityInc.com. Visconti, the founder and CEO of DiversityInc, is a nationally recognized leader in diversity management. In his popular column, readers who ask Visconti tough questions about race/culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age can expect smart, direct and disarmingly frank answers.


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Question:

We have to find ways to get more Hispanic applicants in the applicant pool. The action needs a head start now; no delays. Let me know what you think.

Answer:

Here are my thoughts on college recruiting of underrepresented groups: If you screen the colleges and universities you recruit from, you can make what appears to be a daunting task very manageable. Schools are like corporations—some do a much better job at managing diversity than others.

Recruiting organizations should screen their colleges and universities for diversity outreach, degree completion, professional organizations on campus, career services (especially for people with disabilities) and clear-cut goals and commitment expressed by the president of the school.

For example, Rutgers University (I am a trustee) does an exceptional job recruiting and retaining underrepresented students from the Rutgers Future Scholars program, which starts in 8th grade, the business school’s prep program (STEP) to help students from poor-quality high schools get up to speed. There are also a range of targeted scholarships serving students with modest economic means (including an LGBT scholarship!). The Rutgers Newark campus has been cited as having the most diverse campus in the United States for 13 years. The chancellor of Rutgers Newark, Steve Diner, is a tireless advocate for diversity.

Rutgers University President Richard L. McCormick mentions the connection between diversity and receiving a quality education in every speech I’ve heard him make.

If you develop a relationship with Rutgers, aside from becoming involved with Rutgers Future Scholars, you can work with their admissions people to find which high schools are the best pipeline schools for targeted groups … that, in turn, narrows down your high-school cultivation efforts.

You should also look for schools which may not be on everyone’s radar screen. For example, I am on the foundation board of New Jersey City University—an MSI (minority-serving institution) and HSI (Hispanic-serving institution)—14,000 undergrads and a particularly strong accountancy program. President Carlos Hernandez runs a top-quality school—with students who are predominantly the first people in their families to go to college.

In contrast, I once heard a president of a 50,000-plus student Midwest public university speak for 45 minutes and not mention diversity once. How can he help you with your goals if he doesn’t understand his own responsibilities

Finally—look out for conflict. The nonsense that is plaguing University of California San Diego is indicative of incompetent (at best) diversity management. This is not a school that is likely to help you accomplish YOUR goals. Their students from underrepresented groups are likely to be unengaged—and present in lower percentages than schools with proper diversity management.

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