Former APA President Richard M. Suinn, PhD, who created the Suinn Minority Achievement Awards to honor programs that are promoting diversity in creative ways (see "Diversity: More than numbers"), gives this blueprint for creating an atmosphere that is welcoming to students of all backgrounds. According to Suinn, such programs provide:
Welcoming activities. Personal contacts with potential students; relevant informational/welcoming brochures; open relationships with possible feeder schools; and targeted recruitment of ethnic-minority or other students representing diverse backgrounds.
Entrance standards and equitable admissions. Flexible entrance standards that evaluate personal statements and references, not just test scores.
Leadership. Passionate leaders who will assure an integrated approach, follow-through and continuity.
Commitment. Dedication by the program faculty, administration and students to creating a welcoming and supportive environment so that minority students feel accepted as an integral part of the academic community.
Orientation session. A formal orientation to help new minority students negotiate the graduate school experience.
Money, mentoring, morale. Faculty that help students tap as many funding sources as possible; buddy systems and supportive faculty mentors; and the fostering of student expectations that they will succeed rather than simply avoid failure.
Environment, expectations. An ultimate goal of establishing an environment that expects minority students to graduate instead of simply meeting quotas, and a shift away from special attention to improve diversity to diversity becoming a mainstream expectation.