The University of Illinois is committed to inclusiveness and diversity among its student population.
While this is great, there also seems to be a lack of support for graduate students. Specifically, underrepresented minorities, women and non-traditional students. Being included in any of these categories can be challenging when being added to the competitiveness and rigors of education.
Being a minority student and a non-traditional student, such as being a parent, is often a heavy burden to carry while in a graduate program. There should be an additional focus on support systems within the University and networks that can effectively support said underrepresented groups within the graduate programs offered at the University.
Additionally, it is important to create more campus awareness within the staff about the importance of the inclusive and diverse population that is present in the graduate programs. While there are existing support offices that are on campus for students to utilize, those offices tend to create more of their focus around their undergraduate students and their needs.
The offices that are placed on campus to support their students should be more sensitized to the responsibility that they have with serving the university population, by creating a better space for minority and non-traditional graduate students. With having support staff within the university’s graduate programs, an additional effort should be created to help minority and non-traditional students feel more welcome and feel as if they have the same opportunities and support as those who do not identify as they do.