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Diversity Dialogue: Spotlight on School Psychology Innovators. Audene Harvey Johnson, D.Ed.,NCSP Audene\[email protected] March 2010. Minority recruitment at school psychology graduate programs.

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diversity dialogue spotlight on school psychology innovators

Diversity Dialogue: Spotlight on School Psychology Innovators

Audene Harvey Johnson, D.Ed.,NCSP

[email protected]

March 2010

minority recruitment at school psychology graduate programs
Minority recruitment at school psychology graduate programs
  • NASP recognized the issue of minority recruitment in school psychology 20 years ago when it developed a position statement. The position statement noted that the rate at which the culturally and linguistically diverse school-age population was growing underscored the need to recruit culturally and linguistically diverse school psychologists (NASP, 1989).
  • Researchers charged school psychology graduate programs with the goal of recruitment and training of minority students as well as culturally and linguistically sensitive non-minority students (Barona, Flores, & Gutierrez, 1990).
  • There continues to be a shortage of school psychologists in general and minority school psychologists in particular (Curtis, Hunley, & Grier, 2004).
relevance to school psychology
Relevance to school psychology
  • The number of minority students in public schools is or will soon exceed the number of White students. In 1972, 22% of public school students were minorities while in 2005, 43% were minorities. In 1972, 78% of students were White and in 2005, 57% were White (Planty, Hussar, Snyder, Provasnik, Kena, Dinkes, KewalRamani, & Kemp, 2008).
  • The racial makeup of the field of school psychology is not changing to match the diversity of the clients we serve. There has been a very small decrease in the percentage of White school psychologists noted in the last two NASP membership surveys. In the 1999-2000 survey, 94% of school psychologists were White (Graden & Curtis, 1991) while in the 2004-2005 survey, 93% of school psychologists were White (Curtis, Lopez, Batsche, & Smith, 2006).
research minority decision making factors recruitment strategies
Research minority decision making factors & recruitment strategies
  • The presence of minority faculty related positively to the number of minority students in a program (Barona, Flores, & Gutierrez,1990).
  • When interviewed on the components of an ideal program, students indicated that more minority students and faculty within the system would help minority students to succeed (Twale, Douvanis, & Sekula, 1992).
  • The presence of a critical mass of minority students can facilitate recruitment of additional minority graduate students (Maton, Kohout, & Wicherski, 2006).
  • Rogers (2006) examined characteristics of school psychology programs noted for training students from a multicultural perspective. Exemplary programs used the following strategies: financial aid, personal faculty contacts with minority applicants, recruitment materials aimed at minority students, and involvement of current minority students.
critical research
Critical research
  • Zins and Halsell (1986) surveyed training programs and generated a list of the most often reported recruitment approaches. Respondents also indicated special challenges that were experienced in educating minority students.
  • Results indicated that while the number of minority students in school psychology programs had remained consistent over two years, the majority of those students attended 15 of the 162 responding programs.
  • More than half of the programs had no full time, part time, or contributing minority faculty members.
  • Frequently used recruitment approaches were: speaking engagements, application materials, personal contacts, flexible admissions, and support systems.
  • This study was the starting point and example for my study.
purposes of the study
Purposes of the study
  • To determine what strategies were being used most often and most effectively by graduate programs to recruit minority applicants,
  • To measure the effect of institution location, number of minority faculty members, and written recruitment policies and procedures on minority student enrollment,
  • To measure the effect of those same factors on minority student graduation rates within a five year span, and
  • To make recruitment recommendations to the field of school psychology based on the results of the study.
  • 35 of the 108 surveyed programs responded, yielding a 32.4% response rate.
  • While a 50% response rate is generally considered adequate, (Babbie, 2004), many findings from my study were consistent with those of the Zins and Halsell (1986) study, which had a 80.6% response rate.
design of the study
Design of the study
  • The Recruitment Strategies Questionnaire was developed based on relevant research in the area of minority recruitment and designed to replicate the survey used in Zins and Halsell’s (1986) study.
  • Specialist level graduate programs were surveyed between June and August of 2008. All programs received the initial mailing and then non-responding programs received a follow-up questionnaire. Respondent data was compiled in a spreadsheet and then entered into SPSS (v. 16.0).
  • Quantitative information was obtained regarding the number of students, minority faculty, graduates within the last five years, and written recruitment policies and procedures.
  • Qualitative information was obtained regarding the special challenges those training programs faced as they educated minority students.
results student enrollment
Results: Student Enrollment
  • There were 1,071 students enrolled in 35 programs.
    • 219 or 20.4% of students were minority.
    • 852 or 79.6% of students were non-minority.
  • Less than 20% (6) of the programs had no minority students, which is an improvement from the 22% of programs that had no minority students in 1986 as reported by Zins and Halsell (1986).
  • Four (11.4%) programs enrolled nearly one-half (44.3%) of the total number of minority students, roughly the same percentage (45.3%) from the Zins and Halsell (1986) study.
  • Students were almost evenly distributed in each year of the three-year programs with approximately 20% of each year’s enrollment made up by minority students.
    • 360 (33.6%) students were in the first year of the program.
    • 333 (31.1%) students were in the second year of the program.
    • 378 (35.3%) students were in the third year of the program.
results financial aid the 2003 court ruling
Results: Financial Aid & the 2003 Court Ruling
    • Of the 35 responding programs, 2 (5.7%) were impacted in their ability to offer financial assistance and 30 (85.7%) were not.
  • Of the 219 minority students, 41.1% received financial aid.
    • 11.1% received financial aid designated for minorities.
    • 88.9% received financial aid available to all racial groups.
results program location recent graduates
Results: Program Location & Recent Graduates
  • The responding programs were almost evenly distributed by location in urban, rural, and suburban settings.
    • 34.3% of programs were in urban settings.
    • 34.3 % of programs were in rural settings.
    • 31.4% of programs were in suburban settings.
  • Within the last five years, 1,675 students graduated.
    • 21.8% were minorities.
    • 78.2% were non-minorities.
results minority faculty members
Results: Minority Faculty Members
  • There were 61 total minority faculty members in 25 programs.
    • 19 full time: 13 in urban, 4 in suburban, and 2 in rural settings.
    • 18 part-time: 16 in urban, 1 in suburban, and 1 in rural settings.
    • 24 contributing: 6 in urban, 5 in suburban, and 13 in rural settings.
  • 28.6% of programs had no minority faculty members. This is an improvement from Zins and Halsell’s (1986) findings of 57.4% of programs with no minority faculty members.
  • 45.7% of programs had more than one minority faculty member. This is a great increase from the 1.9% reported to have more than one minority faculty member in the Zins and Halsell study (1986).
results written recruitment policies or procedures
Results: Written Recruitment Policies or Procedures
  • In response to the questionnaire item asking if their program had written recruitment policies or procedures,
    • 77.1% did not,
    • 20% did, and
    • 2.9% did not respond.
  • The programs that did not have written policies were fairly evenly distributed by location.
    • 37% in suburban settings,
    • 33.3% in rural settings, and
    • 29.6% in urban settings.
  • The programs that did have written policies were primarily in urban and rural settings.
    • 42.9% were in urban settings,
    • 42.9% were in rural settings, and
    • 14.2% was in a suburban setting.
special challenges in educating minority students
Special Challenges in Educating Minority Students
  • Of the responding programs, 74.3% indicated that their program had encountered special challenges.
    • Their area/institution was not diverse enough to attract and retain a larger number of minority students (30.8%).
    • Limited financial aid options affected their ability to educate minority students (11.5%).
    • A high drop-out rate as a challenge in educating their students, possibly related to the 3 year commitment of the program (11.5%).
    • Weak skills and academic troubles challenged their minority students (11.5%).
    • Lack of a social network affected their minority students (7.7%).
special challenges in educating minority students 2
Special Challenges in Educating Minority Students 2
  • Programs indicated that they did not know what was important to minority applicants and, as a result, had difficulty with recruitment (7.7%).
  • Limited applicants were a challenge to their program (7.7%).
  • Unpaid internships in their area was a hardship for minority students in particular (3.8%).
  • Racism with professors outside of their department and in the university was an issue that impacted on their ability to educate minority students (3.8%).
  • Lack of minority faculty in the university overall affected their ability to educate minority students (3.8%).
what strategies are most used by school psychology departments to recruit minority applicants
What strategies are most used by school psychology departments to recruit minority applicants?
  • By categories, these groups are listed from the most often emphasized to the least often emphasized strategies:
    • Program Brochures/Website,
    • Personal Contacts,
    • Institution and Program Benefits,
    • Admissions, and
    • Speaking Engagements.
  • The five most emphasized individual strategies were:
    • Promote the reputation of the program,
    • Offer opportunities to visit the program,
    • Encourage interaction with faculty and mentors,
    • Indicate faculty interests in multicultural issues in brochure or on website, and
    • Involve minority students (current or alumni) in the program in recruiting.
study findings
Study findings
  • While the Recruitment Strategies Questionnaire focused on strategies being used for minority applicants, research indicates that the strategies that were most emphasized were known to be effective for both minority and non-minority applicants.
  • Institution and Program Benefits, specifically the individual strategy of Promoting the location of the program, had a statistically significant impact on the percentage of minority students enrolled.
  • Though research suggested that an active enrollment management plan was important in impacting an institution’s student body (Clagett and Kerr,1994), the existence of written recruitment policies or procedures was not significant to the percentage of minority students enrolled or to the percentage of minority students graduating in the last five years within the school psychology training programs.
  • The number of minority faculty members within a program had the largest effect on the percentage of minority students enrolled within the school psychology training programs, followed by the location of the institution, specifically for urban institutions.
recommendations to graduate programs
Recommendations to Graduate Programs
  • Promoting the location of the training program is critical. Inherent benefits, such as weather and affordable housing should be marketed along with less obvious facts, such as a programs’ proximity to cities with known high minority populations and cultural events and activities (Suinn & Witt, 1982; Bowie, Cherry, & Wooding, 2005).
  • The numbers of minority faculty and staff members need to be increased and their presence emphasized more effectively throughout the recruitment process (Rogers & Molina, 2006).
  • Implement minority retention programs that focus on faculty interaction, small group interactions, minority role models, and faculty mentors (Twale, Douvanis, & Sekula, 1992).
  • Recruiters should be knowledgeable enough about their applicants, their decision making criteria, and their other program options to personalize their marketing to answer individual applicants concerns (Kealy & Rockel, 1987; Poock, 1999).
suggestions for future research
Suggestions for future research
  • Duplicate this study over the course of the school year to increase the response rate.
  • Add a survey for any current minority students of responding schools for this study to determine the relationship between the strategies that particular program used and the students’ reasons for selecting the program.
  • Survey first year minority school psychology students to determine what factors and/or strategies influenced their program selection.
  • Survey all minority graduate students who do not complete their training programs to determine their reasons. This should be sent directly from the student to NASP or to another outside agency to increase the chances for honest responses.
my work in montgomery county
My work in Montgomery County
  • Office of Civil Rights identified the issue of over-representation of African American students within the categories of Emotional Disturbance and Intellectual Disability.
  • Subcommittees were created to develop best practice guidelines for confirming Emotional Disturbance and Intellectual Disability.
  • Created the January 2003 Procedures for confirming Emotional Disturbance and Intellectual Disability http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/specialed/infomcps.shtm
  • Member of three additional workgroups created to address over-representation of minorities, one designed to reduce the numbers of minority students being referred for suspension and expulsion, one charged with investigating the underlying causes of minority disproportionality within special education, and one whose task is to update the procedures for confirming Intellectual Disability.
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