Part 3: Recruiting and Retaining Underrepresented Students into Education

How else have we worked on recruitment? We have a recruitment and retention plan for underrepresented students for our CAEP accreditation that outlines our various initiatives. I have included below the ones specific to recruitment. (The plan includes undergraduate and graduate programming.)

Recruitment Initiatives:

  • Recruitment Team - We put together a recruitment team, which consists of faculty from each program in our college. Together we brainstorm ideas to help meet the needs of students that might be interested in any of our programs.
  • Educators Rising – We host the Educators Rising chapter for Maryland at Towson University. As a result, we have over 200 students that are interested in being educators that have joined the group, and have created a support network for our students. This not only seems to help with recruitment, but also with retention.
  • Connecting with Baltimore City – Right next door to Towson is Baltimore City, which has paraprofessionals and teachers from underrepresented groups. Therefore, we have been connecting with Baltimore City to create culturally responsive Master of Arts in Teaching programs for paraprofessionals and leadership programs that provide background in working with English learners and Special Education.
  • Marketing – We hired a marketing person in the College of Education, as well as a videographer, in order to create content for our social media that potentially provides information that is of interest to underrepresented students.
  • Online Programs – We have developed more programs that are fully online, to help students that cannot come onto campus be able to participate. Thus, we have a new fully online graduate program in Educational Technology and Literacy and a Post Baccalaureate Certificate (PBC) in Teachers of English for Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).
  • Scholarships - We are also providing “Dean’s Scholarships” to students that have a 3.0 or above with financial need because through focus groups we learned that our students need financial and mentoring support.
  • Recruiter for Underrepresented Males – We also just hired a male teacher to help create and implement a recruitment plan to bring in more underrepresented males. We are excited about having him join us.

Next time I’ll be outlining our retention initiatives. If you would like to collaborate on any of these ideas, or have your own ideas you’d like to share, please let me know. I am always interested in learning new ways to recruit underrepresented students.

Dr. Gilda Martinez-Alba is the Assistant Dean in the College of Education at Towson University, in Towson, Maryland.  Her research revolves around literacy, technology, English learners, and recruiting/retaining underrepresented students into teaching.