SMU eNews

SMU ranks among best in U.S. for Graduate Degrees to Minorities

Samuel Merritt University (SMU) has been recognized by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education for its diverse student body and commitment to providing access to higher education for underserved students.  The bi-weekly magazine has listed SMU in its latest list of the Top 100 Degree Producers for minority students, a national ranking of higher education institutions that confer the most degrees to minority students. 

In the 2011 list, SMU is ranked No. 13 for the number of undergraduate degrees awarded to minority students and it ranked No. 38 for the number of master's and doctoral degrees awarded to minority students.  The magazine's annual rankings were published in the October 27, 2011 issue, Health &Sciences Issue and are based on data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

"Every year our organization complies raw data from the Department of Education in regards to colleges and universities that award the largest amount of degrees to minority students," explains Virginia Hendrix, Operations Services at Diverse: Issues In Higher Education. "We call it our Top 100 Degree Producers and your organization is ranked in many categories."

The report provides several ratings including overall minority enrollment and degrees conferred, and degrees by discipline and individual ethnic and racial group performance.

"The University is proud of this honor and its national vision for a diverse community and the commitment to diversity and academics, " said Kathleen Roberts, SMU Chief Diversity Officer.  "The commitment to multiculturalism results in our students being more globally aware and globally competitive as professionals in the healthcare field."

According to the U.S. Department of Education, ethnic minority students are pursuing advanced degrees in greater numbers, particularly in healthcare fields where they have been traditionally underrepresented.  Based in Oakland, one of the most ethnically diverse major cities in the country, according to the San Francisco Business Times, increasing the representation of minorities at SMU has always been part of the University's goal.  (Oakland is the eight-largest city in the state of California with a 2010 population of 390,724.)

"Samuel Merritt University is committed to creating an environment in which all students can flourish and benefit from a diversity of ideas, experiences and backgrounds," said Roberts.

The rankings by the magazine also track gender, number of minority students as a percentage of all degree recipients within disciplines, and changes in the number of graduates from the previous year. 

John Garten-Shuman, Vice President of Student and Enrollment Services, says the rankings reflect only part of the University's vision for a diverse community.  "Samuel Merritt University also reaches out to include students with disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students and those who are the first in their families to attend college."