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GSOE Survey Results

Graduate School of Education Students Survey Results Released

Results show that most people feel they are treated fairly based on race and ethnicity

(September 11, 2008)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -- A recent survey of graduate students enrolled at UC Riverside’s Graduate School of Education shows that 77 percent of students surveyed said people of different races are treated equally by faculty.

The survey was administered in April on the recommendation of a team of nationally recognized diversity experts invited by the campus leadership to visit and examine the diversity climate and attitude at the graduate school. The invitation came in response to claims of discrimination among students and faculty of color that surfaced in the Spring of 2007.

Overall, the survey results show that the attitudes and perceptions of anglos and Latinos are similar and more positive than attitudes of students of other ethnicities, said Prof. Robert Hanneman, a sociologist who supervised the survey by the UCR Survey Research Center. The survey was conducted in April and the 70 people who responded out of the 131 graduate students enrolled in the school makes up 53 percent of the students. Hanneman said that response rate is considered representative.

The survey found that the most widespread concern related to a perception that it was difficult to find out about opportunities to participate in research. Half of the students surveyed said that the school provided enough opportunities and encouragement for research projects.

“I think that on the GSOE website there should be a place which lists different jobs/research opportunities that are available for graduate students,” wrote one student in a comment on the survey form. “It seems to me that it should be easier to find a research position within GSOE than it is.”

Dean Steven Bossert said the college is currently updating the student handbook, all advising documents and the school’s Website to reflect ways students can connect with research experiences. Other steps that will be taken in the next three months:
• Create a diversity committee for the graduate school
• Bring recommendations to the November faculty meeting about how to improve student advising
• Formalize a graduate student committee to enhance the social and intellectual climate among the students, building the sense of community.
• Monitor progress, including replicating the student survey in Spring, 2009 to monitor whether the school is making progress.

“I’m grateful for the detailed responses because it shows some key areas of concern and we are moving quickly to strengthen those areas,” said Bossert. “While the responses are generally positive, it does concern me that we have gotten some feedback that suggests that there are individuals who did not perceive that they were treated fairly. We are taking steps to make sure that this doesn’t happen to anyone.”

The Dean recently announced the hiring of four new assistant professors, three who are Latino and one who is African-American. Their research areas include successful interventions for English language learners and math and science education for minority students. In addition to their research and academic backgrounds, assistant professors Sara Castro-Olivo, Luciana Dar, Lindsey Malcom and Michael Orosco bring with them personal experiences that give them unique insight into the areas they study.

“All four do research and teach in areas that are critical to the educational needs of the Inland Empire,” Dean Bossert said. “All of them focus in different ways on how first-generation college attendees, English language learners, and students who come from disadvantaged community backgrounds can be successful in school.”

They will all be choosing multiple faculty mentors, from on and off campus, to make sure they have the kind of resources and advice that will advance their academic careers. Bossert said he and the rest of the GSOE faculty feel fortunate to have found such outstanding faculty members who will bring a new dimension to the academic program. In addition, Dean Bossert is continuing a planning process to identify critical areas for future investment, with particular attention to the need for senior faculty hires.

“Overall, the student experience at the Graduate School of Education is positive,” Bossert said. “Most students in the survey said they were proud to be in the Graduate School of Education. Nevertheless, there are areas where the GSOE can and will improve.”

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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