Diversity and Inclusion Research Directory

The Diversity and Inclusion Research Directory provides information on the research from the 2016 Diversity and Inclusion Symposium titled, Rutgers Scholarship on Diversity & Inclusion: Present Findings & Future Considerations,  it also includes links to research papers and PowerPoint presentations submitted by faculty and graduate students. 

The complete symposium agenda and program is also available.  Soon we will also make available a copy of an edited video of the symposium’s opening statements and the keynote address for those of you who may wish to use them in classes.

Additionally, Professor Taja-Nia Henderson, J.D., Ph.D, Associate Professor of Law at Rutgers Law School gave the keynote remarks, titled The Inclusion Imperative in Higher Education is also available to download.

Alok Baveja

Professor and Interim Chair,
Department of Supply Chain Management
Rutgers Business School


Sharon Lydon

Associate Professor of Professional Practice
Rutgers Business School




Kevin Lyons

Associate Professor Professional Practice
Rutgers Business School



Sayan Mukherjee

Ph.D. candidate
XLRI-Xavier School of Management 


 A Diversity Match Index to Mitigate Observer Bias

Racial profiling has been used by law enforcement agencies to intercept crime but it has resulted in biased monitoring of some races versus others. Hence it suffers from the observer effect/observer bias. One of the suggested methods to remove the bias is to diversify the observer group so that it is representative of the population under observation. However, there is lack of clarity on measuring the racial diversity of a group. Further, how does one measure the match between the diversity of the observer and observed groups? The Blau Index is most commonly used to measure the diversity of a group—but, it cannot account for the relative composition of specific groups or compare groups on diversity. For example, if there are two groups, one comprising 80% White and 20% Black and another comprising 20% White and 80% Black, the Blau’s Index based diversity scores of both the groups would be same, but the racial composition of the groups are very different. So, the Blau Index cannot be used to evaluate a racial match between groups. We propose a diversity match index based on earlier work of Redmond and Baveja (2002). This index quantifies the match between observed and the observer group. The higher the value of this index, the better the match. Here we discuss, with illustrative examples, the applications of this index in different areas including retail, healthcare and law enforcement. We also discuss some limitations of the proposed measure and future research directions. 


Brandi Blessett

Assistant Professor
Public Policy & Administration Rutgers Camden


Dr. Blessett's research focuses on administrative responsibility, social equity, diversity and inclusion, and social justice. Overall, her research examines the role of public administrators as either facilitators or inhibitors of fairness, equity, and justice for historically marginalized groups. 

Cultural Competency in Public Administration Programs

As the United States increasingly becomes more globalized, diverse, and socially complex, public administration professionals will need to be prepared to lead and manage to meet the changing demands. In order to meet these needs, academic programs responsible for training public service professionals, will need to adopt curricula to promote cultural competency. While other fields have made progress toward promoting cultural competency in curricula, public administration programs have been slow to respond. A multifaceted approach is needed to guide public administration programs toward understanding the purpose of cultural competency education and developing curricula that are responsive to the needs of diverse populations. Drawing from models in health-related academic programs, this article introduces the diversity and inclusiveness framework (DIF), with six interdependent components: addressing the program’s mission, identifying core competencies, developing diversity and inclusiveness plans, requiring faculty and staff training, implementing curricular and co-curricular components, and assessing students’ perception of diversity. 


Sunita Chaudhary

Director, Research Education
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey


My current research focuses on understanding the influence of race, gender and immigration status on biomedical career choice.

Outcomes of Enrichment Programs for Minority Youth

Racial and ethnic minorities remain underrepresented in the biomedical research workforce. This pilot study used Social Cognitive Career Theory (Lent et al., 1994, 2000) to explore the influence of laboratory vs. nonlaboratory biomedical internship programs on minority students’ self-efficacy and career intent. Both internship programs were designed to promote biomedical career choice. Pre/post surveys were administered to participants in both programs. Pre-surveys were completed by 231 students within one week of the start of an internship program. Of these, 117 students completed the postsurveys after completing their respective program. A gender effect was found for parental education level and participation in laboratory research internship programs. Women whose parents had college or graduate degrees were significantly more likely to participate in laboratory research internship programs. Students whose parents had no college education reported a higher pre-post change for interest in science than did students who had both parents with graduate degrees. Gender modulated correlation between birth in the United States and participation in laboratory research internship programs. Compared to foreign-born women, native-born women were more likely to participate in laboratory research internship programs. Gender moderated pre-post change in students’ beliefs about their ability to understand scientific research in laboratory research internship programs. Women who participated in laboratory research internship programs had higher pre-post change in ability to understand scientific research than did women who participated in nonlaboratory research programs. Results suggested that parental education level is a predictor of student choice of internship programs. Our findings also suggest that laboratory research programs may provide greater benefit to minority native-born women students as reflected by higher scores on measures of science self-efficacy following their participation. 

Humaira Chaudhry

Section Chief,
Abdominal Imaging, and Assistant Professor,
Dept. of Radiology
New Jersey Medical School

The goal of my research is to determine if women are underrepresented in radiology and within its hierarchy.

Underrepresentation of Women in Radiology

Over the past decade, under-representation of females in radiology has been the topic of numerous publications and debates at several national radiology meetings. The purpose of our study is to determine if the increased awareness of this gender disparity has led to any tangible changes in gender representation in radiology. 

Kevin L. Clay    

Ph.D. candidate,
Education Theory, Organization,
and Policy, Graduate School of Education 

I research questions around urban youth political socialization and ethno-racial identity development within and outside of the context of youth participatory action research.

Mara Conroy Hughes

Ph.D. student
Graduate School of Education

I research queer youth cultural (re)production in mainstream educational settings, with particular interest in how students engage with and produced discourses relating to sexuality, gender, sex, and relationships, and especially among youth of color and working class youth

On Not Choosing: Theory & Practice in Professional Development Trainings

This co-authored paper takes an autoethnographic approach to examining a working partnership for providing anti- oppressive pedagogy trainings to K-12 and higher education staff. Since 2014, the authors -- a black, Christian, heterosexual man and a white, atheist, lesbian -- have provided professional development designed to support diversity and inclusion efforts in schools by educating school faculty, staff, and administrators about privilege, power, allyship, and historic systems of oppression, with a special focus on understanding how schools and schooling function in both reifying these systems and in intervening in them. The authors, each a diversity researcher in their own right, with specialties in queer youth culture and urban youth political socialization, reflect on their own work as practitioners, on what it means to work simultaneously in the field and in the academy, and on their relationship as allies, colleagues, co- authors, and friends collaborating across difference. Their experiences provide important insights into the ways that practitioner and researcher identity impact the efforts of scholars working in diversity and inclusion. Ultimately, they argue, diversity and inclusion researchers and practitioners within the academy should draw on the conventions of grassroots social justice organizations in foregrounding community needs and expertise and recognizing the impacts of practitioner and researcher identity. They call for greater creativity and introspection in scholarly efforts to examine how researchers and practitioners themselves influence the conditions of the justice-oriented work they take up.

Kevin L. Clay 

Ph.D. candidate,
Education Theory, Organization, and Policy,  Graduate School of Education 

I research questions around urban youth political socialization and ethno-racial identity development within and outside of the context of youth participatory action research.

Grit Your Teeth and Bear It: Black Student Success in the 21st Century 

Recent studies indicate that millennial youth are growing up in an era where the significance of race is declining because shared youth cultures and subcultures in music, fashion, sports and other entertainment transcend racial boundaries (Pew, Research Center, 2010). However, recent years are marked by high-profile killings of unarmed black youth at the hands of whites and law enforcement, often followed by tepid prosecution and non-convictions. Also, many black and Latin@ youth live in urban neighborhoods of concentrated poverty, and experience significant resource deprivation unlike their suburban-living mostly white counterparts. Considering these dissonant realities, questions remain about how black and brown youth living in urban communities are understanding the factors that shape their lived experiences and the experiences of people that look like them, and live in communities like theirs. This study investigates the ethno-racial identity development and analytical trajectories of urban youth engaged in participatory action research (YPAR). It highlights the complicated, varied, and counterintuitive ethno-racial identity development and analytical trajectories of YPAR youth over the course of 4 months of a yearlong project. 

Carlos Decena 

Associate Professor and Chair,
Latino and Caribbean Studies, SAS 

Edgar Rivera-Colon 

Narrative Medicine Program
Columbia University,
School of Continuing Education 

Carlos Ulises Decena and Edgar Rivera–Colon are interdisciplinary social scientists and cultural critics, working at the meeting points of feminist, queer, and ethnic studies with social justice. Both trained and experienced in HIV research, Decena and Rivera–Colon share a political and intellectual commitment to challenging and transformative visions of diversity in the 21st century university.

Whiteness and the Racial Politics of Civility

Recent struggles and discussions about the boundaries between hate speech and free speech join existing institutional efforts to address student demands for more open discussions of what real diversity means at Rutgers University. These demands follow several years of challenging institutional transformations and a growing orientation away from the model of the 20th century liberal arts university. Drawing from selected aspects of these recent discussions/struggles, the public examples of recent incivility such as that of Jennicet Gonzalez (the Obama heckler) and Donald Trump, and queer of color writings about the limits and possibilities of diversity in the 21st century neoliberal university, this presentation will offer an initial and schematic view of the politics of doing diversity work and pursuing diversity knowledges at the contemporary university. In particular, we contest the discourse of normative “civility” as strategy to placate tension and achieve a level playing field among opposing views on challenging issues, to the degree that appeals to it tend to impose an ethos of white middle class respectability that curtails open and creative expressions of dissent. Student and other activisms suggest that the time has come to rethink what might be viable and possible when it comes to healthy debates in civil society. A revised and expansive definition of “civility,” one which is critical of regulatory ideals of respectability, befits better the needs of our community. 

Lynda Dexheimer

Ed.D. program in Education, Culture, and Society
Graduate School of Education

My work examines the historical relationship between the creation of the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) at Rutgers and the Black student protest movements at Rutgers in 1968.

Black Student Protest at Rutgers: A Case of Compromise and Qualified Success

My long-term project is to examine the historical relationship between the creation of the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) at Rutgers and the black student protest movements. In 1969, leaders of the black student protests at Rutgers were already in dialogue with university officials to develop programs to meet their demands. The three main campuses in Newark, New Brunswick, and Camden all created different strategies and different programs out of negotiations with different students and faculty in each location. Simultaneously, but separately, EOF was coming into existence through the state Department of Higher Education (DHE) with funding from the legislature, and eventually EOF replaced the programs that the university had developed with students. I am seeking to answer the question of how the black student protestors felt about and understood this development. Did they feel betrayed? Were they happy with EOF? Was this seen as a compromise or a true step toward substantive change at Rutgers? Had their movement been co-opted by predominantly white university and state institutions to protect the status quo? 

Nancy DiTomaso

Distinguished Professor, Management and Global Business Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick 

My current research explores the origins of the social divisions that plague us and the mechanisms that reproduce social divisions across time. I endeavor to provide a deeper understanding of how diversity, inequality, and culture intersect in the social categorizations of race/ethnicity, gender, class, and citizenship. In doing so, I try to show how boundaries, distinctions, and ideologies of universalism and civilization have contributed historically to moral justification around claims to both rights and responsibilities within political contexts, but at the expense of external “others” who become targets of oppression, exploitation, and conquest, including through imperialism, colonialism, and slavery.

Link to faculty directory

Deirdre Dougherty

Ph.D. program in Theory, Organization, and Policy Teaching Assistant
Graduate School of Education

I am interested in the historical origins of contemporary educational inequalities. My dissertation is a history of school desegregation in suburban Maryland between 1950 and 1980. I use social scientific notions of space from human geography and theories of racial formation to highlight the processes through which meaningful racial and spatial divisions came to be naturalized over time in ways that continue to shape contemporary educational opportunity and access. 

A History of the Present: What Thinking Spatially Can Tell Us About Race and Education

Drawing on social scientific understandings of space and on theories of racial formation, my research considers how space and race were produced through the desegregation policies that Prince George’s County, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C., took up between 1954 and 1980. I am interested in how spaces, and discourses about space,
were produced through social action, and the implications these discursive representations had on the post-war educational experiences of the county’s children as well as their influence on contemporary schooling practices in the Washington Metropolitan area. This research thinks critically about how school districts have performed diversity and inclusion and how inclusive schooling has emerged—or failed to emerge—historically, socially, and culturally in a very specific region of the United States. 

Paper presented [PDF]
PowerPoint presentation [PPT]

Evelyn S. Erenrich

Assistant Dean and Director,
Graduate Recruitment, Retention & Diversity (GR aD)
Graduate School-NB and Office of Diversity and Inclusion

As Assistant Dean, Dr. Erenrich leads the Center for Graduate Recruitment, Retention, and Diversity (GR aD) which seeks to fill and diversify the STEM pipeline through multiple efforts including a signature program which recruits graduate students from diverse backgrounds and develops initiatives to promote their success. Her research involves developing and implementing effective programs across the pipeline which includes the Research in Science & Engineering (RiSE) program and participation in multi-institutional consortia to promote diversity in graduate education and postdoctoral training and to facilitate successful transition to faculty careers. We provide support for the diversity, broadening participation, and broader impact components of faculty training and research grants. 

Xenia K. Morin

Senior Associate Dean for Learning & Associate Teaching Professor, Plant Biology
SEBS/Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health

David S. Pickens

Associate Dean, Strategic Planning, Graduate School-NB

We work on grant-funded research in the area of diversity and inclusion to develop the pipeline in STEM disciplines, to building mentoring and grantsmanship opportunities especially for those that will impact underrepresented groups, and to collect data that will evaluate the impact of these programs. 

Paving the Pathway to STEM Diversity: 2001-Present 

In this session, we will share best practices, outcomes and on-going efforts to build diversity in the STEM pipeline from undergraduate to faculty. We will focus on multi-institutional collaborations funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes for Health (NIH). These projects include the NSF Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) and the NIH National Research Mentoring Network - CIC Academic Network (NRMN-CAN). Through AGEP, 10 R1 universities, including Rutgers, and five minority-serving partners developed and shared strategies to recruit, retain and graduate STEM PhDs from underrepresented groups. Enrollment and number of earned PhDs for this cohort doubled over 10 years. Continuing synergistic activities beyond the grant period have demonstrated the sustainability of this collaborative model and now extend to retention of underrepresented faculty. NRMN-CAN, a collaboration of the CIC institutions, has created inter-institutional mentoring and grantsmanship training teams to benefit the academic careers of postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty from diverse backgrounds and to change institutional culture by training senior faculty coaches. Launched in 2015, NRMN-CAN shows promise to transfer, scale and sustain best practices across the CIC. 

Peter Guarnaccia

Professor, Human Ecology and Institute for Health, Health Care Policy & Aging Research
School of Environmental & Biological Sciences

I have worked for many years on Latino mental health issues. This presentation focuses on my recent research on anthropological perspectives on acculturation and how that informs immigrant students' academic success.

Immigrant Students' Journeys to Higher Education

This presentation will provide an overview of the journeys to higher education of immigrant students at Rutgers University. The study utilizes the anthropological framework of acculturation to understand how students balanced maintaining their family cultures and learning U.S. culture to successfully get to Rutgers. The data for the study come from 22 focus groups with 160 students recruited through cultural organizations at the University. The study builds on the rich cultural diversity of students at Rutgers and uses students' own experiences and words to describe and analyze their acculturation processes. The study found that there were many different trajectories and outcomes of these acculturation processes that differed among individuals and across cultural groups. One key finding was that students achieved their own and their families' very high educational aspirations by embodying early on the goal of higher education; for many students going to university was an expectation rather than an option and a fulfillment of their families' immigrant dreams. The session will review the findings of the study and provide recommendations for how Rutgers and other institutions can support immigrant students' journeys to higher education. 

Kent Harber

Associate Professor, Psychology College of Arts and Sciences, Newark 

My research examines the positive feedback bias from white instructors to minority learners.

The Language of Interracial Feedback

The Positive Feedback Bias (PFB) is the tendency for white instructors to supply more praise and less criticism to minority learners than to white learners. My previous research pioneered the positive bias, and identified its originating motives. My new research explores the language of interracial feedback. For example, where do whites focus feedback; on minority learners and on their work, or on themselves? To what degree do white instructors convey respectful challenge or patronizing pabulum? These questions were addressed in an NSF-sponsored study, conducted with an expert in social psycholinguistics. The study involved a faux Web site, where white participants believed they were communicating with either an African American or a white writing student. Participants commented upon a poorly written essay supposedly written by the student. They then responded to a set of questions supposedly supplied by the writer, which required extended, extemporaneous responses.

Text analyses of these responses show that feedback to the fictive Black writer was generally more positive in tone (more positive emotion words) and in the evaluation of the writer (e.g. endorsed writer's plan to switch major from social work to journalism). Especially interesting was the moderating effect of discomfort in giving feedback. Discomfort had no influence on feedback to a white writer, but it led to increased positive commentary and more flattering tone to an African American writer. These results indicate that minority learners are being communicated to in a manner that focuses more on reducing instructor tension than on motivating student achievement. 

PowerPoint presentation [PPT]

Stacy Hawkins

Associate Professor, Rutgers Law School 

I write about the intersection of law and diversity both in theory and in practice. In particular, I have written about the intersection of diversity and equal protection doctrine, particularly in the context of higher education admissions, and diversity and employment discrimination law as it relates to workplace diversity efforts.

Mismatched or Counted Out?

This paper explores "mismatch theory," which has received widespread attention in both the legal and popular discourse about race-conscious admissions practices in higher education. Mismatch theory attempts to answer important questions and offer solutions to vexing problems, such as why underrepresented minority students (URMS) are more likely to have poor academic outcomes relative to their white and Asian peers and how to close this higher education achievement gap. The problem, however, is that mismatch theory attempts to answer these questions in a vacuum, isolated from a host of interdisciplinary research in cognitive psychology and behavioral science that bears directly on these questions and that offers important insights for understanding the phenomenon of URMS' academic underperformance. This paper explores the interdisciplinary research and scholarship that mismatch theory ignores, draws important connections between the two, and suggests that mismatch theory cannot fully answer the question of whether race-conscious admissions practices are harmful to URMS (as mismatch theory suggests) without the benefit of this broader interdisciplinary perspective. The paper then offers some alternative considerations born of this broader interdisciplinary perspective that might better inform race-conscious admissions practices and help improve URMS' academic outcomes in the process. 

Sneha Jacob

Assistant Professor of Medicine
Director of HIV Clinical Services, Eric B. Chandler Health Center
Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

My research interests include HIV and South Asia as well as HIV and immigration, and I lead the SATHI- IDO (Infectious Disease Outreach) project for the South Asian Total Health Initiative (SATHI) at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. I am currently the principal investigator of the study “ The Knowledge and Perception Surrounding HIV/AIDS and HIV Testing in the South Asian American Population and South Asian Healthcare Providers” and am a co- author of a literature review of HIV/AIDS in India which is pending publication by the Oxford University Press Encyclopedia of Social Work.

The HIV Epidemic and the South Asian Community

According to the CDC, HIV testing rates are significantly low among Asians. We examined the beliefs, attitudes, knowledge, and barriers related to HIV testing among South Asian (SA) American adults residing in New Jersey, identified at health fairs and community organizations. We administered a total of 740 surveys; approximately one-third (37.2%) of the participants were age > 45 with an even gender distribution. The majority (80.9%) were born in South Asia and 73.9% had at least a college degree. One-fifth (20.1%, n=149) of participants were ever tested for HIV, whereas 73.2% (n=542) were not. Those who were tested were significantly (p<0.05) more likely to be younger, be fluent English speakers, have higher education, personally knew someone with HIV, have received doctor recommendation for HIV testing (39.7% vs 4.2%), and have talked to their partner about HIV (56.4% vs 22.6%). They were also more likely to believe HIV is a manageable chronic disease (60.7% vs 39.0%) and that one can lead a healthy, productive life with HIV (84.5% vs 58.9%); and less likely to believe that HIV spreads by sharing a drinking glass (8.1% vs 14.1%) and by touching a toilet seat (6.8% vs 17.1%), all p<0.05. This is the first study of its scale to examine knowledge and attitudes towards HIV testing in the SA American population. The frequency of HIV testing was considerably low in this community and was strongly influenced by inaccurate perceptions and knowledge about HIV and lack of physician recommendation. Educational efforts particularly targeted towards the SA community are essential to increase their understanding and utilization of HIV testing. 

Ariana Mangual Figueroa

Assistant Professor, Learning & Teaching
Graduate School of Education

Ariana draws from the fields of language socialization and linguistic anthropology to examine language use and learning in multilingual Latino communities living in the United States. She is particularly interested in the ways in which an individual’s linguistic and cultural development is shaped by citizenship status and educational policies and the ways in which this becomes evident in daily, routine interactions.

Speech or Silence: Students’ Talk about Citizenship

This paper provides ethnographic evidence of the ways in which undocumented students make decisions about when to share or hide their migratory status during conversations with peers and teachers in elementary school. The analysis also highlights the pedagogical decisions teachers make that silence or invite students to share these details of their experience. By focusing on students’ talk and teachers’ curricular choices in elementary school classrooms, we can gain insight into the kinds of relationships and opportunities that lead undocumented students to feel secure sharing their experiences with peers and adults. It is important for public school educators and university faculty to know about when and why immigrant children make these decisions if their goal is to create safe spaces for undocumented students in their classrooms. This paper hopes to contribute to an ongoing discussion about educational equity and inclusion for a population that has become increasingly vocal in the national discourse about immigration and education but still often remains invisible to teachers and educational researchers. 

Jane Miller

Professor, Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy

I study mechanisms through which undergraduate students from historically under-represented groups can prepare most effectively for graduate school and professional careers.

Diane M. Davis

Program Director of Project L/EARN, Assistant Professor Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy


Dawne M. Mouzon

Assistant Professor,Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy 

My research focuses on the "Black-White paradox in mental health," or the unexpected finding that Black Americans typically exhibit better mental health outcomes than Whites despite their lower socioeconomic standing and greater exposure to discrimination.


Human, Social, and Cultural Capital for Inclusion

To make substantial inroads into increasing faculty diversity requires widening the pipeline of undergraduates who have the research training to prepare them to be strong candidates for graduate school. Project L/EARN has a 25-year track record as an award-winning training program preparing students for careers in social science health research. We will present our theoretical model of building human-, social-, and cultural capital and explain how it informs our program curriculum and structure, and guides the way we select and train faculty mentors. The human capital training includes both formal coursework taught by program alumni, and individualized research projects under the guidance of faculty mentors. The social and cultural capital components are conveyed by embedding recent trainees in educational and professional networks of faculty and program alumni. We will discuss how our model could be adapted to enhance undergraduate pipeline programs in other disciplines. We will describe the methods and findings of two projects used to evaluate outcomes related to human, social, and cultural capital imparted by our program: (1) a social network analysis of alumni advising networks, and (2) a comprehensive tracking and evaluation database of graduate school placements, careers, publications, and other professional activities. Finally, we will identify several best practices identified during those program evaluations, including components of the summer training program, academic year research, advising workshops about entry-level jobs and graduate school, individualized career guidance, and resources needed to support the interns’ ongoing development to contribute to a more diverse and inclusive faculty and professional workforce. 

Kavitha Ramsamy

Instructor, Africana Studies School of Arts and Sciences 

As a cultural, urban, and political geographer, Dr. Kavitha Ramsamy (Africana Studies, Rutgers-NB) interrogates race, citizenship, social movements, and cosmopolitanism from comparative national perspectives, at the intersection of Black Atlantic Studies and Indian Ocean Studies. Her work compares the interlacing histories, geographies, and struggles for inclusion of African and Asian peoples in the United States and abroad.

Crisis of Representation: Anti-Asian Violence

Modern migration has unsettled the identities of migrants who live, work, and struggle with other populations in new national contexts for rights, opportunities, and recognition. With respect to the US, Jersey City - New Jersey’s second most populous city - has been a historic gateway for immigrants to the New York area. Beginning with the Dutch in the 1600s, Jersey City was populated by successive waves of western European immigrants, followed by Catholics and Jews in the early 1900s. However, as South Asians began to settle there after the 1965 immigration reforms, they were targeted for vandalism and violence as part of a decade-long tide of anti-Asian attacks nationwide, from Vincent Chin’s killing in Detroit in 1982 to the attacks on Koreans during the LA Riots of 1992. The paper first frames the attacks on South Asians in Jersey City within the context of anti-Asian violence nationwide. Second, the attacks are viewed in relation to the demographic and economic restructuring of Jersey City during the preceding decades. The paper shows that as South Asians mobilized against violence, they encountered not only legal and political inertia from local law enforcement and the courts; their struggle for protection under the law foundered on a historic, national pattern of Asian exclusion stemming from the dominant Black-White binary of racial representation in the US. 

Hanin Rashid

Instructor, Department of Psychiatry Robert Wood Johnson Medical School 




Liesel Copeland

Director of Admissions and Medical Education, Office of Education Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

We are interested in diversity in medical education and the implications on healthcare. We are excited to be included in this conference as we are just beginning our research.

Expanding Diversity of Medical School Peers

Improving cultural competence among physicians may lead to better health outcomes for minority populations (Flores et al., 2000). Students from diverse medical schools report greater cultural competence and higher concerns regarding equity and access of care for the underserved (Saha et al., 2008). It is interesting however that only 62% of graduating fourth year medical students agreed with the statement, “the diversity within my medical school class enhanced my training and skills to work with individuals from different backgrounds,” on the 2015 AAMC graduation questionnaire. We surveyed second and fourth year medical students at Rutgers RWJMS about their interpretation and level of agreement with the statement and the educational methods they believe might maximize benefits of class diversity. The results revealed that, the few who disagreed with the statement primarily defined “diversity” and “different backgrounds” as racial or ethnic; however the remaining students reported their interpretation encompassed life experience including cultural background, previous education, age, previous work experience, and other unique characteristics that make up the individual’s history. In addition, student responses revealed implications for maximizing benefits of diversity for interprofessional relationships and patient care. Students taking a broader view of diversity may be influenced by recent initiatives of medical schools to adopt a “holistic review” of applications during admissions, calling for a balanced assessment of an applicant’s capabilities, based on experiences, academic metrics, and attributes, so as to consider “how the individual might contribute value as a medical student and physician” (AAMC). 

Yana Rodgers

Professor, Women's and Gender Studies School of Arts and Sciences

Much of my research has examined the macroeconomic benefits of gender equality, with newer work focusing more on the benefits of legal rights related to LGBT inclusion.

LGBT Inclusion and Economic Development

This study analyzes the impact of social inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people on economic development using cross-country data that includes a newly-created comprehensive database on legal rights for LGBT individuals. When LGBT people are denied full participation in society because of their identities, their human rights are violated, and those violations of human rights are likely to have a harmful effect on a country’s level of economic development. Little empirical research has tested the theoretical prediction - based on several frameworks ranging from the human capital approach to the strategic modernization approach - that inclusion of LGBT people is linked to a stronger economy.

The analysis takes two approaches. First, the study uses a “micro-level” approach that focuses on the experiences of LGBT individuals and defines inclusion as the ability to live one’s life as one chooses. We conduct an extensive review of research on human rights to identify barriers to freedoms for LGBT people that can have an effect on economic development. Second, under the “macro-level” approach, we use multivariate regression to analyze the effect of LGBT legal rights (measured through a newly developed index) on economic development after controlling for other factors that influence development. Hence the analysis in this paper uses data at the individual or group level (the “micro” perspective) and data at the level of countries (the “macro” level) to address the key question: Is LGBT inclusion connected to economic development? 

Julia Sass Rubin

Associate Professor
Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy 

My research presentation focuses on the demographic composition of charter schools and local public school and the impact that charter schools have on the demographic composition of local public schools.

Mobilizing for Diversity and Inclusion

Red Bank, NJ provides a fascinating case study of how communities can mobilize across racial and economic lines to advocate for diversity and inclusion.

Red Bank is home to both a public school district and a charter school. Since its creation 17 years ago, the Red Bank Charter School has consistently educated much lower percentages of economically disadvantaged students and students of color than the Red Bank School District, although both types of publicly-funded schools draw their students exclusively from the city of Red Bank. These demographic differences have intensified over the last few years as the district has experienced a substantial increase in Central American immigrants. By the 2015-16 academic year, 44% of the district’s students were English Language Learners versus 4% of the charter school’s.

In December 2015, the Red Bank Charter School applied to the NJ Commissioner of Education for permission to double its enrollment. District parents quickly organized to resist the expansion, which would be funded out of the District's budget and would lead to dramatic cuts in services for the district’s schools. In addition to the negative financial impact of the expansion, district parents critiqued the charter school’s demographics, dubbing it New Jersey’s most segregated charter school.

A Blue Ribbon commission appointed by Red Bank’s Mayor echoed the parents' concerns and voted overwhelmingly to oppose the expansion. So did Red Bank’s Republican controlled City Council, Republican State Senator, and Democratic Assembly members. The NJ Commissioner of Education subsequently turned down the charter school's expansion request.

The presentation will evaluate what enabled Red Bank district parents to mobilize so successfully across racial, economic and ideological lines.

PowerPoint presentation [PPT]


Atiya S. Strothers

Ph.D. Student, 
Teaching Assistant
Theory, Organization, and Policy 
Graduate School of Education

I use oral history to uncover the secrets to effective Black student mentorship by the late Samuel Dewitt Proctor, one of our university’s most distinguished faculty.

Penetrating the Pipeline: An Exploration of Doctoral Mentorship at Rutgers 

Recently, there have been a number of student protests at major institutions rallying for inclusion and equity. A primary demand is increasing faculty diversity (Flaherty, 2015). According to the 2012 Survey of Earned Doctorates, Blacks comprised approximately 6.3% of doctorate recipients while Whites comprised 53%. Hispanics made up 6.5%, Asians 25%, and American Indian less than 1% (NSF, 2014). The percentage of Black faculty at most historically white institutions is on average, less than 5%. Necessary to this discussion is the production of Black doctorates and the importance of mentorship. I would like to discuss the Black graduate experience and the role that mentoring plays towards the completion of doctoral attainment. How can we discuss equity in education without discussing the lack of equity in the spaces we inhabit? If the field of higher education is serious about addressing faculty diversity and the demands brought forth by the students we serve, then we must consider unique approaches to the question at hand and open our eyes to see that Black faculty and Black doctorates matter. 

Paul Tractenberg

Professor Emeritus
Rutgers School of Law

Paul L. Tractenberg is distinguished public service professor of law at Rutgers- Newark. In 1973, he established the Education Law Center, a public interest law project, and is involved in a number of landmark constitutional cases about public education, including Abbott v. Burke, considered the most important New Jersey court decision of the 20th century. In September 2000, he established and continues to serve as co-director of the Institute on Education Law and Policy, an interdisciplinary research project at Rutgers University–Newark.

Allison Roda

Post-doc Research Fellow, Institute on Education Law and Policy Rutgers School of Law

Allison Roda is Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Institute on Education Law and Policy at Rutgers University-Newark. She received her Ph.D. in sociology and education at Teachers College. She is currently working on two research projects at Rutgers School of Law—one with Paul Tractenberg on school district regionalization for racial balance purposes and the other with Elise Boddie on public school integration in Essex County. Her new book, Inequality in Gifted and Talented Programs examines the relationship among gifted and talented education, school choice, and racialized tracking.

Remedying School Segregation by Choice

New Jersey has one of the most segregated school systems in the country. Ironically, the state also has the strongest state laws requiring schools to have racial balance “whenever feasible.” Creating and sustaining racially diverse public schools requires policies and practices that work. One strategy--Morris School District (MSD)’s remedy--involves the compelled1972 regionalization of two districts-- increasingly Black and urban Morristown and White suburban Morris Township. This historical case study documents the successes and challenges of the consolidated district that emerged.

Through in-depth interviews and focus groups with over 70 district, school and community respondents, we found that MSD has been able to attract and maintain a diverse student body and desegregated schools for over 40 years. This occurred even as the district’s Black student population declined and the Latino student population grew. Central to MSD’s ability to maintain a diverse student population is having a community committed to having a successful public school system.

The biggest challenge for MSD, as with other diverse districts, is breaking down racial/ethnic and socioeconomic boundaries within schools to achieve true integration. Black parents and educators, in particular, cited persistent achievement and discipline gaps between White students and students of color as a problem. The perceived threat of White flight from the district also inhibits detracking the curriculum. We hope that the MSD remedy can be a model both for other diverse school districts grappling with similar issues, and for segregated districts seeking to create diverse schools for the 21st century. 

Jijian Voronka

SSHRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Women's & Gender Studies Newark College of Arts & Sciences

My research explores theories of inclusion and diversity and how they materialize in practice in structural systems that organize around disability and difference.

Inclusion in Mental Health and Homeless Systems

This paper explores the politics of the inclusion of marginalized people with 'lived experience' of homelessness and mental health issues as workers in health/social service systems. In the last decade, commitments to ‘patient engagement’ and community-based best practices have restructured how health and social service systems operate. Through such mandates, the inclusion of service users as 'peer workers' has emerged to help diversify the workforce that supports marginalized clients. In practice, this means explicitly hiring people with lived experience of homelessness/psychiatric disabilities in order to help support those that such systems serve.

I draw on 4 years of ethnographic research to inform just how the integration of marginalized people within service systems works. I show the promises of peer work: how those that are often deemed unemployable are able to reintegrate into paraprofessional fields through peer roles. Yet, paradoxically, ‘peer work’ also entails a shift towards low-paid non- unionized labor and is thus part of a complex gendered political economy of care work – or, what has been termed ‘affective labor.’ This talk opens conversations to the possibilities, conditions, and limits of participatory best practices, and what effects they have for those of us brought in to represent 'diversity, inclusion, and difference' in health and social care settings. 

Jhanae Wingfield

Ed.D. Student, Department of Teaching and Learning Graduate School of Education

I explore how the implementation of culturally relevant art and literacy across STEM curriculum engages and improves the performance of Black and Latino learners.

Teacher as Curator: STEM -> STEAM.LIT

STEM programming has been widely accepted as a way to engage students of all backgrounds in more challenging curricula that makes them globally competitive. Despite the implementation of STEM programming, the increase in rigor throughout districts, and the belief that STEM curricula increases interests for all students, diverse students—particularly those of Black/African and Latin descent—continue to lag behind in academic performance.

The integration of art and literacy across STEM curricula has been introduced as an alternative to support the needs and increasing the interest of students enrolled in STEM programs. Overlaps exist within research that support Culturally relevant pedagogy and the integration of art and literacy across the curriculum as best practices for engaging students of Black/African and Latin descent.

This study will examine how STEM educators use culturally relevant art and literacy integration across the curriculum to engage and improve the performance of Black and Latino students within STEM curriculum. I will explore how teachers define culturally relevant art and literacy integration, examine their process for implementing culturally relevant art and literacy in their classrooms, and discuss teachers’ perceptions of student engagement in their work resulting from arts and literacy integration. 

Jianping Xu

Program Support Coordinator, INSPIRE postdoc training program Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

My research is interdisciplinary, in the areas of gender studies, Asian American studies, (sub)urban studies and globalization studies.

Chinese Academic Migrants: Living on Melon Rinds

Most scholarship in Asian American studies on Chinese people in the U.S. investigates the historical impacts of the Chinese Exclusion Act – a federal law passed in 1882 and repealed in 1943. The sociological focus is on Chinese labor migrants’ and later generations’ identity and community struggles through Chinatowns (Takaki, 1989; Zhou, 2009). Literature is scarce on the diverse experiences of the hundreds of thousands of mainland Chinese students, who, since China and the U.S. resumed educational exchanges in 1978, have come primarily for graduate study. Since the Immigration Act of 1990, many of them have become visible experts in science and engineering. Yet their struggles as Chinese academic migrants simultaneously privileged by their educational backgrounds AND disadvantaged by their outsider status in the U.S. often remain invisible, whether in gender studies, Asian-American studies, science and technology studies, or (sub)urban studies. My dissertation documents how a group of Chinese academic migrants engage with everyday struggles around their paradoxical (im)migrant statuses through participation in a weekend Chinese language school. Drawing upon diverse fields including sociology, history, cultural geography, cultural studies, gender, migration and globalization studies, my research complements both literature about Chinese students here (which focuses on their on-campus adjustment) and studies on weekend Chinese schools (which highlight second generation children’s struggles there). More importantly, its attention to concrete everyday lives and spaces on the micro and local level (while taking note of the global and national forces) complicates prevailing macro analyses of the controversial phenomena of skilled migration and international education.