Penn State Dickinson Law has been leading with an Antiracist admissions philosophy and corresponding plans for implementation before the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. Arguably, this approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)was not identified explicitly as a vision priority for the law school until July 2019, when Dickinson Law welcomed Danielle M. Conway as the first Black Dean and first woman Dean in the law school’s 186-year history. Dean Conway outlined four vision priorities to accomplish within her first five years at Dickinson Law. Vision priority number two calls upon the law school’s administrators to move the needle substantially on DEI within the student body and among faculty and staff. While Admissions Team members were eager to embrace the worthy objective of Antiracist enrollment management, their efforts were aided by the cultural shift happening within the larger context of the Dickinson Law community. The three central elements integral to Antiracist enrollment management at Dickinson Law include: (1) embracing visionary leadership with clear prioritization of DEI goals; (2) utilizing data-driven recruitment and strategic resource allocation; and (3) explicitly articulating cultural shifts within the law school community (see Proposals 2 and 3) to prospective students.
Dickinson Law has historically defined diversity broadly, to include racially and ethnically minoritized communities, women, individuals with disabilities, students of nontraditional graduate school age, members of the LGBTQ community, individuals from rural and under resourced communities, veterans, and any other individuals who have experienced marginalization or subordination in educational settings. While we aim to craft a student body that represents multitudes of these—often intersecting—identities, this paper focuses specifically on our ability to recruit, enroll, and retain racially and ethnically minoritized students.
Rutgers Race & the Law Review
Danielle M. Conway, Bekah Saidman-Krauss, and Rebecca Schreiber, Building an Antiracist Law School: Inclusivity in Admissions and Retention of Diverse Students—Leadership Determines DEI Success, Forthcoming Rutgers Race & L. Rev. (2021).