Effective admissions practices to achieve greater student diversity in dental schools
In this chapter we describe the institutional and policy-level strategies that dental schools in the Pipeline, Profession, and Practice: Community-Based Dental Education program used to modify their admissions practices to increase the diversity of their student bodies. Schools developed and used clear statements recognizing the value of diversity. They incorporated recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings regarding educational diversity into their revised admissions practices; these rulings cited diversity as both a "scompelling interest" and its use in only "narrowly tailored" circumstances. We make a case for admissions decisions based on a comprehensive evaluation that balances the quantitative and qualitative qualities of a candidate. It refutes the practice of overreliance on standardized tests by detailing the whole-file review process to measure merit and professional promise. Also described is a range of noncognitive variables (e.g., leadership, ability to sustain academic achievement with competing priorities, volunteerism, communication, social background, and disadvantaged status) that schools can take into consideration in admissions decisions. Admissions committees can tie this comprehensive review of candidates into the case for promoting cross-cultural understanding and enhanced competence to provide care to patients from diverse backgrounds. In addition, the chapter reviews the challenges schools face in developing admissions policies and procedures that reflect the university's mission for diversity. It addresses the importance of a diverse composition of the admissions committee. It also describes how tailored workshops and technical assistance for admissions committees can help schools improve their student diversity and how admissions committees can engage in a process of periodic review of their diversity objectives in relationship to the school's mission.
Price, Shelia S. and Grant-Mills, Donna, "Effective admissions practices to achieve greater student diversity in dental schools" (2010). College of Dentistry Faculty Publications. 103.