4c. Experiences Working with Diverse Candidates

1. What opportunities do candidates (including candidates at off-campus sites and/or in distance learning programs) have to interact with candidates from diverse groups?

The small size of our classes requires close interaction among all students throughout their matriculation through the program.  In addition, unit faculty seek to highlight the various perspectives that all candidates bring to the learning experience through the use of small group projects or discussions, and paired activities. Group projects are used often to allow candidates to learn from various perspectives based on their backgrounds and to utilize the strengths of our diversity to prepare for their professional lives. 

Professional student organizations, such as IEA/NEA in the School of Education, provide candidates with other valuable opportunities to interact with diverse peers.  Candidates reflect the mission of the unit as they assume leadership roles in student government and in sororities and fraternities, as residence hall advisors, and through the Center for Multicultural Student Affairs.

Candidates have numerous opportunities to participate in sponsored activities designed to promote interaction of diverse student groups. As one example, university students may elect to participate in January, May, and Summer Immersion travel experiences abroad. Specific to the School of Education, teacher candidates travel to the Dominican Republic, Taiwan, and China where they meet other teachers, other university students, and have a better understanding of other cultures and educational institutions. Students may also choose to attend the regional IEA conference in Bloomington/Normal, Illinois where they meet other students from a variety of universities. Some students choose to complete an internship or their student teaching within the Chicago Public Schools under the supervision of the Chicago Center for Urban Life and Culture. This experience provides an excellent opportunity for students to live and work with diverse student groups in a large metropolitan area.

2. Please complete the following table (Table 9 Candidate Demographics) to identify the gender, ethnic, and racial diversity of candidates preparing to work in P-12 settings using the U.S. Census categories.

Table 9

Candidate Demographics

Sources: 2008 Illinois Professional Education Data System (IPEDS) Report &

“ACT Profile Report – State – Graduating Class 2009 – Illinois” (column 5 only)





Candidates in Initial Teacher Preparation


n (%)

Candidates in Advanced Preparation Programs

n (%)


All Students in the Institution

n (%)

Diversity of Geographical Area Served by Institution


American Indian or Alaska Native



9        (.4%)



3         (1.4%)


33      (1.4%)


Black or African American, non-


7         (3.3%)

4       (8.3%)

205    (8.9%)


Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific






Hispanic or Latino

3           (1.4%)


61        (2.7%)


White, non-Hispanic

194     (90.6%)

39   (81.2%)

1871    (81.5%)


Two or more races









3       (6.3%)

30       (1.3%)


Race/ethnicity unknown

7           (3.3%)

2       (4.2%)

87       (3.8%)








172     (80.4%)

23   (47.9%)

1434    (62.5%)




42       (19.6%)

25   (52.1%)

862      (37.5%)








3. What efforts does the unit make to recruit and retain candidates from diverse groups?

The university’s admissions department maintains contact information from perspective students. Our unit divides up these names and personally contacts these perspective students. We make personal contacts through notes and e-mails. As our way of introducing perspective students to Millikin’s mission and culture of community learning, we explain various components of our program and positive aspects of Decatur and the opportunities for learning that students may encounter.

The university has diversity scholarships from different endowed funds that they distribute to diverse students. One of these is the Long-Vanderburg Scholarship program. Millikin University is also a member of the Associated Colleges of Illinois (ACI). For the years 2005-2008, ACI sponsored a scholarship program called “Diversity at the Blackboard” as part of a federal grant. The purpose of the scholarship was to increase the numbers of male and/or ethnic minority students pursuing teacher education licensure with a desire to teach in high-needs districts. We encouraged our ethnically diverse and male teacher candidates to sign up for these scholarship funds, if they wanted to teach in a high-needs district.

Through the Associated Colleges of Illinois, if another federal grant is funded, we are planning a Summer Academy for area high school students who are in Future Teacher organizations or may be interested in teaching. Currently, Middle and High School students from Decatur are periodically invited to campus to participate in science conferences, star-gazing events, entrepreneurial workshops and social occasions sponsored by sororities. The two high schools in Decatur are very diverse and we would like to attract more of these students to Millikin University by offering a variety of campus activities for them to attend prior to their college visitation process.

In working to retain our current students, we encourage a close faculty advising and mentoring relationship with teacher candidates. This relationship encourages the retention of our candidates, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college. Many of our candidates come to Millikin because they are attracted to the small university climate, the opportunity to have close academic relationships with professors, and the desire to have individualized attention to create programs of learning that fit their learning needs.