Multicultural student enrollment increases in the College of Human Sciences

Tracy Robinson

The College of Human Sciences recently announced its undergraduate minority enrollment increased by 22 percent since this time last year, and it has increased 93 percent in the last seven years.

The college’s multicultural enrollment numbers have grown 58 percent faster than Iowa State’s as a whole and 49 percent faster in similar colleges and departments all over the nation.

The diversity coordinator for the College of Human Sciences, Denise Williams, stated that there is growth across the board in all of the majors but enrollment is particularly high in the following five majors: athletic training, hospitality management and apparel, apparel merchandising, design, and childhood development. Williams credits the growth in enrollment by the way the courses are taught.

“All of our majors and programs encourage real-world experience and a lot of hands-on training,” Williams said. “We believe that gaining the experience the will need later is what draws them to our college.”

Along with the one-on-one meetings with advisers, the College of Human Sciences strives to make their multicultural students feel more at home by providing programs and clubs for them to join. Linda Hagedorn, the associate dean for undergraduate programs, said she believes that these clubs help the members feel as if they belong.

“The clubs and programs are like little communities for the members,” Hagedorn said. “It makes them feel more connected to each other and to the campus as a whole.”

Programs such as Connect 4 and Trans Four help minority freshmen and transfer students feel more at home on campus. Each group meets every other week to discuss academic issues as well as opportunities to study abroad.

The meetings are led by older minority students that have gone through leadership training. The older students that lead the meets become mentors to the freshmen and transfer students and meet with each member one-on-one to discuss things that the particular student is worried about or struggling with.

It has been shown that minority members who are in programs such as these have higher GPAs and are more likely to return to Iowa State than nonmembers.

As the multicultural students advance in their education, the College of Human Sciences goes from welcoming the students to providing professional clubs for them to join. Clubs such as ISU Leaders in Eduaction and Diversity, the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality and AMD Multicultural Organization have been made for the students to get more connected to the professional world.

These programs have been started by students to help encourage students to take up leadership and mentoring positions as well as advance academically.

“Some of my best experiences here at Iowa State have been things that pushed me beyond what I normally would do,” reflected senior in kinesiology and health, Malaika Muvundamina. “Participating in the clubs that the College of Human Sciences has to offer has really helped me with that.”

Despite its success, Williams said the College of Human Sciences is still looking to improve. 

“We have a long way to go and we are always trying to improve our college,” Williams said. “The best thing we can do to reach where we want to be is to listen to our students.”