UF's graduate school will soon be mining some "untapped diamonds" in the form of master's degree students at historically black colleges and universities.
The HBCU-UF Master's to Ph.D. Pathway Project is an initiative to increase doctoral student diversity at UF and attract students who would not ordinarily consider pursuing a Ph.D., said Janet Broiles, recruitment and graduation coordinator for Graduate Minority Programs.
Henry Frierson, associate vice president and dean of UF's Graduate School, started the program because he encountered many talented master's degree students - the "untapped diamonds" - who had not entertained the idea of getting a Ph.D., Broiles said.
Under the project, faculty members identify outstanding master's students during their first year of graduate school.
If the student decides to pursue a Ph.D. at UF, he or she would spend the second year of the master's program working with a UF faculty member.
That faculty member would provide guidance.
The student would then apply to a UF doctoral program.
"There's certainly no guarantee," Frierson said.
Pathway Project students must apply and undergo review like every other applicant.
Their master's degree work would be reviewed heavily, Frierson said.
UF will collaborate with 13 colleges on the project.
Broiles said she expects two or three students to be selected from each partner school.
The first group of Pathway Project participants is projected to matriculate at UF in Fall 2013.
Some of the partner schools have doctoral programs, but those programs may not be in the areas students want to continue to study in, Broiles said.
Frierson selected schools for the project with different Ph.D. programs from UF.
The project specifically targets historically black colleges and universities because they contain a pool of students who don't usually attend bigger universities, Broiles said.
The project also seeks to increase diversity of UF's doctoral students.
"I think any time you can bring in individuals with philosophies and backgrounds into a research arena, it broadens the depth and scope of research that the university can put forth," Broiles said.