TOPIC: History and Purpose of the MMUF and similar programs



·         The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 2003-2009. Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship. (Give a close look at the MMUF website, especially the “Our Program” area, including sub-sections on Program Mission and Structure.)


·         The Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program at Hunter College. 2009-2010. Read “What is the MMUF? Background & information.”


·         Schmidt, Peter. March 19, 2004. “Not just for minority students anymore.” The Chronicle of Higher Education.


·         Schmidt, Peter. February 3, 2006. “From ‘Minority’ to ‘Diversity.’” The Chronicle of Higher Education.




·         What is the general purpose of the MMUF?

·         How and why has the purpose (and name) changed since the MMUF was established? What do you think about this change?

·         Who was Dr. Benjamin E. Mays?

·         Besides the monetary awards, what does the MMUF offer to Mellons?




·         Begin online applications for 6-12 programs you will apply to in December/January.

·         Outline a 2-3 page rough draft for your generic Statement of Purpose.

·         Contact 3 readers who can provide you with critical feedback for your SOP.

·         Begin studying 1-2 hours/day for the GRE.




·         Decide on a topic to research for your Mellon Conference paper.

·         Contact the professor you’d like to serve as your mentor; inform him/her about the MMUF, the annual conference, and book/travel stipends for Mellon mentors.




TOPIC: Arguments for and against Affirmative Action



·         Wise, Tim. 2003. Whites swim in racial preference. Delaware Housing Coalition.


·         Jensen, Robert. July 19, 1998. White privilege shapes the U.S. Baltimore Sun.


·         Greenhouse, Linda. June 23, 2003. Justices Back Use of Race for College Admissions. The New York Times.


·         Carter, Steven L. 1991. “Racial Preferences? So What?” From Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby. pp. 11-27. Available online (PDF) at:


·         Connerly, Ward. April 15, 2005. On the defensive? National Review Online.


·         Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. June 2, 2009. Public backs affirmative action, but not minority preferences. Pew Research Center Publications.


·         Bowen, Deirdre M. “Meeting Across the River: Why Affirmative Action Needs Race and Class Diversity” (October 25, 2011). Available for download (PDF): or




·         What examples of “affirmative action for whites” (or “white privilege”) do Wise and Jensen point to as grounds for race-based affirmative action?

·         Based on the Supreme Court decisions in 2003 and [former] Justice O’Connor’s statement in the NY Times article, do you think race-based affirmative action will (or should) be eliminated in the next 20 years?

·         What are your views on the arguments raised by Connerly and Carter? Do some of these critiques challenge your thinking more than others?

·         Do the Pew poll results represent a fundamental contradiction in the public’s thinking about affirmative action issues, or do these poll results make sense?

·         Are you convinced by Bowen’s critiques of Sander’s argument that affirmative action should be class-based?




·         Contact 3 professors who will write you letters of recommendation.

·         Give these 3 professors a folder with hard copies of your SOP, writing sample, and any papers you wrote for their classes. Also email them as attachments.

·         Complete a full 2-3 page first draft of your Statement of Purpose.

·         Take the GREs.

·         (in November) Go to Oasis to submit transcript requests (1 transcript per school).

·         (in November) Edit your writing sample and Statement of Purpose to perfection.

·         (in November) Update your resume to emphasize your academic accomplishments.




·         Locate at least 10 sources for your paper; begin a reference page.

·         Identify key research questions and theories in the existing literature on your subject.

·         Hold Meeting 1 with your mentor to discuss how your research will build upon the existing body of literature in your field.

·         (in November) Outline your literature review: bullet-point previous authors’ research questions, theories/arguments, methodologies, data sources, and findings/conclusions.  

·         (in November) In light of what you’ve read from previous researchers’ works, write an introduction to establish your own research question, basic argument, and theoretical framework.






TOPIC: Implications of graduate school enrollment and completion rates



·         National Center for Education Statistics. 2008. Total fall enrollment in degree-granting institutions, by race/ethnicity, sex, attendance status, and level of student: Selected years, 1976 through 2007 (graduate, total). Digest of Education Statistics.


·         National Center for Education Statistics. 2008. Doctor’s degrees conferred by degree-granting institutions, by sex, race/ethnicity, and field of study: 2006-2007. Digest of Education Statustics.


·         Fiegener, Mark K., Program Officer. 2010 Doctorate recipients from United States universities: 2010. National Science Foundation.

(Click on “Interactive Report,” then “Who receives a doctorate?” and “Race and ethnicity”; you may want to click around in the report, generally)


·         Weinberg, Sharon. 2008. Monitoring faculty diversity: The need for a more granular approach. The Journal of Higher Education 79(4): 365-387.  Available through JSTOR at



·         Is there a disconnect in your field between graduate school enrollment rates and doctorate recipient rates, based on race and/or gender? 

·         What major observation does Weinberg draw by employing a “granular” approach to analyze faculty diversity? How does her central argument relate to enrollment and completion rates?

·         What are the implications of these statistics, and Weinberg’s conclusion, for you as students of color headed to graduate school?



·         Complete final draft of Statement of Purpose.

·         Complete online applications for all programs; upload all necessary documents.

·         Follow up on status of recommendation letters; make sure recommenders know exactly how to get their letters to each program.

·         Send transcripts and GRE scores to each program.

·         Send “Thank Yous” to recommenders.



·         Think about how you will avoid “reinventing the wheel” by building upon previous research, particularly in terms of theories/arguments, methodologies, and data sources.

·         Thank your mentor for working with you, and set up Meeting 2 for late January.





TOPIC: Professorial hiring rates and experiences for minorities and women



·         Gose, Ben. 2008. Whatever happened to all those plans to hire more minority professors? Chronicle of Higher Education 55(5): B1.


·         National Center for Education Statistics. 2008. Full-time instructional faculty in degree-granting institutions, by race/ethnicity, sex, and academic rank: Fall 2003—2007. Digest of Education Statustics.


·         National Center for Education Statistics. 2008. Full-time and part-time faculty and instructional staff in degree-granting institutions, by race/ethnicity, sex, and program area: Fall 1998 and fall 2003. Digest of Education Statistics.


·         Moody, JoAnn. 2004. Succeeding as a professor on a majority campus: Advantages and disadvantages. Faculty Diversity: Problems and Solutions. New York: Routledge. 11-38. (Prof. Jenkins has the PDF of this file and will email it to the group)



·         Historically, minorities and women have been grossly underrepresented among university faculty. Is this problem getting better or worse?

·         The second table offers more “granular” statistical data than the first. What does it tell you about your field?




·         Complete a 4—6 page literature review to provide a foundation for your own research. Your review should summarize, analyze, and synthesize theories/arguments, methodologies, and findings from previous research.

·         Hold Meeting 2 with your mentor to revisit your introduction. Discuss your research question in terms of whether it may need to be broadened or narrowed down.   

·         Map out your methodology and potential data sources with your mentor.

·         With your mentor’s input, begin to think about a “short form” or “work in progress” version of your argument for presentation at the Regional Conference (this year: March 4, 2011 at Columbia U.) What are the essentials that you’d like to share with colleagues and get feedback on?






TOPIC: Coping, Maintaining, and Succeeding in Graduate School



·         Salvador, Diana, Nabil Hassan El-Ghoroury, Roxanne Manning, and Tanya Williamson. 2009. A survival guide for ethnic minority graduate students. American Psychological Association.


·         Milner, H. Richard. 2004. African American graduate students’ experiences: A critical analysis of recent research. In A Long Way to Go, ed. Darrell Cleveland. New York: Peter Lang Publishing. 19-30. (Prof. Jenkins has the PDF of this file and will email it to the group)




·         Salvador, et al and Milner discuss several potential problems unique to minority graduate students. What are these problems, and how do they suggest addressing them?

·         Everyone has reservations about graduate school. What are yours? Do you have some ideas about how you might deal with them when the time comes?



At this meeting we will also go over presentation tips and tricks and talk specifically about what to expect at the Regional Conference.



·         Outline the body of your research, with specific discussions of your theory/argument, methods, data, and evidence for your findings.

·         Begin turning your outline into paragraph form for the body of your paper.

·         Refine your “short form”/work-in-progress for presentation at the Regional Conference








·         Complete the body of your paper.

·         Edit your introduction and literature review so that each section flows together.

·         Email your paper to your mentor and schedule Meeting 3.

·         Hold Meeting 3 for an in-depth discussion for each section of your paper.

·         Begin to think about your upcoming presentation at the Hunter College MMUF Conference. In consultation with your mentor, consider what you want to cover in your presentation and how best to present it to an interdisciplinary audience (reading, “talking” your ideas, PowerPoint, etc)




TOPIC: The perqs of life in academia








·         As you think ahead to a career in academia, what do you see as the positives (even beyond those that are listed)? Make a list as a group!

·         What do you see as the negatives?

·         Write a conclusion for your paper.

·         Prepare to present your research at the annual Hunter College Mellon Conference.

·         (in May) Prepare your paper for submission to the MMUF Journal or another undergraduate journal.




TOPIC: Reflections on this year’s Fellowship, and giving back



·         No readings, just conversation and reflection!



·         Think about how your mindset has changed since last September. What’s one thing you’ve learned from being part of the MMUF that surprised you?

·         As you look ahead to next school year, what can you do—wherever you will be—to encourage next year’s new Mellon cohort?