Dr. Marcus Whitehurst understands the importance of maintaining diversity on elite college campuses across the nation. For 17 years, Dr. Whitehurst has served as the Vice Provost for Penn State University.
During rolling out’s visit to Penn State, Dr. Whitehurst spoke about the role diversity plays in higher education and the biggest problem that threatens the future of equality at major colleges and universities. –amir shaw
How does diversity play a key role in what you do as vice provost for education equity at Penn State University?
A part of my job is to provide leadership when it comes to diversity initiatives at the university and to insure that Penn State continues to recruit and hire the best faculty from diverse backgrounds. We also continue to recruit, retain and graduate a diverse group of students who come from various backgrounds. Not only do we look to recruit a diverse student based on race and ethnicity, we also want to make sure that we have a diversity of first generation and low-income students to also come to Penn State.
What will be the biggest issue regarding diversity in the future?
I think the biggest challenge that we’re faced with is the financial challenges. I think that we find that a lot of our students have these problems at Penn State and particularly from those that come from economically challenged backgrounds. It’s been a difficult time funding, but we hope to raise scholarships primarily for those students who have some economic challenges covering their tuition here. And that is our goal for the near future. We want to continue to raise scholarships and not forget those who come from economically challenged backgrounds. We still want to make sure that we provide them with an opportunity of higher education so that they can be successful and hopefully change their current situation in life through education.
What advice do you have for first generation college students?
We encourage students to make sure that they research, identify and utilize all of the resources that are available for them at Penn State. We want to meet all students who come to the university and answer any questions that they might have. We want them to not only enjoy they’re time to be here, but the ultimate goal is that we want everyone to graduate.