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Exploring Graduate Students' Identity Construction and Socialization to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Scholars and educators increasingly recognize enduring racialized and gendered inequities in students’ access to, experiences in, and outcomes of graduate education in the United States. Yet, much of the research on graduate education typically emphasizes students’ socialization to their academic disciplines and fields of practice without considering how students are socialized to equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI), nor how their socialization experiences influence graduate students’ evolving professional, disciplinary, and personal/social identities. With Dr. Rosemary J. Perez (Iowa State University), I co-conducted a multi-site, multi-method qualitative case study to explore graduate students’ identity construction and socialization to EDI. Findings offer implications for departmental and institutional leaders, faculty advisors, and scholars across disciplines seeking to enact equity in graduate education through policy, practice, and pedagogy, as well as for future research on graduate education. This project received funding awards from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and the Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment at Virginia Tech, and by the College of Human Sciences at Iowa State University.

Biosketch:  Claire K. Robbins is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education at Virginia Tech. Her research explores equity, diversity, and inclusion in graduate education; graduate students’ development, socialization, and learning; and critical perspectives on race, gender, and student development. Using primarily qualitative methodologies and critical theoretical perspectives, Dr. Robbins problematizes intersecting systems of oppression, especially racism, in graduate education. She is the author of over 20 publications, including peer-reviewed journal articles, invited book and monograph chapters, encyclopedia entries, and professional and research reports. Recent and forthcoming work appears in publications such as the Journal of Higher Education, Journal of College Student Development, Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, and Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education. Dr. Robbins is a former student affairs educator and has over 15 years of experience working in U.S. colleges and universities.