Integrate > Program Design > Increase Diversity > Program Descriptions > University of South Alabama

Supporting Minority Students at University of South Alabama

Information for this profile was provided by Carol F. Sawyer, University of South Alabama. Information is also available on the program website.

Jump Down To: Context | Keys to Success | Attracting New Students | Supporting Our Majors | Preparing Students for Careers | Additional Information

University of South Alabama


The University of South Alabama is a regional, comprehensive four-year institution with an enrollment of 15,000 students. Approximately 35% of students are minorities whereas the community is comprised of 55% minorities. The Department of Earth Sciences has approximately 20-25% minorities in their three programs of geography, geology, and meteorology. The combined enrollment of the three programs is approximately 260 students.

Keys to Success

  • Attracting new students through the introductory courses students take for natural and social science credit, the popularity of our faculty, and talking with students at recruitment events.
  • Supporting our majors through mandatory advising, student clubs, field trips to conferences, and scholarship and internship opportunities. am to reflect new technology and ideas in the field.
  • Preparing students for careers through maintaining ties with our graduates to detect new trends or required instruction, arrange field trips to conferences for students to network, and work with students to strengthen their research and writing abilities.

Attracting New Students

Over 1,000 students take introductory courses in geology and geography each year for natural and social science credit. These classes are a perfect opportunity to show students the diversity of both programs and the career opportunities available to those majoring in each program. Also, our students report that a large reason why they were attracted to the programs were our faculty: their teaching styles, approachability, and subjects they taught. We also attend recruitment events the university organizes several times each year.

Supporting Our Majors

In the Department of Earth Sciences we have six student clubs for interact and provide a support system for each other. In geography, we take field trips (short and multi-day) each year which are very low-cost to the students and provides them the opportunity to forge a better social support system and learn field techniques. All students in the department are required to meet with their academic advisor at least once per semester. Many professors meet with their advisees several times to help them refine their career goals and prospects as well as keep them on track to graduate. The department provides a limited number of scholarships across all three programs with students also able to apply for scholarships within the college. We also work with students to find outside funding and internships.

Preparing Students for Careers

Students are being prepared to go into a graduate program, a government agency, or industry. As we do not have a graduate program here, we either take students to nearby programs or invite the faculty here to talk with students. We maintain ties with our graduates to detect new trends or required instruction and adjust our program accordingly. We also arrange field trips to regional and national conferences for students to network with potential employers and meet other students. Our program also requires students take several courses that strengthen their research and writing abilities.

Addition Information