Photo courtesy of Lincoln University.
Drake University has a new partnership aimed at diversifying its law and pharmacy programs.
Students who graduate from one of three historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) will receive an automatic scholarship once they’re accepted into Drake’s law or pharmacy programs.
“This is part of a broader initiative to increase and better support diversity at Drake,” said Jerry Anderson, dean of Drake’s law school. “Being in the middle of Iowa makes it a challenge to attract a diverse student body.”
Drake partnered with Lincoln University in Missouri and Pennsylvania and Kentucky State University in Kentucky for the program. A press release from Drake said the partnerships are “particularly meaningful because black students continue to be underrepresented nationwide in the fields of law and pharmacy.”
2016 numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics approximate that 6 percent of lawyers and 10 percent of pharmacists are black.
“At the law school, we believe diversity improves the educational environment for all of our students,” Anderson said. “Discussions of important legal issues are enriched when you have students from different backgrounds and viewpoints. Moreover, professionals need to learn how to navigate in diverse environments.”
Law students enrolled in fall 2017 are able to be part of this program. The agreement ends with students enrolling for fall 2020. Those who meet Drake Law’s admission requirements are guaranteed admission and a renewable scholarship to cover at least half of tuition.
For the pharmacy school, admitted, full-time students will get at least $10,000 in scholarship money. That can be renewed until the fourth year. Students enrolling in fall 2018 through fall 2020 are eligible.
“As Drake University continues to prepare students for successful careers and meaningful personal lives, it is vital that we attract dedicated and passionate degree-seekers from all racial and socioeconomic backgrounds,” said Drake Provost Sue Mattison. “We are proud to form these new partnerships that will have a tangible impact on diversity in pharmacy and law and symbolize our broader commitment to equity and inclusion on campus.”
Anderson said this partnership is just one of several ways the law school is looking to welcome a wider population.
It has created a Law Opportunity Leadership Program where minority students can connect with law firms, companies and mentors.
“We have found that many diverse students, particularly if they come from more distant places like Texas or California, sometimes feel isolated or disconnected here,” Anderson said. “We want to help them make connections to the community, both legal and otherwise.”
The law school also set-up a three plus three program with the University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Students are able to finish their undergraduate and law degree in six years instead of seven.