Northern Illinois University's commitment to attracting and retaining students from underrepresented groups produces results for the students who enroll at NIU, for the university, and for the broader community. More recent surveys of minority degree recipients recognize Northern's continuing commitment to underrepresented graduate students.
In 2002, according to Black Issues in Higher Education, NIU awarded more doctoral degrees in education to African Americans than any other public university in the nation. NIU ranked in the top 50 percentage wise for the number of doctoral degrees awarded to African-Americans at state-supported universities. NIU ranked 67th for granting doctorates to all minority students at state supported institutions.
In 2006, Diverse Issues in Higher Education ranked NIU among the nation's top 50 public institutions for the number of master’s degrees and the number of computer and information sciences masters awarded to Hispanics. The university also ranked in the top 20 of public institutions for the number of computer and information sciences masters awarded to Asian Americans.
Recognizing the impact of a diversified professoriate, the Illinois General Assembly created the DFI program in 2004. Its goals are to encourage minority students to complete graduate studies, pursue research agendas and publish, with the larger purpose of enhancing the diversity of faculty and professional staff at Illinois colleges and universities. (Read more)