Diversity in BSOS

Mission & Principles

Valuing Diversity

The mission of BSOS’s Diversity Initiative and of our assistant dean for diversity is to provide leadership to the college in the areas of recruitment, retention, and professional development among members of minority groups, and to increase graduation rates of diverse student populations. This mission also includes the promotion of faculty and staff diversity and the fostering of research and scholarship that positively impacts ethnic minority communities. These efforts are led by Assistant Dean for Diversity Kim Nickerson.

Organizing Principle

Excellent diversity strategies in higher education reach far beyond the recruitment, retention, and graduation of diverse students. Rather, these strategies must seek to better prepare institutions to sustain diversity at all levels.

Guiding Principles

Excellence: BSOS’s Diversity Initiative strives to prepare students for successful long-term careers and accomplishments regardless of their terminal degree level or chosen career path.

Exposure: The Diversity Initiative provides students with early and meaningful exposure to not only research and ideas, but also to the research and academic or private sector enterprises that promote future success.

Comprehensiveness: Our successful Diversity Initiative is comprehensive in scope and addresses diversity among students, faculty and staff, and diversity across all areas of scholarship and research.

Multidisciplinary Approach: Our Diversity Initiative is multidisciplinary, building collaboration across departments within the college, but also across other academic units at the University of Maryland and beyond.

Responsiveness: The Diversity Initiative incorporates solid tracking and evaluation into a process that provides direction for the Initiative and guideposts for course corrections. The evaluation is both formative and outcome-focused. 

Diversity Leadership

Our Assistant Dean for Diversity

Dr. Kim Nickerson joined the College of Behavioral & Social Sciences as the Assistant Dean for Diversity in 2006. He also currently serves as the Diversity Officer for the College. In both capacities, Dr. Nickerson plays a leadership role in maximizing the educational and career outcomes of the College’s students, faculty and staff, as well as helping foster an environment that values diversity. 

Before joining the University of Maryland, Dr. Nickerson was Director of the American Psychological Association’s Minority Fellowship Program. He has more than 17 years of experience in creating and administering training programs to guide underrepresented minority students into science careers across the spectrum of behavioral and social science disciplines. Dr. Nickerson has also consulted with federal agencies and universities regarding diversity and increasing the presence of underrepresented ethnic minorities in the sciences, including serving on grant review panels at the NIH, NSF and SAMHSA.

Dr. Nickerson’s research interests have focused on race, ethnic and cultural factors related to health and mental health statuses, and in the use and effectiveness health and mental health services for ethnic minorities. He is also interested in the general field of health disparities as well as the ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) of genomics, especially the ELSI issues related to ethnic minority communities.  He has served on the National Advisory Council for the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), and also as a member of the NHGRI ELSI Research Advisors Group.

Kim Nickerson