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Juan E. Gilbert, Ph.D. Associate Professor Auburn University Computer Science & Software Engineering Human Centered Computing Lab

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1 Juan E. Gilbert, Ph.D. Associate Professor Auburn University Computer Science & Software Engineering Human Centered Computing Lab

2 US Supreme Court vs. UMich Two land mark cases challenged the University of Michigan admissions policies Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003) Gratz v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 244 (2003)

3 US Supreme Court vs. UMich When the Law School denied admission to petitioner Grutter, a white Michigan resident with a 3.8 GPA and 161 LSAT score, she filed suit, alleging that respondents had discriminated against her on the basis of race.

4 US Supreme Court vs. UMich She felt that she had been discriminated against because Michigan gave preference to minorities by weighting race.

5 US Supreme Court vs. UMich This problem occurred because Michigan understands the benefits of racial/ethnic diversity. The number of qualified applicants exceeded the number of admissions slots. Hence, some qualified applicants had to be turned away.

6 US Supreme Court vs. UMich The Supreme Court issued clear, strong, unequivocal language endorsing Justice Powells opinion in Bakke, holding that the promotion of student body diversity is a compelling interest when necessary to achieve a schools educational mission, and can justify the use of race as a plus factor in a competitive admissions process where all applicants are on the same footing for consideration. Malcolm, S.M., Chubin, D.E. & Jesse, J.K., Standing Our Ground: A Guide for STEM Educators in the Post-Michigan Era, AAAS (2004)

7 US Supreme Court vs. UMich A university has discretion, grounded in the First Amendment, in matters of academic judgment and does not have to exhaust every conceivable race- neutral alternative before considering race as one of many factors in order to satisfy the narrowly tailored definition, as long as the university engaged in a serious, good faith consideration of workable race- neutral alternatives that will achieve the diversity. A university is not required to actually adopt those alternatives if the university deems them inappropriate or unworkable. Malcolm, S.M., Chubin, D.E. & Jesse, J.K., Standing Our Ground: A Guide for STEM Educators in the Post-Michigan Era, AAAS (2004)

8 US Supreme Court vs. UMich A program implementing a flexible, holistic, individualized consideration of each applicant where race is only one of several relevant factors considered is likely to satisfy the narrowly tailored definition, whereas a program implementing a rigid, numerical value to each applicant based, even only in part, on race is less likely to be upheld and the automatic awarding of points based only on race is not permissible. Malcolm, S.M., Chubin, D.E. & Jesse, J.K., Standing Our Ground: A Guide for STEM Educators in the Post-Michigan Era, AAAS (2004)

9 I strongly support diversity of all kinds, including racial diversity in higher education. But the method used by the University of Michigan to achieve this important goal is fundamentally flawed. America is a diverse country, racially, economically, and ethnically. And our institutions of higher education should reflect our diversity. US Supreme Court vs. UMich Remarks by President George W. Bush on the Michigan Affirmative Action Case, The Roosevelt Room, January 15, 2003.

10 A college education should teach respect and understanding and goodwill. And these values are strengthened when students live and learn with people from many backgrounds. Yet quota systems that use race to include or exclude people from higher education and the opportunities it offers are divisive, unfair and impossible to square with the Constitution. US Supreme Court vs. UMich Remarks by President George W. Bush on the Michigan Affirmative Action Case, The Roosevelt Room, January 15, 2003.

11 US Supreme Court vs. UMich The Court decided that race could be considered in admissions decision, but could not be the deciding factor. Although this decision appears to support affirmative action efforts, it limits how race can be used to achieve diversity goals. In sum, the Supreme Court ruled that diversity could be used in university-based admissions, but did not specify how diversity should be used.

12 US Supreme Court vs. UMich As a result, several academic institutions have spent large sums of money to holistically evaluate admissions applications. University of Michigan, $1.8 Million Time intensive Point systems minus race/ethnicity When university-based admission offices holistically evaluate applications. How does this translate into practice? What techniques could be employed to compare large volumes of applications?

13 US Supreme Court vs. UMich Ideally, a holistic evaluation would involve all the variables on an admissions application, such that no single variable (e.g. race/ethnicity) is the sole determinant of the admissions decision. Rather, a collection of those variables are used to determine the admissions decision.

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15 US Supreme Court vs. UMich Imagine trying to holistically evaluate thousands of qualified applications? Not possible, for humans.

16 Computer Aided Holistic Evaluation What if every application was compared to every other application? We would find similar applications in groups or clusters. Summer 2003; The idea Fall 2003; Meeting with Drs. Walker & Wilson Spring 2004; Applications Quest Fall 2005; Open Source

17 What is Applications Quest?

18 Applications Quest Applications Quest is a software tool that clusters admissions applications based on holistic comparisons. This software uses clustering algorithms to automatically compare thousands of applications to each other and place them into groups, based upon a holistic view of their similarity (i.e., similar applications appear within the same cluster). The clusters represent diverse applicant pools.

19 Applications Quest Applications Quest uses attribute-values on an application to determine similarity. GPA, GRE, GMAT, Essay, Race/Ethnicity, City, State, Citizenship, Gender, Major, Degree The more attributes in common, the more similar the applications.

20 Similar Applications

21 How Similar?

22 The Applications Quest Approach

23 Applications Quest Approach Numeric Attributes GPA, GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, etc. Opinion Attributes Essays, Personal Statements, etc. Nominal Attributes Race/Ethnicity, Gender, Major, Degree

24 Applications Quest Clustering Applications are translated into an n-dimensional space, e.g. plotted as points on an x,y,z axis Divisive Assume all points belong to one cluster At each step, select most different points Split the cluster around the two points Eventually each point is a cluster When do you stop? When the specified number of clusters have been met.

25 Applications Quest Clustering

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30 US Supreme Court vs. UMich Revisited If Michigan had been using Applications Quest, what would have happened in the Gratz and Grutter cases?

31 Progress Report

32 Progress Report - Funding NSF ITWF: Scholars of the Future: An Implementation Model for Increasing Diversity in Information Technology # Funds used to support Applications Quest Auburn University Outreach Grant

33 Progress Report in the Press Diverse (formerly Black Issues in Higher Education) The Chronicle of Higher Education Contra Cost Times – San Francisco Berkeley Planet Recruitment and Retention in Higher Education University Business

34 Progress Report Investigated licensing deal with 4 companies Admissions application processing Government hiring Ideal candidate application processing

35 Progress Report Applied for patent on the application of this clustering algorithm. Applications Quest prototype using AU Graduate School Applications. Multi-University Pilot Study

36 Progress Report Pilot Study Protocol Privacy Agreement Submit sample applications Identify admitted students Process the applications with Applications Quest Identify the Difference Index for Both Populations

37 Progress Report – Best Practices Establish Minimum Admissions Requirements Test Scores, GPA, etc. The Admission Bar

38 Progress Report – Best Practices Two Part Admissions Process First Part Typical applications attributes Test scores, GPA, Recommendation Letters, etc. Do you meet The Admissions Bar? Do you have 2 bars? One for automatic admits and one for prospective admits

39 Progress Report – Best Practices Second Part For those that met or exceed The Admissions Bar Collect Diversity information Race/Ethnicity, Gender, Political Affiliation, Memberships, Legacy, Athlete, Views, etc. Views Age, Religion, etc. The hard stuff that enriches the educational experience

40 Progress Report – Best Practices Two Part Admissions Process Use Applications Quest to process the applications that meet or exceed The Admissions Bar

41 Progress Report – Best Practices University Wide Diversity Use the existing university students as part of the admissions process On going collaboration with Dr. Richard Tapia at Rice University (Naomi Reed, M.S. Student in Computational Mathematics) Rice University -

42 Progress Report – Best Practices Targeted Hires Submit an ideal application and interview members of the ideal applicants cluster.

43 Progress Report – Best Practices Usability Studies Whats the ideal N size? Can Applications Quest find N? Studies are underway.

44 Progress Report – Whats Next? February 27, 2006 Communications of the ACM Article Ongoing pilot studies Publish Best Practices Journal of College Admission Press Release Fall 2007

45 Applications Quest Summary Holistic Evaluations are Humanly Impossible. Diversity is a worth while cause. And has been for a very long time.

46 Applications Quest Summary Aristotle was open to the ideal of diversity, acknowledging that it could be useful for political discussion. He believed that conflict was inevitable and that multiple points of view served to make democracy stronger. For Aristotle, the state was better described as a plurality (made of many) than a unity (made of one); he understood the polity as requiring difference rather than homogeneity. Frank, J. (2005). A democracy of distinction: Aristotle and the work of politics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

47 Applications Quest Summary Mills Market Place of Ideas [T]here are many truths of which the full meaning cannot be realized until personal experience has brought it home. But much more of the meaning even of these would have been understood, and what was understood would have been far more deeply impressed on the mind, if the man had been accustomed to hear it argued pro and con by people who did understand it. (p. 105) Mill, J. S. (1974). On liberty. London: Penguin Books. (Original work published 1859)

48 Applications Quest Summary People want transparent, fair and equitable admissions policies. Applications Quest meets all of these requirements and its free! The 2 phase admissions process works!

49 Applications Quest Summary What if every academic institution in the nation used Applications Quest? How would students apply to college? Apply to increase their diversity/uniqueness So what would be the national outcome? Uniform diversity? Something to think about

50 Thank You Juan E. Gilbert, Ph.D. Associate Professor Auburn University Computer Science & Software Engineering Human Centered Computing Lab


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