18 Ways to Support Historically Marginalized Doctoral Students

by drfelder



In our efforts towards increasing awareness about the historically marginalized experience, our first blog post of the year provides 18 ways to build support capacity for supporting academic success and degree completion for graduate students.  These recommendations are drawn from theoretical and practical guidance from scholarly communities committed to creating environments where students matter.  Socialization and student experience, scholarly development, and finance are critical in the journey towards doctoral degree completion.  We ask that you consider how to incorporate these ideas into your intellectual communities.

Socialization/Student Experience

  1. Honor students’ developing and emerging belief systems connected to a doctoral student research agenda.
  2. Honor student identities theoretically and practically.
  3. Cultivate leadership and support systems that prioritize cultural wealth and appreciation.
  4. Discover opportunities in alignment with students’ cultural, practical and theoretical interests.
  5. Provide opportunity for meaningful engagement.
  6. Prioritize cultural wealth in advisement and mentorship practices.

Scholarly Development

  1. Implement culturally relevant teaching and administrative policies and practices based on scholarship that centers the historically marginalized student experience.
  2. Create collaborative writing opportunities for historically marginalized doctoral students that support reflection on their own experiences.
  3. Embrace culturally relevant frameworks when writing about historically marginalized doctoral experiences.
  4. Strengthen support and participation in peer-reviewed journal articles focused on culturally relevant research.
  5. Invest in published resources and professional associations fees and funding support efforts.
  6. Cite scholarship written by and for historically marginalized communities.


  1. Minimize financial burden of lifestyle expenses.
  2. Develop institutional partnerships that facilitate fully-funded academic opportunities focused on recruitment and retention.
  3. Work with policymakers to advocate for policies that strengthen graduate students’ financial wealth positionality.
  4. Identify community-based programs and opportunities for graduate student grants and scholarships.
  5. Increase opportunities for assistantships and scholarships.
  6. Create/provide activities that involve students’ families and extended support network.