Rutgers University, Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick
Category: Engaging a Diverse Community
Location: Newark and New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States
Accreditation Status: Accredited
Innovation Title: Business Student Transition at Rutgers (RBS B-STAR) Program
To support high-potential first-year minority students admitted to the Rutgers Business School (RBS), the school established the Office of Diversity Programs and implemented RBS B-STAR, a credit-bearing, multi-year student tracking and engagement program.
Call to Action
In direct response to Rutgers University’s mission and goals to strengthen diversity, inclusion, equity, and access to quality post-secondary education, Rutgers Business School (RBS) established the Office of Diversity Programs. RBS is an extension of the Office of the Dean, and from this office RBS has developed an extensive portfolio of diversity-centered programs that support minority student recruitment, retention, engagement, and leadership development. RBS recognized the need to improve its outreach efforts to minority communities and thus implemented the RBS Pathways Leading to Undergraduate Success (RBS PLUS) diversity programs portfolio, which includes a menu of programs and initiatives that engage students from middle school, high school, college, and later as alumni.
Launched in 2013, RBS B-STAR remains one of the most comprehensive programs serving underrepresented minority populations at business schools. The RBS B-STAR program allows students to take full advantage of early exposure to campus life, thereby providing essential social capital that helps ease the complex and intimidating transition between high school and college.
The RBS B-STAR program is a highly competitive six-week summer academic and residential bridge program offered by the RBS Office of Diversity Programs.The RBS B-STAR program is designed to support high-performing and high-potential first-year minority students who have accepted admission to RBS.
The first tier of the program includes an intensive, six-week, hands-on academic agenda in which selected incoming first-year students have an opportunity to live on campus and take two college courses for full academic credit. The second tier of the program consists of multi-year follow-up and engagement with the RBS B-STARs. Program participants are provided various support services, resources, and opportunities designed to develop leadership abilities as they work toward the completion of an undergraduate business degree. In addition to earning college credits prior to the start of the fall semester, the small cohort experience is invaluable.
Academic components of the program help strengthen students’ cognitive capabilities, motivation, determination, and general preparedness for college coursework. Such activities may consist of coursework, developmental courses and workshops, labs, and group study activities. Social components of the program are designed to help improve the basic skills and abilities of students as well as foster strong interpersonal and soft skills. Such activities may consist of program enrichment activities, team-building projects, daily group study, and social-oriented workshops.
The program works closely with multiple factions and departments at the university, including professors and instructors, to provide the most relevant and pertinent coursework for its participants. This holistic approach to serving minority students addresses a multitude of unique issues and needs that could otherwise go unmet.
As the RBS B-STAR program prepares to graduate its first cohort in spring 2017, it looks to build on gains already experienced. Program evaluations have shown that students participating in the six-week summer component of the program outperform students who do not by approximately 1.9 GPA percentage points. Over 65 percent of the program’s 120 participants have reported securing internship or permanent employment opportunities.
As a result of far-reaching recruitment efforts, the program has admitted students from all New Jersey counties and over 100 different high schools, which in turn has increased the profile of Rutgers University and Rutgers Business School to New Jersey K–12 districts and surrounding communities at large.