The Case for Change: Conducting Holistic Graduate Admissions Reviews at Berkeley Published: December 15, 2020 By: Kathleen Aycock Professor Julie Posselt In December, Julie Posselt, associate professor of higher education at University of Southern California, led an admissions workshop for more than 175 UC Berkeley faculty, staff, and graduate students who serve on graduate admissions committees or support the admissions process. Posselt led the group through her research, which investigates explanations for the gap between institutional commitments to diversity and the continuing realities of unequal enrollment and graduate student well-being. Her presentation contextualized the legal landscape of affirmative action decisions and policies, and suggested multiple ways to identify and correct biases and innate preferences in how departments have traditionally guided admissions reviews. Posselt highlighted admissions’ committees historical overreliance on test scores without considering context and error, and offered frameworks, rubrics and suggestions for conducting holistic reviews. An internationally recognized expert on admissions, Posselt is author of the books “Inside Graduate Admissions: Merit, Diversity, and Faculty Gatekeeping” and “Equity in Science: Representation, Culture, and the Dynamics of Change in Graduate Education.” This workshop is part of an ongoing Graduate Division effort to underscore the importance of comprehensive admissions reviews, viewing students’ academic records, statements and writing samples, research and letters of recommendation in the context of broader characteristics, attributes and assets that a student can bring to the university. This event was co-sponsored by the Graduate Division, Office for Faculty Equity & Welfare, and Division of Equity and Inclusion.