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Rodney Bates

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Dr. Rodney Bates, Director of Graduate Student and Postdoc Retention and Support

Dr. Rodney Bates

Dr. Rodney Bates is Director of Graduate Student and Postdoc Retention and Support in the Graduate College. Dr. Bates supports many aspects of the Graduate College’s mission by providing direct mentorship and coaching to graduate students and postdocs, working with academic units to improve their climates, providing workshops and training to faculty, and enhancing the Graduate College's ability to recruit, support, and retain students and postdocs from historically underrepresented groups.

Dr. Bates completed his Ph.D. in Adult and Higher Education at OU in 2017. Dr. Bates’s research focuses on African American males’ experiences at historically white institutions, as well as on dominant and resistant notions of success in higher education. Dr. Bates’s areas of interest include unpacking the inequality of student experiences, understanding important implications for broadening equity and inclusion for underrepresented populations, and student of color access to higher education. His research and practice speaks to the need to fully include marginalized students in institutional decision-making, curriculum development, and the day-to-day leadership and operations of our institutions. Dr. Bates’s research and professional activities continually focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Furthermore, he intentionally collaborates with students, faculty, and school practitioners on topics related to social justice, diversity, equity, education policy, access to higher education for traditionally underserved populations, and addressing inequities across the P-20 pipeline. He was involved in the creation of the Unlearning curriculum which is now being made available campus-wide and has been a tireless advocate for and supporter of OU undergraduate and graduate students. He has taught courses in the AFAM and WGS departments and was a consultant in 2016-17 for an NSF-NRT program on Broadening Participation in STEM Graduate Education.

Dr. Bates is an integral team member for many Graduate College initiatives. To request support, discuss ideas, or consult about creating a more inclusive climate in your academic unit, contact him directly at