Pathways participants collaborating at a table

The Pathways Project is a Graduate School initiative for inclusive excellence for students, faculty, and staff designed to foster equity and mentoring in graduate education at Ball State University. The Pathways Project features three distinct programs, which center and support students from marginalized backgrounds (e.g., domestic Students of Color, LGBTQIA2S+ students, students with disabilities, low-income students, student veterans, students with dependents, etc.). Please consider registering for our upcoming workshops and events.

The three programs are:

  • The Pathways Mentoring Program - for undergraduate and graduate students interested in collaborating with a faculty/staff mentor.
  • The Building Mentoring Capacities Workshop Series - for faculty and staff mentors interested in equitable mentoring practices.
  • The Action Research Collective - for graduate students interested in conducting research.

Ultimately, The Pathways Project aims to cultivate inclusive excellence by supporting marginalized students as they pursue and complete post-baccalaureate degrees. Learn more about programs within The Pathways Project below.

Pathways Mentoring Program

Pathways Mentoring Program

Pathways is a mentoring program that supports undergraduate and graduate students from marginalized backgrounds as they pursue graduate education and beyond. Watch a video regarding our program on YouTube. The Pathways program includes the following features:

  • Mentoring Partnerships
  • Community-building Gatherings
  • University-sponsored Professional Development Programming
  • Small Grant Funding

Learn more about mentorship

Building Mentoring Capacities Workshop Series

The Building Mentoring Capacities Workshop Series is a set of learning and development sessions for faculty and staff to engage in conversations about mentoring students in culturally relevant, anti-racist, and equity-minded ways.

Action Research Collective (ARC)

The Action Research Collective (ARC) centers the knowledge, creativity, and expertise of graduate student leaders to produce information needed to advance support and success for graduate students from marginalized backgrounds at Ball State University. Foremost, this initiative aims to expand professional development opportunities for underrepresented and marginalized graduate students and demystify the graduate school pipeline. 

Throughout the academic year, the team of ARC research partners, across various graduate programs at Ball State University, will meet bi-weekly to design and execute a research study while gaining vital experience conducting research to transform Ball State's climate. 

Supported by the Graduate School and guided by Dr. Robin Phelps-Ward, Faculty Fellow for Inclusive Excellence and Assistant Professor of Higher Education, ARC is a space for graduate students to confidently engage in critical scholarly inquiry while building a sense of belonging on campus through professional development opportunities and mentorship. ARC meets bi-weekly based on a schedule mutually agreed upon by team members. 


Additional Resources

The Graduate Student Wellness Initiative helps centralize resources and hosts wellness events for the Graduate School community. See what resources are available to you.

Program Coordinators

Dr. Robin Phelps-Ward

Dr. Robin Phelps-Ward

Dr. Phelps-Ward is the Graduate School's Faculty Fellow for Inclusive Excellence, an Assistant Professor of Higher Education, and the Director of the Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education (SAAHE) Master of Arts program at Ball State University.  Dr. Phelps-Ward is dedicated to cultivating equitable, just, and supportive environments for People of Color across educational contexts, and she commits her scholarship to simultaneously and complementarily exploring the experiences of those who are racially marginalized and minoritized while developing pedagogical and institutional strategies for eliminating such oppression.

Visit Dr. Phelps-Ward's Profile


 Dr. Lauren Mims 

 Dr. Lauren Mims, Ph.D., is a new Faculty Fellow for Inclusive Excellence in the  Graduate School and an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at Ball State University. She holds a doctoral degree in educational psychology from the University of Virginia, a master's degree in child development from Tufts University, and a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia. She was also appointed assistant director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans during the Obama administration. During her time, she was a member of the White House Council on Women and Girls, the U.S. Department of Education Policy Committee, the United States Department of Education Socioeconomic Diversity Working Group, as well as a member of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Working Group. Dr. Mims' current work focuses on promoting the well-being and development of Black students, with a particular focus on Black girls.                                               


Mike Martinez

Mike is a doctoral assistant for the Pathways Project and is a native of California where he received his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from California State University, Fullerton in kinesiology and athletic training. He is currently a student in the Ed.D. program in Higher Education at Ball State studying diversity, equity, and inclusion within healthcare education settings.

Kade Padgett 

Kade is a graduate assistant for the Pathways Project and master's student in the Student Affairs Administration and Higher Education program at Ball State. Kade's passion for working with students and diversity, equity, and inclusion began during their time as an undergrad at Indiana University. Kade hopes to one day work as an LGBTQIA+ Culture Center Director.