Joint Quantitative Brownbag


Dr. Nathan Kuncel

Dr. Nathan Kuncel
Department of Psychology and Carlson School of Management
University of Minnesota

Nathan R. Kuncel is the Marvin D. Dunnette Distinguished Professor of Industrial-Organizational Psychology, and a McKnight Presidential Fellow at the University of Minnesota. Professor Kuncel, a nationally recognized leader in the field of Industrial-Organizational Psychology, received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.

He specializes in the structure and prediction of performance in academic and work settings, and the validity of individual differences for predicting different aspects of performance. Professor Kuncel has earned a multitude of awards and fellowships, and he has written for The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Science, and many other professional journals.


Moving Toward Evidence Based Practice in Graduate Admissions


The validity and fairness of admissions decisions are driven by the quality of the information considered and the decision making process used to combine that information. Ideally, decision makers should consider multiple, highly valid predictors. Each of these predictors should provide incremental information over the others. Finally, the predictor information should be combined consistently and weighted to maximize the predictive power of the available information. Unfortunately, most graduate school admissions processes are the exact opposite of this ideal. Typically, information sources with near zero predictive power are seriously considered and discussed. This information is then subjectively weighted at the whim of the decision maker. Finally, the ultimate decision is often based on undisciplined group discussions with little to no follow-up or accountability. Most holistic admissions processes are unintended and well-intentioned shams. In this talk, I will provide evidence for this thesis and discuss what to do about it.