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Racial Differences in School and College Enrollments by Age Group

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that in October 2009 nearly 12 million African Americans were enrolled in school at some level. This was 32.4 percent of all African Americans over the age of 3. In contrast, 23.9 percent of all white Americans over the age of 3 were enrolled in school in October 2009. The reasons for the disparity include the fact that a higher percentage of young blacks compared to young whites are enrolled in preschool. Another factor is that blacks often stay enrolled in college and in graduate school longer than is the case for whites.

Eight percent of all African Americans over the age of 3 were enrolled in college or graduate school in October 2009. For whites, the figure is 6.8 percent. Whites are more likely than blacks to be enrolled in college in the traditional 18-22 age group. But older blacks are more likely than older whites to be enrolled in college. For example, 10 percent of blacks in the 30-34 age group are enrolled in college compared to 8 percent of whites in the age group. For those in the 35-44 age group, 7.2 percent of blacks and 4.4 percent of whites were enrolled in college.

The Racial Scoring Gap on Selected Advanced Placement Examinations

Over the past several weeks JBHE reported on the participation and scoring performance of black students on Advanced Placement tests. The data shows that blacks are increasingly participating in the program but very low percentages of black students are achieving passing grades on AP tests.

Now we turn our attention to the racial gap in scoring on the most popular AP examinations. Black students had a mean score of 2.40 on the French test. This was only slightly below the mean score of whites, which stood at 2.56. (The AP scoring scale ranges from a low of 1 to a high of 5 with a score of 3 considered a passing grade.)

On all the other widely taken AP tests, the racial scoring gap was significantly larger. The largest gap was on one of the two computer science tests. Here the mean black score of 1.72 was far below the mean white score of 3.20. Blacks also fared very poorly in comparison to whites on AP tests in economics, environmental science, and statistics.

University of Texas Study Finds Racial Differences Among Teens on Issues of Affirmative Action and School Desegregation

A study conducted by the Gender and Racial Attitudes Lab at the University of Texas finds that African-American teenagers are more supportive of affirmative action and efforts to end school racial segregation than their white peers. The research showed that white teenagers were actually more knowledgeable about U.S. racial history than black teenagers. But whites were less likely than blacks to express the opinion that racial inequalities persist in the United States.

Race Relations on Campus Database

Periodically, JBHE Weekly Bulletin will publish a selection of racial incidents that have occurred on the campuses of colleges and universities. Here are the latest incidents:

• All students at the University of California at San Diego received an e-mail from the administration about an upcoming survey. One recipient of the e-mail sent a racially charged “Reply All” response to all who received the original message. The subject line in the unauthorized reply message was “Penis.” The sole content of the e-mail message was the word “niggers” in capital letters. (San Diego Union-Tribune, 2-26-11)

• A gynecologist at Meharry Medical College in Nashville has filed a race discrimination lawsuit against the institution. The doctor, who is of Arab descent, claims he was recruited by the medical school so that it could win a $21 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. But, according to the suit, when the grant was secured, the medical college replaced him as project director with a black doctor. The professor also claims that administrators made disparaging comments about Muslims and Arabs. (Associated Press, 3-3-11)

• A swastika and a racial slur were written in the dust on the car of a staff member at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. In a second incident, two swastikas were found written inside a dormitory on campus. (Easton Express Times, 3-9-11)

Appointments, Promotions, and Resignations

• Shelley I. White-Means, professor of health economics at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, has been appointed to the Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession of the American Economic Association.

Dr. White-Means is a graduate of Grinnell College in Iowa. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in economics from Northwestern University.

• Terri Harris Reed was named vice provost for diversity and inclusion at George Washington University in the nation’s capital. She has been serving as vice provost for institutional equity and diversity at Princeton University.

A graduate of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Dr. Reed holds a master’s degree from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in rhetoric and intercultural communications from Howard University.

• Pamela Nolan Young was appointed adviser to the president and director of institutional diversity and equity at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. She was director of human resource development at North Shore Community College in Danvers, Massachusetts.

Young is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the law school at the University of Notre Dame. She also holds a master’s degree from Salem State College in Massachusetts.

• Phoebe Butler-Ajibade, assistant professor in the School of Education at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, was named president of the North Carolina Association for the Advancement of Health Education.

Dr. Butler-Ajibade is a graduate of Radford University in Virginia. She holds a master’s degree from Old Dominion University and an educational doctorate from George Washington University.

• Elva Bradley was promoted to assistant to the vice provost for academic affairs at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. She has been serving as director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at the university.

Dr. Bradley is a graduate of Tuskegee University. She holds a master’s degree from Auburn University and an educational doctorate from the University of Alabama.

• Carolyn Jacobs, dean of the School of Social Work at Smith College, was appointed to the board of trustees of Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. She is the first African-American woman to sit on the Naropa board.

Dr. Jacobs is a graduate of Sacramento State University. She holds a master of social work degree from San Diego State University and a Ph.D. from Brandeis University.

• Annie Leslie, associate professor of sociology at Bowie State University in Maryland, was appointed to serve on the National Board of the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, a committee formed by the U.S. Department of Education.

Dr. Leslie holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from Northwestern University.

• Michael DeBaun, director of the Vanderbilt-Meharry Center for Excellence in Sickle Cell Disease, was named to the J.C. Peterson, M.D. Chair in Pediatric Pulmonology at Vanderbilt University. He came to Vanderbilt last year from Washington University in St. Louis.



Which statement best describes the situation on your campus over the past two years?
Race relations have improved.
There has been no change in the racial climate.
Race relations have deteriorated.

Very Few Blacks in the New Field of Sustainability at the Nation’s Colleges

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education has released a new survey showing the makeup of staff members in the field at the nation’s colleges and universities. Sustainability officers in higher education are generally responsible for monitoring an institution’s ecological and environmental impact.

The survey found that the field is relatively new at the nation’s colleges and universities with almost all positions created in just the past several years. The most popular degree among people holding positions as sustainability officers is environmental science. The survey showed that just one percent of all sustainability officers are black.

Readers interested in the survey can download it by clicking here.

New Master’s Degree Program at North Carolina A&T State University

Historically black North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro has received approval from the University of North Carolina Board of Governors to establish a master’s degree program in nanoengineering. Nanoengineering focuses on engineering at the atomic or molecular level. The technology has applications in a wide variety of industries including communications, computers, electronics, medicine, and pharmaceuticals.

The program will begin to accept students for the 2011-12 academic year. The university is awaiting approval on its plans to offer a Ph.D. degree in the subject.

University of Arkansas Partners With University of Cape Coast in Ghana

The University of Arkansas has entered into an agreement with the University of Cape Coast in Ghana that will foster student and faculty exchange programs between the two educational institutions. Students from each institution can apply to spend a semester at the partner university. Summer study programs will also be offered.

Longtime University Professor Donates Papers to Memphis Public Library

Miriam DeCosta-Willis, who was a university professor for more than 40 years, has donated her papers to the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library in Memphis. 

Dr. DeCosta-Willis was born in Florence, Alabama, and studied foreign languages as an undergraduate student at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. In 1960 she earned a master’s degree in Romance languages from Johns Hopkins University. She then moved to Memphis and became active in the civil rights movement. She was the first African-American faculty member at what is now the University of Memphis. She returned to Johns Hopkins to earn a Ph.D. in 1968. She later chaired the department of Romance languages at Howard University and also taught at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Now 76 years old, DeCosta-Willis has donated her collection of articles, academic papers, unpublished manuscripts, newspaper clippings, funeral programs, letters, and photographs to the public library. The library will make the archive accessible to researchers and the general public.

Most Top Administrators in Big-Time College Football Are White Men

A new survey by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the College of Business Administration of the University of Central Florida has found there are very few African Americans among the top athletic administrators in college sports. The survey found that all commissioners of the 11 conferences involved in big-time college football are white men. Of the 120 colleges and universities that participate in the Football Bowl Subdivision, only nine have an African American who serves as athletic director.

More than 50 percent of the athletes who play big-time college football are African Americans.

Bethune-Cookman University to Offer a New Master’s Degree Program

Bethune-Cookman University, the historically black educational institution in Daytona Beach, Florida, has been granted accreditation to offer a new master’s degree program in integrated environmental science. The program will begin accepting students this summer.

This is the second master’s degree program at Bethune-Cookman. It launched a master’s degree program in transformative leadership in 2006.

Clemson University Aims to Increase Black Enrollments and Faculty

Only about 6 percent of the 19,400 undergraduate students at state-operated Clemson University in South Carolina are black. A decade ago there was a larger number and percentage of black students on campus. About a third of South Carolina’s college-age population is African American. In 2000 there were 533 blacks on the university’s payroll. Today there are 463.

Now the university has announced immediate goals of increasing black undergraduate enrollments and black faculty by 2 percentage points and graduate enrollments by 1.5 percentage points.

The new effort to bring more blacks to Clemson will be led by Leon E. Wiles, the university’s chief diversity officer. Before coming to Clemson in 2008, Wiles was vice chancellor for student and diversity affairs at the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg. In the 1970s he led a successful effort to increase diversity at the rural campus of Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. Wiles is a graduate of Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh and is currently working toward a doctorate at the University of South Carolina.

In Memoriam

John Alfred Sanders (1935-2011)

John A. Sanders, former chair of the department of mathematics at Chicago State University, died last month at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, from complications of an autoimmune disease. He was 75 years old.

Sanders was raised in Decatur, Alabama, the son of a Negro League baseball player. A standout athlete in high school, Sanders washed dishes in a restaurant to put himself through Alabama State University. He went on to earn a master’s degree at Atlanta University and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Iowa. He taught briefly at the University of Illinois at Chicago before joining the faculty at Chicago State University in 1974. He taught at Chicago State for 25 years.

Rubens John Pamies (1958-2011)

Rubens J. Pamies, vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean for graduate studies at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, died late last month after suffering a heart attack at his sister’s home in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He was 52 years old.

The son of Haitian immigrants, Dr. Pamies grew up in Queens, New York. He earned his bachelor’s degree at St. John’s University and his medical degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Prior to teaching at the University of Nebraska, Pamies was on the faculty of the medical schools at the University of South Florida, Case Western Reserve University, Vanderbilt University, and Meharry Medical College.

Honors and Awards

• Michelle Cook, vice chancellor for university advancement at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina, was named Woman of the Year by the Winston-Salem Chronicle. She was honored for work at the university and also for being one of the founding members of the Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem.

• Arnold Rampersad, professor emeritus of English at Stanford University, received the National Humanities Medal for his biographies of W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, and Ralph Ellison.

• William H. Turner, distinguished professor of Appalachian studies at Berea College in Kentucky, was elected to the alumni Hall of Fame at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College.

Dr. Turner earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Notre Dame.

• Rosette Muzigo-Morrison, a legal officer for the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in the Netherlands, received the 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award from the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Muzigo-Morrison holds a master’s degree and a law degree from the University of Notre Dame, a second law degree from Makerere University in Uganda, and is currently working toward a Ph.D. in human rights law at the Irish Centre for Human Rights.

• Ron Kirk, the former mayor of Dallas who currently serves as United States trade representative, received the Presidential Citation from the University of Texas.

Kirk is a graduate of Austin College and the University of Texas School of Law.

Grants and Gifts

The Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund, which represents 47 state-operated historically black colleges and universities, received a $500,000 contribution from Wells Fargo & Company of San Francisco. The funds will be used to provide full tuition scholarships for students at member institutions.

• Tennessee State University, the historically black educational institution in Nashville, received a $422,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for a research project to assess the knowledge of undergraduate students in sciences and mathematics. The results will be used to assess whether changes are needed in the science and mathematics curriculum offered at Tennessee State and other universities.

Historically black Morehouse College in Atlanta received a $125,000 grant from The California Endowment for the college’s Presidential Initiative on Empowering Leadership in Local Communities.

• Howard University is receiving pro bono services valued at $160,000 from Deloitte Consulting. Over an eight-week period, Deloitte will assess the career services programs at the university and develop plans to improve those services for students.

• Claflin University, the historically black educational institution in Orangeburg, South Carolina, received an $82,000 grant from the Atlanta-based Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation. The funds will aid the general scholarship fund.

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