Black Faculty at the High-Ranking Liberal Arts Colleges

Last week JBHE reported the results of its survey of black faculty at the nation’s highest-ranked research universities. The survey shows that blacks make up at least 5 percent of the total full-time faculty at only five of the 30 highest-ranked universities.

The nation’s most highly selective liberal arts colleges have a far superior record in hiring black faculty than the nation’s most prestigious research universities. Of the 24 high-ranking liberal arts colleges responding to our survey, nine had black faculty levels of 5 percent or more.

Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts has 18 black faculty members. They make up nearly 10 percent of the college’s entire full-time faculty. Haverford College, which led our previous survey, ranked second with a faculty that is 8.6 percent black.  At Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, blacks are nearly 7 percent of the total faculty.

Bowdoin College and Harvey Mudd College each had only one black faculty member. Claremont McKenna College, which is the only highly selective liberal arts institution to decline to participate in this year’s survey, had two blacks on its 126-member faculty in 2005.


“There is no racial problem in Brazil.”

Jose Alencar, vice president of Brazil, March 28, 2007. Later that day, flaming towels soaked with gasoline were placed at the foot of the dormitory room doors of 10 black students at the University of Brasilia.


Howard University to Play Major Role in Development of a New University in Botswana

Howard University, the historically black educational institution in the nation’s capital, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Republic of Botswana to provide technical assistance for the establishment of the Botswana International University of Science and Technology.

At the present time, only about 7 percent of young people in Botswana go on to higher education. The goal is to triple the number of university students over the next decade.

Under the agreement Howard University will map out a campus plan, develop undergraduate and graduate curriculum, and recruit administrators and faculty for the university. In addition, Howard will train students from Botswana at its Washington, D.C., campus for leadership roles at the new African university.


Danielle Allen to Become the First Black Faculty Member in the 77-Year History of the Institute for Advanced Study

Danielle Allen, dean of humanities and professor of classical languages and literature at the University of Chicago, is a scholar of great distinction in the academic world. For some years she has been recruited without success to the faculties of a large number of our nation’s leading universities.

Now it’s the famed Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, that she will call home. Beginning in July, Dr. Allen will become the UPS Foundation Professor in the School of Social Science at IAS. She will be the only African American among the Institute’s 27 permanent faculty members. In fact, Allen is the first African American to be appointed to the permanent faculty in the 77-year history of the Institute.

Professor Allen, now 34 years old, is a summa cum laude graduate of Princeton University where she majored in the classics. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in the classics from Cambridge University. In addition, she has a master’s degree and Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University.

Professor Allen has been a member of the faculty of the University of Chicago since 1997. She is the author of two books: The World of Prometheus: The Politics of Punishing in Democratic Athens (2000) and Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship Since Brown v. Board of Education (2004).

In 2002 Allen received the prestigious MacArthur Foundation genius award.


Tenure Rates of Black Faculty

According to a new report from the U.S. Department of Education, in 2005, 12,660 of the 35,458 black full-time faculty in higher education were tenured. Thus, 35.7 percent of all full-time black faculty members held tenure.

For whites, 238,211 of all 527,900 full-time faculty members held tenure. This is a tenure rate of 45.1 percent.


New Film to Focus on Athletes at the Black Colleges During the Jim Crow Era

ESPN Original Entertainment and Shoot the Moon Productions are collaborating on a four-hour documentary film tentatively titled Black Magic. The film will focus on athletes at black colleges and universities before the civil rights era and on the injustices that they had to endure.

More than 200 hours of interviews have been conducted for the project. The film is expected to be shown on the ESPN cable network next March.



Black Studies Scholar at UCLA Creates New High School Textbook on Black History

In many high schools African-American history is often an afterthought that is marginalized into brief discussions each February during Black History Month. American history textbooks often touch on black history but there are few that deal with the subject in a comprehensive way.

Lisbeth Gant-Britton, the student affairs officer of academic programs in African-American studies at the University of California at Los Angeles, has developed a high school textbook on African-American history. The new Holt African-American History, published this month by Holt, Rinehart and Winston, is a softcover workbook in which students post notes, take quizzes, and complete activities by writing in the book. Lessons include the history of African-American contributions to American culture, society, and government.

An online interactive version of the textbook is also available where students can take virtual field trips to key sites in African-American history and hear audio recordings of historical moments in black history.


Central State University Has Plans to Expand

Central State University, the historically black, state-run educational institution in Wilberforce, Ohio, plans to triple its enrollment over the next decade. The state has budgeted $8.2 million over the next two years to help the institution grow. The state has agreed to contribute $14 million for a new student center on campus.

In another development, Central State has purchased a 106,000-square-foot building to start up a new campus in West Dayton. The university will invest $750,000 in converting the building, creating 12 classrooms, offices, study space, and a science laboratory. Central State plans to hold classes in criminal justice, hospitality, and real estate at the new campus, which is expected to attract 1,000 new students to the university.


African-American Scholar at the University of Michigan Wins Prestigious Hiett Prize in the Humanities

This coming week Tiya Alicia Miles, an assistant professor of American culture, Afro-American and African studies, and Native American studies at Michigan State University, will be awarded the Hiett Prize in the Humanities presented by the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture. The annual prize is awarded in the early stages of the career of a scholar “whose work appears headed for lasting significance.” The award come with a $50,000 cash prize.

Miles’ research interests include African-American and Native American history and literature and how they relate. A native of Cincinnati, Miles is a graduate of Harvard University where she majored in Afro-American studies. She holds a master’s degree in women’s studies from Emory University and a Ph.D. in American studies from the University of Minnesota.


Tennessee Attorney General Halts Fisk University Sale of Georgia O’Keeffe Painting

In order to boost its endowment, Fisk University, the historically black educational institution in Nashville, Tennessee, planned to sell two paintings from its art collection. One of the paintings was the work of artist Georgia O’Keeffe. O’Keeffe had donated the art collection, which she assembled along with her husband, to Fisk with the stipulation that the collection not be broken up. When the university attempted to sell the two paintings, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe filed a lawsuit to stop the sale. An agreement was reached that Fisk would sell the O’Keeffe painting to the museum for $7 million and could sell the other artwork, not painted by O’Keeffe, on the open market.

But after the agreement was reached, it became apparent that the O’Keeffe painting was worth as much as $25 million. Bob Cooper, the attorney general of Tennessee, whose office oversees legal issues concerning charitable gifts made to people or institutions in the state, voided the sale. Cooper claimed that the sale was not in the best interest of Fisk University or the people of Tennessee.

A court hearing is scheduled for July 18.




Tommie Shelby was promoted to professor of African and African-American studies and of philosophy and was granted tenure at Harvard University. He is the first African American to rise through the junior faculty ranks and be granted tenure in Harvard’s philosophy department.

Professor Shelby came to Harvard in 2000 from Ohio State University. He is a graduate of Florida A&M University and earned his Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh. He is the author of We Who Are Dark: Philosophical Foundations of Black Solidarity (Harvard University Press, 2005).

M. Christopher Brown II was named dean of the College of Education at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. Brown, currently on leave from his faculty position at Penn State, has been serving as vice president for programs and administration at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

Brown is a graduate of South Carolina State University. He holds a master’s degree in educational policy and evaluation from the University of Kentucky and an educational doctorate from Penn State.

Rich Freeman is the new head football coach at Morehouse College, the historically black educational institution for black men in Atlanta. He was the defensive coordinator at Lane College. Freeman is a graduate of Tennessee State University.

Michael J. Sorrell was named interim president of Paul Quinn College in Dallas, Texas. Sorrell, a lawyer and political consultant, sits on the college’s board of directors. Sorrell is a graduate of Oberlin College. He holds a master’s degree and a law degree from Duke University.

The search for a permanent president for Paul Quinn College will begin at the end of this academic year.





Huge Increase in Number of Black Students Admitted to UCLA

This past fall there were only 99 black freshmen who enrolled at the University of California at Los Angeles. They made up just 2 percent of the first-year class.

In an effort to increase diversity in the student body, the UCLA administration adopted a new admissions model that incorporates a so-called “holistic” approach which looks at academic merit in the context of a student’s position in society.

The new UCLA admissions plan produced positive results in increasing the black applicant pool at the university. UCLA received 2,444 applications from black students this year. This was up 12.5 percent from a year ago. Blacks were 5 percent of the applicant pool at UCLA this year.

But the real test of the new plan would be apparent only after it was determined how many blacks were admitted under the new holistic approach. The results are now in. This year there were 392 African Americans admitted to UCLA, up from 249 a year ago. This is a whopping increase of 57 percent. In 2006 blacks were 2.1 percent of all students admitted to UCLA. Blacks are 3.4 percent of the students accepted for admission.

While this is good progress, it must be remembered that blacks are about 7 percent of the college-age population in California. A decade ago, nearly 500 black students were admitted to UCLA.



Robert L. Satcher Sr. Appointed President of Saint Paul’s College

Saint Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, Virginia, has named Robert L. Satcher Sr. as its new president. Satcher has served as interim president of the institution since July. Satcher has been on the faculty of the college for 18 years serving as a professor of chemistry. Before coming to Saint Paul’s College, Satcher was vice president for academic affairs and provost at Fisk University.

Satcher is a graduate of Alabama State University. He holds a master’s degree from Arizona State University and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Oregon State University.

Dr. Satcher’s brother David is the former surgeon general of the United States. One of Robert Satcher’s sons is an astronaut.


Black Students at South Carolina State University Shortchanged in Funding Allocations From the State Lottery

A decade ago South Carolina was one of only two states that did not provide need-based aid for students who attended publicly operated colleges and universities. However, since 2002 more than $1 billion has been allocated from state lottery proceeds to state-operated universities for scholarships for low-income students.

But the formula for distributing state lottery funds does not give a fair shake to students at the historically black South Carolina State University in Orangeburg. In 2006 the average scholarship award from lottery funds for low-income students at South Carolina State University was $878. At the Citadel, the state-operated military academy in Charleston where only 7.6 percent of the student body is black, the average lottery award for low-income students was $1,868. At Clemson University, where blacks are less than 7 percent of all students, the average lottery award for low-income students was $1,775.

The reason for the discrepancy is that lottery proceeds are doled out according to an institution’s total enrollment. But the scholarships are given only to low-income students. Therefore, if there is a small percentage of low-income students at a particular institution, each low-income student gets a larger award. At South Carolina State University, where a large percentage of the almost all black student body comes from low-income families, the average award is reduced because the lottery fund must be divided by a greater number of students.


New Black College Founded in Oakland, California

The nation’s 103 historically black colleges and universities are almost exclusively in the South or the border states. But now a new educational institution wants to create a black college atmosphere in Oakland, California. Liberation University opened this semester. It has 25 students and holds classes in a local church. But founder Cheryl Ward, an associate pastor of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church where the classes are held, has a vision to create a fully accredited educational institution offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in a wide range of academic fields.

For those who are skeptical that Liberation University can succeed, Ward notes that in 1881 Spelman College, the highly prestigious college for black women in Atlanta, started in a church basement with only 11 students.


Study Finds That Minority Professors Are Having a Positive Impact in Helping Black and White Students With Career Decisions

A survey conducted for the PhD Project, a nonprofit organization seeking to increase the number of black and minority faculty in the nation’s business schools, has found that students at colleges and graduate schools are benefiting from their associations with minority faculty members. The survey included 679 students who had at least one black, Hispanic, or American Indian professor. Among the minority students who responded to the survey, 83 percent said that their minority professor had helped them make important decisions on their career path or internship opportunities.

Among white students who had at least one minority professor, nearly 70 percent said that their minority professor had been helpful in guiding them on their future employment.


1.2  Number of cases of tuberculosis among every 100,000 white Americans in 2006.

10.1  Number of cases of tuberculosis among every 100,000 African Americans in 2006.

source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


The Transformation of Virginia State University

This year, Virginia State University, the historically black educational institution in Ettrick, is celebrating the 125th anniversary of its founding. But Virginia State is not looking to its past. Instead the university is concentrating on its future.

Virginia State University plans to double its current enrollment from 5,000 to 10,000. In doing so it hopes to attract a large number of white students to campus. Today, 96 percent of the undergraduate students at Virginia State are black.

Virginia State is in the midst of an $87 million construction and renovation program. It has recently upgraded its offerings in computer science, liberal arts, and nursing and will soon open a school of engineering. The university just awarded its first doctorate and hopes to add several new doctoral programs in the near future.


Ohio Dominican University Takes Steps to Fight Campus Racism

During this academic year, racial slurs and swastikas were carved onto elevator doors at Ohio Dominican University, a Roman Catholic liberal arts college in Columbus. Later, a “Whites Only” sign was taped outside a men’s bathroom on campus.

In response to these incidents, the administration has decided to add, beginning this fall, a multicultural class that will be required for all students. In addition, the university will create an office for multicultural affairs and hire a full-time director to oversee its operation.

Blacks make up more than 20 percent of the 3,000-member student body at the university.




Micere Githae Mugo, Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence and chair of the department of African-American studies at Syracuse University, received the 2007 Distinguished Africanist Award from the New York African Studies Association.

Professor Mugo, a native of Kenya but now a citizen of Zimbabwe, has been on the Syracuse University faculty since 1993. She is a graduate of Makerere University in Uganda and holds master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, Canada.



Xavier University, the historically black educational institution in New Orleans which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, received a $100,000 grant from the Teagle Foundation to develop a master plan for its campus.

Bethune-Cookman University, the historically black educational institution in Daytona Beach, Florida, received a $100,000 grant from the Teagle Foundation for the development of its Project Pericles civic engagement course.

• The department of African-American studies at Syracuse University received a $223,000 grant from the Ford Foundation for its Gender and Environmental Justice project. The grant will support a lecture series and an environmental health symposium next spring. The grant will also be used to support research in the field of environmental justice.

Columbia University received a $91,219 grant from the Ford Foundation to develop a prototype of its Amistad Digital Resource for Teachers. The multimedia resource will be available free online to K-12 teachers who want to integrate African-American history into their curriculum.

The United Negro College Fund received a $1 million grant from the Bush Foundation and a $1 million grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The grant money will be used to support the organization’s Institute for Capacity Building which seeks to boost enrollments, particularly among black males, at UNCF member institutions.



Copyright © 2007. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.