No African Americans Among the 72 New Inductees to the National Academy of Sciences

Each year the prestigious National Academy of Sciences selects new members, who in the academy’s judgment have made the greatest contribution to scientific research, including social science research. Election to the academy is an extraordinary honor and is often seen as the pinnacle of a scholar’s career.

Recently the National Academy of Sciences announced the election of 72 new members. While the academy does not release data on the race of its membership, it appears from JBHE research that none of the 72 new members are African Americans.


Nearly Three Million African Americans Are Currently Enrolled in Higher Education

New data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that in 2009, the latest year for which complete statistics are available, there were 2,919,800 black Americans enrolled in degree-granting institutions of higher education. This is a whopping increase of 13 percent from 2008. Perhaps the economic recession caused more African Americans to stay in school rather than enter the job market where there were limited chances of employment, particularly for African Americans.

In 2009, blacks were 14.3 percent of all students enrolled in American higher education. This was up from 13.5 percent in 2008. In the year 2000, blacks were 11.3 percent of all enrolled students.

In 2009 there were 1,882,700 black women enrolled in American higher education. They made up 64.5 percent of all African-American enrollments. This was down slightly from 64.7 percent in 2008.


Black Students Still Face Major Hurdles in Gaining Acceptance to Cambridge

This year Cambridge University in England accepted 3,394 of its 15,966 applicants. This is an acceptance rate of 21 percent. There were 151 black applicants to Cambridge. Only 16, or 10.6 percent, were accepted for admission.

The university reports that only two black students accepted for admission identified themselves as being from Caribbean descent.

In addition, there were 71 applicants to Cambridge who identified themselves as biracial with both black and white backgrounds. Eighteen of the 71 biracial applicants were accepted for admission.


Edison State College Struggling to Diversify Its Faculy and Administration

Edison State College is headquartered in Fort Myers, Florida, and operates three satellite campus in southwestern Florida.  The college has met with success in its efforts to diversify the 16,000-member student body. About 10 percent of the students are black and 17 percent are Hispanic.

But a new report presented to the board of trustees found that the percentage of minority faculty and the percentage of minority administrators has declined over the past five years. The report found that today three of the college’s 46 administrators are members of minority groups. And only 13 of the 139 full-time faculty members are minorities. The highest-ranking black officials at the college are Christine Davis, associate dean of enrollment management and student affairs at the Edison State College Collier County campus and Rodney Dennison, associate dean of arts and sciences at the Lee County campus.

In comparison, at nearby Florida Gulf Coast University, minorities make up 17 percent of both administrators and full-time faculty.


Robert M. Franklin Lays Out His Vision for the Future of Morehouse College

Recently, President Robert M. Franklin announced his goals for improving the educational experience at Morehouse College, one of the nation’s most prestigious historically black educational institutions. Dr. Franklin wants to raise the graduation rate at Morehouse College to 80 percent. He would like to see two thirds of Morehouse graduates go on to earn advanced degrees. And he wants the college to initiate graduate programs of its own. Franklin also stated that he may consider raising enrollment from 2,400 to as many as 3,500 students. He also announced plans to raise $125 million to help him achieve his goals. This would double the college’s endowment.

Dr. Franklin has been president of Morehouse College since 2007. Previously he was the Presidential Distinguished Professor of Social Ethics at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. A 1975 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Morehouse College with a bachelor’s degree in political science and religion, Dr. Franklin earned a master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School and a Ph.D. in ethics and society, religion and the social sciences from the University of Chicago Divinity School.



Recent Books That May Be of Interest to African-American Scholars

The JBHE Weekly Bulletin regularly publishes a list of new books that may be of interest to our readers. Here are the latest selections. Click on any of the titles for more information or to purchase via Amazon.

Africa as a Living Laboratory: Empire, Development, and the Problem of Scientific Knowledge, 1870-1950 by Helen Tilley (University of Chicago Press)

Cuban Star: How One Negro-League Owner Changed the Face of Baseball by Adrian Burgos Jr. (Hill & Wang)

Domesticating a Religious Import: The Jesuits and the Inculturation of the Catholic Church in Zimbabwe, 1879-1980 by Nicholas M. Creary (Fordham University Press)

Lincoln Apostate: The Matson Slave Case by Charles R. McKirdy (University Press of Mississippi)

My Work Is That of Conservation: An Environmental Biography of George Washington Carver by Mark D. Hersey (University of Georgia Press)

Polemical Pain: Slavery, Cruelty, and the Rise of Humanitarianism by Margaret Abruzzo (Johns Hopkins University Press)

Private Bodies, Public Texts: Race, Gender, and a Cultural Bioethics by Karla FC Holloway (Duke University Press)

Raising Racists: The Socialization of White Children in the Jim Crow South by Kristina DuRocher (University Press of Kentucky)

Romances of the White Man’s Burden: Race, Empire, and the Plantation in American Literature, 1880-1936 by Jeremy Wells (Vanderbilt University Press)

The American Crucible: Slavery, Emancipation, and Human Rights by Robin Blackburn (Verso)

The Dance Claimed Me: A Biography of Pearl Primus by Peggy Schwartz and Murray Schwartz (Yale University Press)

The Dream Is Freedom: Pauli Murray and American Democratic Faith by Sarah Azaransky (Oxford University Press)

The Other World of Richard Wright: Perspectives on His Haiku edited by Jianqing Zheng (University Press of Mississippi)

The Won Cause: Black and White Comradeship in the Grand Army of the Republic by Barbara A. Gannon (University of North Carolina Press)

Unjustly Dishonored: An African American Division in World War I by Robert H. Ferrell (University of Missouri Press)

War of Words, War of Stones: Racial Thought and Violence in Colonial Zanzibar by Jonathan Glassman (University of North Carolina Press)

West African Narratives of Slavery: Texts from Late Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Ghana by Sandra E. Greene (Indiana University Press)

White Flight/Black Flight: The Dynamics of Racial Change in an American Neighborhood by Rachael A. Woldoff (Cornell University Press)

Writing the South Through the Self: Explorations in Southern Autobiography by John C. Inscoe (University of Georgia Press)


Honors and Awards

• Cordell Cunningham, assistant dean of students and assistant director of student life at the University of Oklahoma, received the 2011 Regents’ Award for Superior Staff. Cunningham has served in many staff positions at the university over the past 20 years.

• Linda Darling-Hammond, the Charles E. Ducommon Professor of Education at Stanford University was awarded the Medal for Distinguished Service from Teachers College at Columbia University.

Dr. Darling-Hammond is a graduate of Yale University and holds a doctorate in urban education from Temple University.

• Tiffany P. Fountaine, assistant director of the Center for Academic Success and Achievement at Morgan State University in Baltimore, received the Dr. Carlos J. Vallejo Award for Emerging Scholarship from the American Educational Research Association.

Dr. Fountaine is a graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park. She holds a master’s degree in communications management from Towson University and a doctorate in higher education from Morgan State University.

• Ousseina D. Alidou, a professor of African languages and literature at Rutgers University, received the Warren I. Susman Award for Excellence in Teaching from the university.

Dr. Alidou holds master’s degrees from the Abdou Moumouni University in Niger and Indiana University. She earned a Ph.D. in theoretical linguistics from Indiana University.


What are your plans for the summer?
Taking it easy


Tracking the Progress of Blacks in STEM Degree Awards in the 50 States

As reported in last week’s JBHE, from 2001 to 2009 there was only a slight increase in the number of blacks earning degrees in the so-called STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Furthermore, the percentage of all STEM degrees that were earned by blacks declined during the period. In 2009, blacks earned 7.5 percent of all degrees in STEM fields. In 2001, the figure was 8.1 percent.

There are wide differences from state to state in black progress in STEM fields. In 29 states the number of blacks earning degrees in STEM fields increased at a rate greater than the national average. The most dramatic increase was in North Dakota where the number of blacks earning STEM degrees increased from 3 to 13 from 2001 to 2009. In states with significant black populations, the greatest increases were in Arizona, Kentucky, and Michigan.

In contrast, New Jersey saw a 47.1 percent reduction in the number of STEM degrees awarded to blacks. This was more than twice the rate of decline in any other state. Other states in which the number of blacks earning STEM degrees dropped by more than 10 percent are South Carolina, Illinois, California, Montana, Louisiana, and the District of Columbia.


Mississippi City Aims to Preserve the Home of the First Black Woman to Earn an Educational Doctorate

The city of Vicksburg, Mississippi, has assumed ownership of the former home of Jane McAllister, the first black women in the United States to earn an educational doctorate. The city is applying for a state grant to restore the home and make it into a civil rights historic site and museum.

Dr. McAllister was born in Vicksburg in 1899. She graduated from high school at the age of 15 and then enrolled at historically black Talladega College in Alabama. She graduated at the age of 19 and went on to obtain a master’s degree from the University of Michigan. She earned an educational doctorate at Teachers College of Columbia University in 1929. Her thesis was entitled, The Training of Negro Teachers in Louisiana.

After earning her doctorate, McAllister taught for 20 years at Miner Teachers College in Washington, D.C., an institution that was incorporated into the University of the District of Columbia. She then returned to Mississippi to teach at Jackson State University. She retired in 1967.

Dr. McAllister died in 1996 at the age of 96.



Stanford University Researchers Find Persistent Racial Gap in Mortality Rates of Heart Transplant Patients

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine recently published a study in the journal Circulation which shows a significant racial disparity in mortality rates among heart transplant recipients.

The research examined more than 39,000 cases where patients received heart transplants from 1987 to 2007. The study found that in the 1987 to 1999 period, 27.4 percent of white heart transplant died within five years. For blacks the mortality rate was 38.2 percent. In the more recent 2002 to 2005 period, mortality rates were down but the racial gap was almost the same. In the latest period, 24 percent of whites and 33.7 percent of blacks died within five years of receiving a heart transplant.


The New Provost at Grambling State University

Connie Walton was named provost and vice president for academic affairs at Grambling State University in Louisiana. She has served in the post on an interim basis for the past year. She is a tenured professor of chemistry at Grambling State.

Dr. Walton is a graduate of Grambling State and holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Southern Mississippi.

In Memoriam

J. Ernest Wilkins Jr. (1923-2011)

J. Ernest Wilkins Jr., a prominent African-American scientist and educator, died earlier this month of respiratory failure at his home in Arizona. He was 87 years old.

Wilkins was the son of the former assistant secretary of labor in the Eisenhower administration, the first African American to ever attend a meeting of the president’s cabinet.

The younger Wilkins began school at age 4 and entered high school at age 10. He graduated as valedictorian of his high school class and entered the University of Chicago at age 13. He was the youngest student on campus. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. At 17, he earned a master’s degree. By age 19 he had obtained a Ph.D. in mathematics. During his college years, Wilkins was also the state ping-pong champion.

During World War II, Dr. Wilkins worked on the Manhattan Project which developed the atomic bomb. While no leading university would hire him as a faculty member because of his race, Wilkins worked for several large corporations. Later, he taught mathematics at Howard University and Clark Atlanta University. He also went back to school and earned bachelor’s and master’s degree in mechanical engineering at New York University.

Appointments, Promotions, and Resignations

• Cilas Kemedjio, associate professor of French and Francophone studies at the University of Rochester, was named director of the university’s Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African-American Studies.

• Glenn Loury, the Merton P. Stolz Professor of the Social Sciences at Brown University, was elected to American Philosophical Society.

Professor Loury, who has taught at Brown since 2005, is a graduate of Northwestern University. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from MIT.

• Glenn Proctor, executive editor and vice president for news at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, is retiring in June. This September he will become the Donald W. Reynolds Distinguished Visiting Professor in the department of journalism and mass communications at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.

• Floyd Little, a member of the Hall of Fame for both college and professional football is returning to his alma mater as special assistant to the Syracuse University athletics director. He will be responsible for development and donor relations, assisting with student-athlete and team development and prospective student-athlete on-campus recruitment activities.

Little is a 1967 graduate of Syracuse University and a 1975 graduate of the College of Law at the University of Denver.

• Delores Johnson Price was appointed interim dean of the School of Education at Alabama A&M University. Since 2003 she has been an associate professor in the department of curriculum, teaching, and educational leadership and has chaired the department since 2008.

Dr. Price holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Evansville in Indiana. She earned her doctorate at Loyola University in Chicago.

• Michelle Garfield Cooke was named interim associate provost for institutional diversity at the University of Georgia. She has been serving as associate dean at the university's Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. She also teaches history and African-American studies courses.

Dr. Cooke is a graduate of Princeton University. She holds a master’s degree from Yale University and a Ph.D. in history from Duke University.


Grants and Gifts

• Claflin College, the historically black educational institution in Orangeburg, South Carolina, received a three-year, $75,000 grant from the Norfolk Southern Foundation. The grant will be used to support student scholarships and for campus infrastructure projects.

• National Medical Fellowships in New York received a $100,000 grant from the Aetna Foundation to provide $5,000 scholarships to second- and third-year medical students from underrepresented minority groups who pledge to practice in underserved communities. On average blacks receive about 70 percent of the scholarship support from National Medical Scholarships.

• Hampton University in Virginia received a $1 million gift from university President William R. Harvey and his wife Norma. The gift will be used to raise salaries for about 300 instructional staff members at the university.

President Harvey owns a Pepsi bottling plant in Michigan.

• Morgan State University, the historically black educational institution in Baltimore, received a $1 million grant from the Bernard Osher Foundation. The grant will support a scholarship program at the university’s Center for Continuing and Professional Studies.

• Paine College, the historically black educational institution in Augusta, Georgia, received a $1.6 million grant from the CampusEAI Consortium that will be used to upgrade the college’s technology infrastructure.

The University of Nebraska received a five-year, $562,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health for a study examining how social factors such as racism or poverty affect human biology and contribute to health disparities.

The research will be under the director of Bridget Goosby, an assistant professor of sociology. Dr. Goosby is a graduate of Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in sociology and demography from Penn State.


Copyright © 2011. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.