Blacks Are Making Good Progress in Attainment of Two-Year Community College Degrees

Two-year associate’s degree awards are important. Census data shows that blacks with some college or a two-year associate’s degree significantly increase their earning power over blacks with only a high school diploma.

In 2006 nearly 90,000 African Americans were awarded two-year degrees. This is up nearly 50 percent from the year 2000.

Liberal arts, business, and health services were the most popular fields of study for African Americans in two-year degree programs.

As in most other areas of higher education, African Americans hold a large advantage over black men in community college degree attainments. In 2006 black women earned more than 69 percent of all two-year degrees awarded to African Americans.


All-White Team From Predominantly Black University Wins National Collegiate Bowling Championship

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore, the historically black educational institution in Princess Anne, won the 2008 NCAA women’s bowling championship. The championship was a historic event. It is the first time in any sport that a team from a historically black university won an NCAA Division I championship.

There are 11 women on the university’s bowling team. Only one is black. The one black player did not compete in the national championship match. However, the team’s coach, Sharon Brummell, is an African American.


Three African Americans Elected Members of the American Philosophical Society

The American Philosophical Society, founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin, is America’s oldest learned society. Past members have included George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, Robert Frost, Charles Darwin, and Thomas Edison.

Today there are 975 elected members of the society. Recently, 38 new members were elected. Of these, three are black:

Lawrence J. Bobo, W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University;

Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, Emily Hargroves Professor of Education at Harvard University; and

Claude Steele, Lucy Stern Professor in the Social Sciences and director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.


Few Blacks on the List of the World’s Top Public Intellectuals

Four years ago Prospect magazine in the United Kingdom nominated 100 of the world’s top public intellectuals. Readers and visitors to the magazine’s Web site were asked to vote for whom they believed were the top five public intellectuals in the world.

Noam Chomsky, professor emeritus of linguistics at MIT, received double the number of votes as his nearest competitor. In these rankings Chinua Achebe, the African writer and professor at Bard College, was the highest-ranking black public intellectual. He was ranked the 38th position. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Ethiopian-born advocate for women’s rights, was ranked 46th. Harvard’s Henry Louis Gates Jr. came in 57th place. Wole Soyinka and Ali Mazrui of Binghamton University also made the Top 100 list.

This year the magazine is holding a second vote. Henry Louis Gates Jr. did not make the list of nominees. Wole Soyinka, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Princeton University’s K. Anthony Appiah were the sole black nominees on the list of the world’s top public intellectuals. The rankings will be announced on June 23.


28.6%  Percentage of all African-American high school graduates ages 18 to 24 in 1986 who were enrolled in higher education.

42.0%  Percentage of all African-American high school graduates ages 18 to 24 in 2006 who were enrolled in higher education.

source: U.S. Department of Education


Indiana University Approves New Doctoral Program in African-American and African Diaspora Studies

Fewer than 10 educational institutions nationwide offer a Ph.D. program in black studies. But now we can add a new one to the list, Indiana University in Bloomington.

Two different concentrations will be offered. First, “Race Representation and Knowledge Systems” will focus on how race is represented across the African diaspora. It will explore race-making in intellectual life, popular culture, the media, and the arts.

The second concentration will be “Power, Citizenship, and the Body Politic.”  This track will focus on discrimination, legal issues, and racial inequality.

The new doctoral program will be under the direction of Valerie Grim, the chair of the university’s department of African-American and African diaspora studies.


The New President of Clark Atlanta University

Carlton E. Brown was named the third president of Clark Atlanta University, the historically black educational institution in Georgia. Brown has served as interim president of the university since February. He came to Clark Atlanta in July 2007 as executive vice president and provost. He previously served as president of Savannah State University.

Brown holds a bachelor’s degree and an educational doctorate from the University of Massachusetts. He also has served on the faculty of Old Dominion University and Hampton University.

Brown was selected without the board of trustees conducting a national presidential search. He will take office on August 1.


For Black Men and Women, Higher Education Means Longer Life

A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics shows that a higher education has a significant positive impact on life expectancy. Furthermore, the risk of dying prior to age 65 is rising for people with low levels of education and declining rapidly for college graduates. Black men with a college degree are showing the greatest increases in reducing their premature death rates.

The study examined all deaths for people in the 25 to 64 age group in the period from 1993 to 2001. The data showed that for black men with a college degree, premature death rates fell an average of 6 percent a year compared to black males who dropped out of high school. Black men with a college degree were less likely than other black men to die from heart disease, cancer, and, most particularly, AIDS.

For black women with a four-year college degree, premature death rates declined by an average of 3 percent per year compared to black women with low levels of education. The data showed lower death rates from cancer, strokes, and heart attacks.



• Kimble Reynolds Jr., an attorney and mayor of the city of Martinsville, Virginia, received the 2008 Alumni Distinguished Service Award from the alumni association at Virginia Tech.

Reynolds holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing management and a master’s degree in health and physical education from Virginia Tech. He earned his law degree at Washington and Lee University.

• Joseph L. White, professor emeritus of psychology and psychiatry at the University of California at Irvine, was named 2008 Alumnus of the Year at San Francisco State University.

Dr. White received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Michigan State University.

• Toni Morrison, Robert F. Goheen Professor of the Humanities Emerita at Princeton University, was elected into the inaugural class of inductees for the New Jersey Hall of Fame.

Professor Morrison is in distinguished company. Other inductees include Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Clara Barton, and Frank Sinatra.

• Milton Young, director of animal research in the department of animal resources at the University of Southern California, received the university’s 2008 President’s Award for Staff Achievement.

• Michael Shinn, who had a long career as a quality-control engineer for General Motors, received the Distinguished Engineering Service Award from his alma mater, the University of Kansas.

While at GM, Shinn established the African-American Forum and was a strong supporter of the National Society of Black Engineers. Shinn holds an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.

White and Black Parents May Be Overly Optimistic About the Educational Prospects of Their Children

A new report from the U.S. Department of Education finds that a majority of both black and white parents of children in grades 6 through 12 expect their offspring to complete a four-year college education. The data shows that 66 percent of white parents and 64 percent of black parents believe their children will obtain a bachelor’s degree.

Reality Check: Today about one in three young whites and one in five young blacks actually achieve a four-year college degree.


“I know American society. They’re still quite racist there.”

Rafael Correa, president of Ecuador and supporter of Barack Obama, stating his belief that Americans are too racist to elect a black president


Four High-Ranking Universities Show a Decline in Black First-Year Enrollments Over the Past Decade

Last week, JBHE reported that over the past decade 23 of the nation’s 27 highest-ranked universities have seen increases in black first-year enrollments.

In the 1998 to 2007 period only four of the nation’s 27 highest-ranked universities showed a decrease in black first-year enrollments. Harvard University was the only Ivy League college to show a decline in black first-year enrollments. Duke University also showed a slight decline. These small decreases are not a major concern in view of the fact that both universities were near the top in black first-year enrollments in both 1998 and 2007.

Northwestern University also showed a small decline.

The largest decline was at the University of Michigan. There, the undergraduate admissions plan, which assigned positive points to black applicants, was declared unconstitutional in the June 2003 Gratz ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. But the decline in black enrollments had begun even before the Supreme Court’s decision. In 2001 blacks were 9 percent of all incoming freshmen. In 2004 blacks were only 5.8 percent of the first-year class. In 2006 voters in Michigan passed a public referendum that banned all considerations of race in admissions decisions at state universities. In the fall of 2007, 5.6 percent of the incoming class at the University of Michigan was black. But many of these students were admitted before the ban on affirmative action became law. Therefore, black enrollments may decline even further in the years ahead.


New Center on Black Politics Established at Columbia University

Columbia University in New York City has announced the establishment of the Center on African-American Politics and Society within the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy.

The new center, directed by Fredrick Harris, a professor of political science at Columbia, will conduct social science research on political, social, and economic matters affecting blacks in the United States.

Initially, the center will focus on the issue of race in the 2008 presidential election.


Three Africans Named World Fellows at Yale University

Yale University has announced its 2008 class of World Fellows. Eighteen young scholars from around the globe will come to New Haven this fall to take a seminar taught by a number of Yale’s most prestigious faculty. They will also have the opportunity to take any other course taught at Yale. In addition, the World Fellows will be invited to weekly dinners which will be attended by American and foreign dignitaries and scholars.

The goals of the World Fellows program is to give advanced training to emerging world leaders, to form a network of these young leaders, and to foster international understanding and cooperation.

Among the 2008 World Fellows are three young Africans:

• Emmanuel Asiedu, director of Stanbic Investment Management Services in Ghana;

• Precious Lunga, an epidemiologist who manages the United Kingdom’s Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit in Zimbabwe; and

• Ibidapo Oyewole, executive director of the Centre for African Policy and Peace Strategy in Nigeria.


Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund Unveils New Web Site

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund has made significant improvements to its Web site. Students visiting the site can now use a search engine which helps them find the right college based on a wide variety of criteria. There is also extensive information on financial aid and scholarships offered by the fund.

The organization represents 47 publicly operated black colleges and universities in 22 states. Since its founding in 1987, the fund has provided scholarships to more than 7,300 students.

To view the enhanced Web site, click here.


In American Politics, Racism Is Far From Dead

Barack Obama is pinning his hopes for the White House on the notion that America is ready to move on to a postracial society. But there are many signs that this is not the case. White voters, particularly older and low-income whites, have been reluctant to support his candidacy. In the latest instance of the so-called Bradley Effect, Obama has consistently performed better in preelection polls than he has when actual vote tallies were completed.

But racism is not confined to the voting booth. One bar owner in Marietta, Georgia, has generated considerable controversy by his sale of T-shirts that show a monkey eating a banana and the words, “Obama in ’08.”

And there has been numerous incidents of racism directed against Obama campaign workers. A campaign staffer in Pennsylvania reported that when soliciting voters over the telephone she was told to “Hang that darkey from a tree.” In Vincennes, Indiana, the Obama campaign office was defaced with graffiti the night before that state’s primary. Black teenagers in Kokomo, Indiana, stood along a local highway holding Obama campaign signs. They reported that people frequently rolled down their car windows and yelled “nigger.”


MIT Reports Strong Performance in Recruiting Black Students

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology will have 1,040 entering students this coming fall. Blacks will make up about 10 percent of the incoming class. A year ago there were 99 black freshmen at MIT, making up 9.3 percent of the entering class. A decade ago there were 62 black freshmen in the entering class.

MIT’s performance is particularly noteworthy considering students at the university tend to have strong science, engineering, or mathematics backgrounds. Other universities with heavy concentrations in the sciences, such as CalTech, have had far less success in recruiting black students.



Mark C. Dawkins is the new associate dean for academic programs at the Terry College of Business of the University of Georgia. He has served as a faculty member at the school since 1994.

Dr. Dawkins is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology. He holds an MBA from the University of Florida and a Ph.D. in accounting from Florida State University.

Regina Brooks Artis was appointed interim assistant director of the Center for Academic Excellence at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro. She has been on the center’s administrative staff for the past five years.

Glen Reid was named director of public safety at Clarion University in Clarion, Pennsylvania. She was chief of campus police for the Penn State Greater Allegheny campus.

Reid is a graduate of Point Park University in Pittsburgh. She holds a master’s degree from Duquesne University.



The University of Maryland Eastern Shore, the historically black educational institution in Princess Anne, received a five-year, $1.5 million grant from the Richard A. Henson Foundation to increase the number of black students pursuing careers in business, science, and technology. The grant will be used to establish the Henson Entrepreneurs and Scholars Endowment Program at the university.

• North Carolina A&T State University received a $100,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for the development of the Black College Wire, an online news service for African Americans in higher education. The service is a collaboration of the university, The Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, and Black Collegian magazine.

The University of Georgia received a $3.4 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to develop a computer-based curriculum for in-home use as part of its Strong African-American Families program. The program is geared toward changing parenting behaviors in order to enhance children’s opportunities for success.

The program is under the director of Velma McBride Murry, a professor of child and family development.


Copyright © 2008. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.