The Surging Enrollments of Blacks in Graduate Degree Programs

New data from the U.S. Department of Education shows continuing rapid growth in black enrollments in graduate programs. In 2009, there were 342,400 African Americans enrolled in graduate programs in the United States. This was up from 315,200 blacks enrolled in postbaccalaureate education in 2008. This is a one-year gain of 8.6 percent. This is more than twice the enrollment growth in graduate programs shown by white students from 2008 to 2009.

Since the year 2000, the number of blacks enrolled in graduate programs has increased from 181,400 to 342,400. This is an increase of 88.8 percent during the decade. For whites, graduate enrollments increased 22.8 percent in the 2000-to-2009 period. In 2000, blacks made up 8.4 percent of all enrollments in graduate education. In 2009, the latest year for which data is available, blacks were 12 percent of all graduate school enrollments.


New Admission Standards Threaten to Drastically Reduce Black Enrollments at Four-Year Public Colleges and Universities in Louisiana

New admissions standards for state universities in Louisiana may have a major negative impact on black enrollments in higher education in the state. The new standards scheduled to be in effect next year require applicants to score 20 on the American College Testing Programs ACT college entrance examination or have a minimum 2.0 grade point average in 19 core high school courses.

The average ACT score for black students nationwide is 16.9. For students at historically black Southern University at New Orleans, the average ACT score is 15.5 percent. Some 63 percent of students at SUNO need remedial courses. But new standards that go into effect in 2014 require that any student needing remedial work to enroll at community colleges.

According to state education officials, 15 percent of all students who enrolled at a four-year college in 2009 would not have been allowed to enroll under the new standards. For blacks, 35 percent of the first-year students at state-operated four-year colleges and universities would have been denied admission under the new standards.


Gates Millennium Scholars: 15,000 and Counting

Another 1,000 low-income minority students have been awarded Gates Millennium Scholarships. This year’s class includes students from 44 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories. The 1,000 winners will be attending 334 different colleges and universities.

Winners receive money for four years of college as well as leadership training, mentoring, and academic support. To date more than 15,000 students have received Gates Millennium Scholarships. Scholars in the program have achieved a college graduation rate of 90 percent, about twice the rate for minority students generally.

The program was established in 1999 with an endowment of $1.6 billion from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The need-based scholarships are available only for African-American, Hispanic, American Indian, or Asian/Pacific Islander-American students.

Racial Differences in Twitter Use at College

A study of first-year college students conducted by researchers at Northwestern University and published in New Media & Society, found that 37 percent of blacks were using Twitter compared to 21 percent of whites.

Twitter is a real-time information network that allows users to monitor the “tweets” of friends, organizations, athletes, and celebrities. For example, you can follow JBHE on Twitter (@JBHEDotCom) and get instant updates when we publish news that may be of interest to you.

The authors of the study found that African-American college students were more likely than other college students to have an interest in celebrity and entertainment news and that many black students kept abreast of news developments in this area by using Twitter.


Yale University Research Finds Racial Disparity in Monitoring of Prescription Drug Abuse

In a study published in the journal Annals of Family Medicine, Yale University researchers found that black patients are more likely to be screened for prescription drug abuse than white patients. This racial disparity exists despite the fact that previous studies have shown that whites are more likely than blacks to abuse prescription drugs.

The researchers studied 1,600 patients who had been prescribed with opioid painkillers. The results showed that black patients were more likely to be scheduled for urine testing and had greater restrictions placed on refills than white patients.



A Brief Biography of New York State’s New Education Commissioner

John B. King Jr. was named education commissioner for the state of New York. At age 36, he is one of the youngest education officials in the nation. He had been serving as deputy education commissioner.

King, who is of African-American and Puerto Rican descent, grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Both of his parents were educators but he was orphaned at age 12. He attended Phillips Andover Academy but was expelled during his junior year for disciplinary reasons. He moved in with an aunt and uncle in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, where he completed high school. King earned his bachelor’s degree at Harvard University. He went on to earn a law degree at Yale and an educational doctorate at Columbia.

Before joining state government, King was involved in setting up charter schools in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and in New York.


Appointments, Promotions, and Resignations

• Ira K. Blake was named provost and vice president for academic affairs at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania. She has served in the position on an interim basis since 2009. Previously she was associate vice chancellor of academic and student affairs for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

Dr. Blake is a graduate of George Washington University. She holds a master’s degree in educational psychology from San Francisco State University and a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Columbia University.

• Jewell Cherry was appointed vice president for student services at Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She has been serving in the position on an interim basis.

Cherry holds a bachelor’s degree and an MBA from Winthrop University. She is completing work on a doctorate in educational leadership.

• Thomas C. Segar was promoted to vice president for student affairs at Shepherd University in West Virginia. He was assistant vice president for student affairs and director of residence life at the university.

A graduate of the University of Maryland, Segar earned a master’s degree at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. He is currently a doctorate candidate at the University of Maryland.

• Martin Mbugua was named university spokesman at Princeton University. He was communications and marketing manager for the Murphy Institute at the City University of New York. From 2004 to 2010 he was senior news editor at the University of Delaware.

Mbugua holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from St. John’s University and an MBA from the University of Delaware.

• Benjamin Watson is new director of admissions at Voorhees College in Denmark, South Carolina. He was assistant director of admissions at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina.

Watson is a 1991 graduate of Voorhees College. He holds an MBA from Claflin University.

• Leon Sanders was named vice president for finance and administration at Grambling State University in Louisiana. He has been serving in the position on an interim basis. Previously, he was associate vice president for facilities management and campus services at Grambling.

Sanders is a graduate of Alcorn State University. He holds an MBA from Texas Southern University.

• Gary S. May was appointed dean of the College of Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He was chair of the department of electrical and computer engineering at Georgia Tech.

Dr. May is a graduate of Georgia Tech and holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.



Princeton professor Cornel West has created a stir with comments about President Obama, including saying he is "a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats." Of the following statements, which one best expresses your feelings on the matter?
Professor West has raised some important issues that should be discussed.
Professor West is wrong but has the right to say what he believes.
Professor West was wrong to criticize the President.


The New Secretary of Higher Education for the State of New Jersey

Rochelle Hendricks was appointed by Governor Chris Christie to the newly created position of secretary of higher education for the state of New Jersey. Hendricks has been serving as acting deputy education commissioner. She first joined the New Jersey Department of Education in 1987. Hendricks previously held several administrative positions at Princeton University, including assistant dean of students, director of EEO programs, and director of the women’s program.



Nigerian-American Teen Prodigy Heading to Harvard

Saheela Abraham, of Piscataway, New Jersey, is the daughter of Nigerian immigrants. This spring she graduates from the Wardlaw-Hartridge School, a private academy in Edison, New Jersey. She applied to 14 colleges and universities this spring and was accepted at 13. She received offers of admission from Harvard, Penn, Princeton, Columbia, Cornell, Brown, Stanford, Caltech, MIT, Washington University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Chicago, and Williams College. Yale is the only school to reject her.

Saheela is 15 years old. She skipped sixth and ninth grade. She scored very high on her SATs, played soccer and softball in high school, and was on the swim team.  She sings in the school choir and plays the trombone for the school band.

She has decided to enroll at Harvard and plans to study neuroscience.


A Promising Development in the Treatment of Sickle Cell Disease

Researchers at Howard University and 12 other medical schools or hospitals across the nation have discovered a potential breakthrough in the treatment of sickle cell disease, an affliction that is far more common among African Americans than it is for the population as a whole. Using a drug called hydroxycarbamide on children with sickle cell disease produced significant reductions in pain and inflammation. The study found no significant harmful side effects from the use of the drug with children. The medication has been used on adults with sickle cell disease and with certain cancers.


Harvard University and Williams College Report Increases in Black Students Who Accepted the Schools’ Offer of Admission

Harvard University reports that 77 percent of the students it accepted for admission in April have decided to enroll. This yield, one of the highest in the country, if not the highest, is up from 75.5 percent a year ago. Harvard says that 9.8 percent of the students who have accepted the university’s offer of admission are African Americans. In the fall of 2010, blacks were 9.3 percent of the entering class.

At Williams College, the top-rated liberal arts college in western Massachusetts, 70 African Americans are part of the incoming Class of 2015. About 550 students will enroll in the freshman class this fall. Thus, blacks are 12.7 percent of all incoming students. In the fall of 2010, 61 black first-year students enrolled at Williams. They made up 11 percent of the incoming class.

Woodson University Buys a New Campus

Woodson University, the newly established educational institution in Concord, North Carolina, which is named for the esteemed black historian, Carter G. Woodson, has been awarded the right to purchase the 10.5-acre property that housed the Old Bethel School campus in Midland, North Carolina. The Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners chose the Woodson University offer through a sealed bid process.

The property includes five buildings and three athletic fields. A.L. Fleming, president of Woodson University, told JBHE that the buildings will need renovation. He estimates that students, faculty, and administrators will be able to do business on the campus within two years after the sale of the property is finalized.

The New President of the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School

Marvin A. McMickle, senior pastor of the Antioch Baptist Church in Cleveland since 1987 and faculty member at the Ashland Theological Seminary, was chosen as the next president of the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York.  Dr. Mickle will begin his duties this summer and take over the job full time in January.

A native of Chicago, McMickle is a graduate of Aurora University in Illinois. He holds a master’s degree from the Union Theological Seminary in New York, a doctor of ministry degree from the Princeton Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in American studies from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Dr. Mickle is the author of 12 books, including An Encyclopedia of African American Christian Heritage and Caring Pastors, Caring People.


Honors and Awards

• Sabine Simmons, an instructor and academic coordinator of clinical education at Alabama State University, received the 2011 Outstanding New Professional Award from the Alabama Association of Health Information Management. Simmons is a 2006 graduate of Alabama State.

• Cedric Rodney, the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religion at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina, was named the 2011 Alumnus of the Year at Malone University in Canton, Ohio. A native of Guyana, Dr. Rodney is ordained in the Moravian Church. He has been on the WSSU faculty for 41 years.

Dr. Rodney earned his bachelor’s degree at Malone University. He went on to earn a master’s degree at John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio, and a doctor of divinity degree from the Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

• Ralph Waldo Emerson Jones, the former president of Grambling State University in Louisiana, had the new baseball stadium on the Grambling campus named in his honor.

President Jones died in 1982.

• Yvonne R. Jackson, who is retiring as chair of the board of trustees at Spelman College, was honored by having the lower level of Laura Spelman Hall renamed the Yvonne R. Jackson Study Commons. The study area will be open for Spelman women 24 hours a day.

Jackson is a 1970 graduate of the college and has served as board chair since 2004.

• Antonio T. Baines, an assistant professor of biology at North Carolina Central University and an adjunct assistant professor of pharmacology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, received the Minority-Serving Institution Faculty Scholar Award from the American Association for Cancer Research.

Dr. Baines is a graduate of Norfolk State University in Virginia. He holds a Ph.D. in pharmacology and toxicology from the University of Arizona.


Grants and Gifts

• Southern Methodist University in Dallas received a $50,000 grant from the Aetna Foundation to help fund a six-week summer program for 120 academically gifted seventh and eighth grade minority students with the goal of steering these students  towards careers in science or medicine.

• Tennessee State University, the historically black educational institution in Nashville, received a $789,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The university plans to use the money to perform energy evaluations and make improvements to homes of low-income residents in North Nashville.

• South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, received a $300,000 donation from the James E. Clyburn Scholarship and Research Foundation. The money will be used for student scholarships.

James Clyburn is a U.S. Congressman from South Carolina and one of the highest-ranking Democrats in the House of Representatives.

• Jackson State University, the historically black educational institution in Mississippi, received a $400,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State for a program to train Pakistani scientists. The grant will help fund the establishment of a biostatistical consulting center at the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences in Lahore, Pakistan.

Historically black Alcorn State University in Mississippi received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for a program to train science and nursing faculty in the use of literature to connect with medical patients.

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