Study Finds That Few Graduate Programs in Political Science Take Socioeconomic Diversity Into Account When Choosing Applicants

Kenneth Oldfield, a professor emeritus of public administration at the University of Illinois, has published research on the admissions policies of graduate programs in political science. He found that almost all of the graduate programs voiced a commitment to increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the field. But he found that very few of the graduate programs asked applicants about their socioeconomic status.

Professor Oldfield reports in a paper published in PS: Political Science and Politics that only 8 percent of political science graduate programs asked applicants about their parents’ occupation and 12 percent asked about the educational attainment of an applicant’s parents.

Professor Oldfield concludes that graduate programs in political science need to do a better job in seeking out students from low-income backgrounds if a truly diverse cadre of faculty in political science is to be achieved.


The Gender Gap in African-American Professional Degree Attainments

In 1989 African-American women earned more professional degree awards than black men for the first time in history. Black women have held the lead ever since.

The gender gap in black professional degree awards is large but not as wide as in bachelor’s and master’s degree attainments. In 2006 black women earned 63 percent of all professional degrees awarded to African Americans, down from 64 percent the previous year.


Caryl Phillips Spending the Summer as a Montgomery Fellow at Dartmouth College

Award-winning author Caryl Phillips is spending the summer as a Montgomery Fellow at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Kenneth Montgomery was a 1925 graduate of the college and in 1977 endowed the fellowship “to provide for the advancement of the academic realm of the college in ways that will significantly add to the quality and character thereof, making possible major new dimensions for, as well as extraordinary enrichments to, the educational experience.”

Phillips is teaching a course entitled “Race and Class in Postwar British Fiction.” He resides in the Montgomery mansion which is just off the Dartmouth campus.

Phillips is the author of nine novels and several works of nonfiction. He was born on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts but grew up in the English city of Leeds.

Phillips is a graduate of Oxford University. This fall he will return to Yale University where he is a professor of English.


Black College in Arkansas Goes Into the Carwash Business

The Wheels and Grills carwash and restaurant in Little Rock, Arkansas, had a history of being a major trouble spot for police. The establishment was a hangout for drug dealers and users and there were several robberies and assaults on the property.

Last summer the carwash was purchased by Arkansas Baptist College so that its business students would have a “laboratory” to practice entrepreneurship. The establishment was repainted with school colors and $100,000 in renovations are planned. Students will now run both the carwash and restaurant polishing their skills for the business world. The college plans to reopen the carwash and restaurant for business in September.

The site is now patrolled by campus security forces and crime is down significantly at the site.


Black Legislators in Alabama Seek to End College Loan Program Created to Honor Stonewall Jackson

Black legislators in Alabama are seeking to end a state college scholarship program created in 1955 to honor Confederate General Stonewall Jackson. Students of any race can apply for a $1,000 loan by writing a 1,500-word essay on Jackson. 

Records show that 53 loans have been given out since 1989. Although the student loans are supposed to be paid back to the state within five years of graduating college, most students have not paid back the loans.


25.3%  Percentage of all African-American high school seniors in 1972 who participated in a student government organization.

13.5%  Percentage of all African-American high school seniors in 2004 who participated in a student government organization.

source: U.S. Department of Education


Russell Davis Appointed President of Gloucester County College

After serving as interim and then acting president for the past year, Russell A. Davis was appointed president of Gloucester County College in Sewell, New Jersey. The community college has approximately 6,000 students, about 10 percent of whom are African Americans.

Davis had withdrawn his name from consideration last October after it was revealed that he had misrepresented his academic credentials when applying for a position with Bowie State University in 1998. In December, the Gloucester board of trustees had selected a new president but that candidate abruptly decided not to accept the offer. In the end, Davis’ success in running the community college over the past year convinced the board that he was the right man for the job.

Davis is a graduate of Hampton University and holds a doctorate in education from Morgan State University.


Three Deans Appointed at Florida A&M University

Florida A&M University, the historically black educational institution in Tallahassee, has appointed three new deans:

Ralph Turner, a professor of chemistry who has been on the faculty since 1967, was named dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He had served as associate dean.

Barbara Mosley was named dean of the School of Allied Health. A member of the faculty for 25 years, Mosley had been associate dean.

Genniver Bell was appointed dean of the College of Education. She was an associate professor of educational leadership at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina.

Bell, a graduate of Oral Roberts University, holds an educational doctorate from Clark Atlanta University.



LaTimia White was named director of the Civitan-Sparks Clinics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The clinics specialize in treatment of autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and other neurodevelopment disabilities.

Dr. White is an assistant professor of psychiatry and neurobiology at the university.

• Sunny E. Ohia was named provost and vice president of academic affairs at Texas Southern University in Houston. He was dean of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Houston.

Dr. Ohia holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in pharmacology from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. He holds a Ph.D. in pharmacology from Glasgow University in Scotland.

• Marcus W. Shute was appointed vice president for research and sponsored programs at Clark Atlanta University. He held a similar position at Tennessee State University.

Dr. Shute is a graduate of Tennessee State University where he was the first student in the history of the educational institution to graduate with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. He holds a master’s degree in materials science from MIT and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech.

• Lenneal J. Henderson Jr. was named interim provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at North Carolina Central University in Durham. He has served since 2001 as the Daniel Blue Endowed Professor of Political Science at the university.

Henderson holds bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, all from the University of California at Berkeley.

• Robert M. Franklin Jr., president of Morehouse College in Atlanta, was elected to the executive committee of the Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education.

• Donald R. McDowell was named interim dean of the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro. He has served as associate dean for agriculture programs since 2001 and has been a member of the faculty at the university since 1981.

Dr. McDowell is a graduate of Southern University. He holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from the University of Illinois.

Black High School Students Are Increasingly Taking Advanced Level Courses in Foreign Languages

The vast majority of all high school students take the minimum requirements for foreign language study but few go on to advanced level study. But many of the nation’s leading colleges and universities prefer that applicants have three or four years of foreign language study.

A new report from the U.S. Department of Education finds that blacks are making progress in increasing their presence in advanced level courses in foreign languages. In 1982 less than 3 percent of all black students were taking an advanced course in a foreign language. By 2004 this percentage had increased to 7.5 percent.


“Some black folk said, ‘Why isn’t Obama in the black community?’ I said to them, ‘Clear your mind, son, he’s trying to get elected. You can’t do that preaching to the choir.’”

Joseph Lowery, president emeritus of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, quoted in the St. Petersburg Times, 7-11-08


Addressing the Pipeline Problem: Leadership Alliance Seeks to Boost Number of Black Students Pursuing a Ph.D.

The Leadership Alliance is a consortium, based at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, of major research universities and several historically black colleges and universities. The Alliance seeks to increase the number of minorities who pursue a Ph.D. degree and later take leadership positions in the academic world. The consortium is a collaboration of 33 colleges and universities that devote academic resources, faculty mentors, and money to help the Alliance reach its goals.

The Leadership Alliance Summer Research Early Identification Program offers minority undergraduates interested in pursuing a Ph.D. the opportunity to work for eight to 10 weeks under the guidance of a faculty or research mentor at a participating Alliance institution. These research internships are geared toward giving these students a feel for graduate level research. The Alliance also provides fellowships for graduate students pursuing a Ph.D.

The Leadership Alliance recently passed a milestone when the 100th student who participated in the program received a Ph.D. More than 100 additional students are currently in the Alliance’s Ph.D. pipeline.


New Sickle Cell Disease Center at Johns Hopkins University

Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder that affects more than 70,000 Americans. While sufferers of the disease can be of any race, the vast majority of people who have the disease are African American.

Thus the formation of a sickle cell disease center at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore is of particular interest to black Americans. The center will include primary care facilities for sickle cell patients and research laboratories. The center will also offer counseling and education services for sickle cell patients and their families and will sponsor the work of a faculty member in sickle cell disease research. A summer internship program for high school students interested in working in sickle cell research will also be offered by the center.

The new sickle cell disease center at Johns Hopkins University is made possible by a $5 million grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Arthur L. Burnett II, a professor of urology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, will head up the research arm of the center.


Federal Courthouse in Arkansas Named for African-American Educational Pioneer

The federal courthouse in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, was recently dedicated to the memory of the late George Howard Jr. In 1954 Howard was one of the first African Americans to earn a law degree at the University of Arkansas.

Howard was the first black judge appointed to the Supreme Court of Arkansas. In 1980 he was named by President Jimmy Carter as the first black federal judge in the state. He served on the federal bench for more than a quarter-century and presided over several of the trials resulting from the Whitewater investigation.

Judge Howard died in 2007 at the age of 82.


Six African-American Students Win Jack Kent Cooke Transfer Scholarships

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s community college transfer scholarship program offers scholarships for up to $30,000 per year for low-income students who have completed work at a two-year community college and who seek to complete a bachelor’s degree at a four-year institution.

This year 46 Jack Kent Cooke Transfer Scholarships were awarded. Six of the winners are African Americans:

David K. Kariuki, a native of Kenya, attended Essex County College in New Jersey. He will enroll as a junior at Stanford University this fall. His plan is to pursue a Ph.D. in the biomedical sciences and to conduct research in disease prevention.

Ahmad A. Lewis is a native of Los Angeles. He attended Long Beach City College and is now transferring to Stanford University. He will be a sociology major at Stanford and hopes to continue on to graduate school and become a university professor.

Bertheleau M. Ngakam is from Cameroon. He came to the United States in 2004. A year later he enrolled at Essex County College in New Jersey. Two years later he graduated with an associate’s degree, ranking first in his class. He will enroll at Cornell University and he plans to become a doctor.

Candace N. Payne grew up in Miami after coming to the United States from Trinidad and Tobago at an early age. She achieved a perfect 4.0 grade point average at Palm Beach Community College and was voted the college’s best chemistry student. She will now enroll at George Washington University with the hope of one day becoming a physician.

Deeneaus D. Polk completed his studies at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and is transferring to the University of Mississippi. He plans to attend law school after college and to specialize in international law. He would like to serve as an ambassador in Europe.

Kojo N. Wallace of New York City is a graduate of Bronx Community College, a part of the City University of New York system. He will be attending Cornell University to major in biochemistry and/or mathematics and plans to become a doctor.


In Memoriam

Louis Coleman (1943-2008)

Louis Coleman, known as one of the key leaders of the civil rights movement in Kentucky, died earlier this month at a hospital in Louisville, after suffering a series of seizures. He was 64 years old.

Coleman was a native of Louisville and graduated from historically black Kentucky State University. After playing minor league baseball, he returned to his alma mater to coach football.

In 1975 he founded the Justice Resource Center which he used to organize civil rights protests. He became an ordained minister after completing his studies at Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Louisville in 1979. He was the leader of a 14-year legal battle with the DuPont company which, he claimed, maintained a seniority system that was unfair to blacks. DuPont settled the case in 1993.

Coleman picketed racially segregated golf clubs and mounted a protest at the construction site of the football stadium at the University of Louisville because it did not include a significant number of minority contractors. In 2004 he led a protest outside Louisville police headquarters after a black youth was gunned down during a drug bust.


Honors and Awards

• Eliza Wells, a doctoral student in counseling psychology at the University of Georgia, received the Doctoral Scholar Award from the Southern Regional Education Board. The award includes a year of tuition and fees, a $15,000 stipend, and a $500 research allowance. Wells will use the award to complete a clinical internship at the University of Memphis.

Wells is a graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana and holds a master’s degree from Loyola University in New Orleans.

• Johnnetta B. Cole, former president at both Spelman College and Bennett College for Women and now chair of the Global Inclusion and Diversity Institute at Bennett, was the recipient of the 365Black Award presented by McDonald’s Corporation. The award is presented to African Americans who have made extensive efforts to give back to the community.

• Vincent Collin Beach received the 2008 Carter G. Woodson Award from the National Council for Social Science. Beach was honored for his book, Don’t Throw Away Your Stick Till You Cross the River: The Journey of an Ordinary Man.



Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York, received a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce to establish the Brooklyn International Trade Development Center to assist local firms participating in international importing and exporting.

Medgar Evers College, part of the City University of New York, has a student body that is 80 percent black.

• The University of Alabama at Birmingham received a $3.6 million grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for research on how genetic and environmental factors affect African Americans who are administered an oral blood thinner.

• Howard University, the historically black educational institution in Washington, D.C., received a $750,000 grant from the Helene Fuld Health Trust. The grant will be used to provide scholarships for nursing students.


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