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A Successful Blueprint for Attracting Blacks to Science Fields

A study by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) finds that the National Science Foundation’s Broadening Participation in Computing (BPC) program has been a tremendous success in increasing enrollments of minority students in computer science. The program, funded by an NSF grant, involves 11 alliances between research universities, historically black colleges and universities, and public school systems. One alliance, called Advancing Robotics Technology for Societal Impact, joins 13 black colleges with 10 large research universities. Students at the black colleges participate in research projects at the large universities.

The AAAS report notes that enrollments in computer science programs at the college level are down but, due to the BPC alliances, enrollments of minority students in computer science programs are increasing. The report recommends that similar alliance programs be used to attract black and other minority students to all scientific disciplines.

Readers interested in downloading the entire AAAS report can do so by clicking here.

UCLA Study Finds That Racial Differences in Cardiovascular Disease Are Due Mainly to Differences in Socioeconomic Status, Not Race

A study by researchers at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California at Los Angeles finds that low socioeconomic status is a far greater indicator of cardiovascular disease than is race. The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, examined the medical histories of 12,154 individuals for coronary heart disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

The results, published in this month’s issue of the journal Annals of Epidemiology, show that racial disparities in cardiovascular disease are due mainly to the fact that on average blacks tend to be poorer than whites. If blacks and whites of similar socioeconomic status are compared, the racial disparities all but disappear.

Spelman College and Howard University Top the New U.S. News Rankings of HBCUs

This past week U.S. News & World Report unveiled its latest rankings of colleges and universities in the United States. Harvard University was ranked the best national university and Williams College was named the best of the national liberal arts colleges.

Howard University in Washington, D.C., was the highest-ranked historically black institution on the U.S. News list of national universities. Howard ranked in 104th position, tied with both Florida State University and the University of Kansas.

Spelman College in Atlanta was the highest-ranked HBCU among the liberal arts colleges. It ranked 59th this year, up from 68th a year ago. Spelman was tied in this year’s ranking with Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.

Spelman and Howard ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the U.S. News rankings of HBCUs. Also ranking in the top 10 black colleges and universities, according to U.S. News, are Morehouse College, Hampton University, Tuskegee University, Xavier University of Louisiana, Fisk University, Claflin University, Dillard University, and Tougaloo College.

North Carolina Central University and Florida A&M University were the top-ranked state-operated HBCUs in the U.S. News survey.

School of Education at Historically Black Winston-Salem State University Establishes Two New Departments

Winston-Salem State University, the historically black educational institution in North Carolina, has announced the establishment of two new academic departments. The departments, in the university’s School of Education and Human Performance, are the department of secondary education and the department of educational leadership, counseling, and professional studies.

The department of secondary education will be chaired by Cynthia Williams-Brown. She is a graduate of Shaw University and holds a master’s degree from North Carolina Central University and a doctorate from the University of South Carolina.

The department of educational leadership, counseling and professional studies will include all of the university’s graduate programs in education. The interim chair will be Edwin Bell, professor of education. Dr. Bell is a graduate of Bowdoin College. He holds a master’s degree from Boston College and an educational doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Johns Hopkins University Moves Toward Need-Blind Admissions

This year the entering class at the highly selective Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore was selected on a need-blind basis. In order to conduct this year’s admissions on a need-blind basis, an extra $4 million was allocated for financial aid. Ronald Daniels, president of Johns Hopkins, wants to make need-blind admissions permanent and an announcement to that effect is expected this fall.

Blacks make up about 7 percent of the undergraduate student body at Johns Hopkins University. About 11.4 percent of undergraduate students at Johns Hopkins qualify for Pell Grants, which are available only to students from low-income families.

Tragedy Saddens Campus Community at Kutztown University

Chukwudubem A. Okafor, an associate professor of English at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, shot his estranged wife, killing her, and then took his own life. A native of Nigeria, Professor Okafor had taught at Kutztown since 1995. His wife, Cheryl, was a native of Jamaica. She was an accomplished artist and photographer. The couple had four school-age children.

Division of Academic Affairs at Historically Black North Carolina A&T State University Has New Leaders

North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro has announced several administrative changes in its Division of Academic Affairs.

Dorothy Leflore was named interim dean of the School of Education. She has been on the school’s faculty for 13 years. Dr. Leflore is a graduate of Mississippi State University. She holds master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Oregon.

Lori Hunter was appointed interim associate vice chancellor of enrollment management. She has been serving as assistant dean of student services in the university’s School of Technology. Dr. Hunter is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh. She holds a master’s degree from Harvard University and a doctorate from Syracuse University.

Alan Letton is the new interim associate vice chancellor for research and dean of the Graduate School. He is the head of his own consulting firm. He previously taught at Texas A&M University and Tuskegee University. A graduate of MIT, he holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Cincinnati.

In Memoriam

Harry Cody Press Jr. (1932-2010)

Harry C. Press Jr., longtime chair of the radiology department at Howard University, died last month from complications associated with colon cancer at his home in Bethesda, Maryland. He was 78 years old.

Dr. Press was a native of Chesapeake, Virginia. He graduated with honors from historically black Virginia Union University in Richmond and went on to earn his medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia. He served his residency at Freedmen’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. In the mid-1960s he joined the faculty at Howard University and served as chair of the radiology department from 1966 to 1979. He remained on the Howard faculty until recently when his health deteriorated.

Honors and Awards

• William L. Pollard, president of Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, a part of the City University of New York, received the Community Service Award from the West Indian American Day Carnival Association.

Dr. Pollard is a graduate of Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. He holds a master of social work degree from the University of North Carolina and a Ph.D. in policy and planning from the University of Chicago.

• Edith Williams, research assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics and deputy director for research and sustainability of the Institute for Partnerships to Eliminate Health Disparities at the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health, was awarded the 2010 Pfizer Fellowship in Health Disparities.

The award comes with a two-year stipend of $130,000. She will use the award to conduct research on stress in African-American lupus patients.

Grants and Gifts

• Hampton University, the historically black educational institution in Virginia, received a two-year, $6.3 million grant from NASA to continue its work on the Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere satellite mission through 2014. The project was previously funded through September 2012.

• Yale University’s Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies received a four-year, $9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Among the center’s five studies councils is a working group on Africa.

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore, the historically black educational institution in Princess Anne, received a $999,987 Conservation Innovation Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The university will conduct research on reducing soluble phosphorous losses from soil on poultry farms.

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Large Mural Depicting Black Contributions to State History Unveiled at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

The School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recently unveiled a 5-by-50-foot mural commemorating the contributions blacks and American Indians have made to North Carolina’s history. The mural, by artist Colin Quashie of Charleston, South Carolina, depicts eight events and shows 40 different individuals. The mural is on the first floor of the Knapp-Sanders Building on the Chapel Hill campus. The project was funded by the Local Government Federal Credit Union.

Navy Takes Delivery of Ship Named After Its First Black Admiral

Northrop Grumman has completed work on the Navy’s 27th Aegis guided missile destroyer. The 510-foot ship, which will be commissioned this November in Wilmington, North Carolina, is named for Vice Admiral Samuel L. Gravely Jr., the first African American to command a U.S. Navy warship.

Gravely was born in Richmond, Virginia, in 1922 and graduated from Virginia Union University, the historically black college in that city. He enlisted in the Naval Reserve and saw combat in World War II. He was the first African-American admiral. Towards the end of his career he was put in charge of the Third Fleet in the Pacific.

Vice Admiral Gravely retired from the Navy in 1980 after a 38-year career and died in 2004.

New Scholarship Program for Minority Students at the University of Arkansas

The University of Arkansas has established the Razorback Bridge Scholarship program. The 24 students accepted for the scholarships receive $3,500 and are paired with a faculty or student mentor of the same race to help them navigate the assimilation into the campus community.

To avoid any legal problems, Razor Bridge Scholarships are available to students of any race but those selected must represent a group that is underrepresented on the Fayetteville campus.

New Information Technology Major Approved at Florida A&M

The board of trustees of Florida A&M University has approved a new bachelor’s degree program in information technology. Some trustees questioned whether the new major would duplicate the current offering of computer information systems. But Provost Cynthia Hughes Harris convinced the board that the new major was necessary and stated that she believed 60 to 80 students would choose the discipline.

The board, faced with cutting 20 percent of the operating budget, was also concerned about adding the expense of a new major degree field with its accompanying administrative costs.

Bowie State University Foundation Adds New Directors

Bowie State University, the historically black educational institution in Maryland, has named three African Americans to the board of directors of the university’s foundation. The new members are:

Monty Cooper, an attorney with Wallace King Domike & Reiskin. Cooper is a graduate of Georgetown University and the William and Mary School of Law;

Arethia Toni Lewis is president of The Perfect Plan of Greater Washington. She is a graduate of the District of Columbia Teachers College; and

Albert Wynn, a former congressman from Maryland, is a senior adviser at the law firm Dickstein Shapiro. He is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and the Georgetown University Law Center.

Race Relations on Campus Database

Periodically, JBHE Weekly Bulletin will publish a selection of racial incidents that have occurred on the campuses of colleges and universities. Here are the latest incidents:

A noose was found hanging in a stairwell in an auditorium on the campus of the University of California at San Diego. The campus has been plagued by a series of racial incidents over the past year. (Los Angeles Times, 7-28-10)

A former academic adviser at the University of South Florida in Tampa has filed a race discrimination claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Florida Commission on Human Relations. The black woman admits to an NCAA rule violation of providing free textbooks to a non-scholarship athlete. But she says similar and more serious violations by white employees were overlooked. (St. Petersburg Times, 7-30-10)

A former assistant football coach at the University of New Mexico is filing a federal race discrimination lawsuit against the university. The coach claims he was assaulted by the head football coach during an argument. The suit claims that the university would have handled the situation differently if a white coach had been assaulted. (Albuquerque Journal, 7-28-10)

A former administrator at Corning Community College in New York has filed a federal race discrimination lawsuit against the educational institution. According to the suit, the college “created a discriminatory work environment” and “fired employees due to their race, ethnicity, or gender.” The plaintiff, who is a black man, claims that whites hired by the college are not subjected to the same scrutiny as minority candidates.

Blacks make up about 3 percent of the 5,700-member student body at the college. (Elmira Star-Gazette, 8-7-10)

Appointments, Promotions, and Resignations

Joanne Berger-Sweeney was named dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. She was associate dean and the Allene Lummis Russell Professor in Neuroscience at Wellesley College.

Dr. Berger-Sweeney is a graduate of Wellesley College. She holds a master of public health degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a Ph.D. in neurotoxicology from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

• Damon Phillips was named the Jeffery Breakenridge Keller Professor of Organizations and Strategy at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. He joined the faculty at the business school in 1998 after earning a Ph.D. in organizational behavior from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

• Mervyn Warren was appointed interim president of Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama. He was serving as provost and senior vice president at the university.

Dr. Warren is a graduate of Oakwood University. He holds two master’s degrees from Andrews University, a Ph.D. from Michigan State University, and a doctorate of ministry degree from Vanderbilt Divinity School.

• Frank Ward Jr. has joined the music department faculty at the University of Akron. He previously taught at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.

Dr. Ward is a graduate of Morehouse College and holds master’s and doctoral degrees in music from the University of Michigan.

• Zillah Matare Fluker is the new associate vice president for development at Alabama State University in Montgomery. She was an executive at United Technologies Corporation.

A graduate of Alabama State University, Fluker holds a master’s degree and an MBA from Purdue University.

• Malverse A. Nicholson Jr. was appointed dean of College Life Services at Prince George’s County Community College in Largo, Maryland. He was director of student activities and judicial affairs at Virginia State University.

A graduate of Hampton University, Dean Nicholson holds a master’s degree from Norfolk State University and is completing doctoral work in organizational behavior at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

• Phyllis Cunningham was named national director of foundation relations at the United Negro College Fund. She was a senior development associate at the National Park Foundation.

Cunningham holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Howard University.

• William Hudson Jr. was named acting vice president for student affairs at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. Dr. Hudson, who is heading the committee to find his replacement, is a certified rehabilitation counselor and an adjunct professor at the university.

Dr. Hudson holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Florida A&M and a Ph.D. in rehabilitation counseling from Florida State University.

• Torrey Feimster is the new director of corporate relations at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. A graduate of Wake Forest University, Feimster is the former publisher of Pride Magazine.

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