Post Your Job Openings on
E-mail Alerts
Advertise Here

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

HomeJobsAboutAuthor GuidelinesAd RatesWeb Ad Rates
Latest News

News & Views


Faculty Positions

Book Reviews

Test Your Knowledge

Affirmative Action Timeline

Vital Statistics

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor
The Race Relations Reporter

Advertise Here

Racial Scoring Gap on the SAT College Entrance Examination Is the Widest in 20 Years

Writing in the 2003 Supreme Court Grutter decision, which upheld the use of race in admissions programs at colleges and universities, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor stated that she hoped that in 25 years there would be no need for such programs. But over the five years since the Grutter ruling the racial gap in SAT scores has actually increased, not diminished, as Justice O’Connor had hoped. And SAT scores remain a major component in admissions decisions at highly ranked colleges and universities.

Now the latest test score report from The College Board shows that for white high school seniors in 2008 the average combined score on the reading and mathematics sections of the SAT test was 1065. This is up four points from a year ago.

For blacks, the average score was 856. This is six points lower than a year ago. Therefore, the racial gap, now 209 points, is 10 points higher than a year ago. The racial gap in SAT scores is also wider than at any point over the past two decades.

Spelman Tops U.S. News’ Rankings of Black Colleges

For the second straight year U.S. News & World Report has included a separate ranking of the nation’s historically black colleges and universities in its annual survey of “America’s Best Colleges.” To rank the black colleges, U.S. News used a formula that included, among other factors, a peer review of academic quality by college presidents, provosts, and deans; retention rates; selectivity; financial health; and the alumni donation rate.

As was the case last year, Spelman College, the women’s college in Atlanta, was ranked in the top position in the U.S. News survey. Spelman was also the only black college among the 75 highest-ranked liberal arts colleges in the nation.

Howard University ranked second in the U.S. News survey of black colleges and universities. Other schools ranked in the top 10 of the nation’s historically black colleges and universities are Morehouse College, Hampton University, Fisk University, Tuskegee University, Claflin University, Dillard University, Xavier University, and Johnson C. Smith University.

Racial Gerrymandering in Mississippi Involves Students at Predominantly White Universities

Blacks make up 55 percent of the permanent population of the city of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. But three of the city’s five wards have white majorities. These wards all have elected white council members giving whites control of the city council.

The city council drew voting districts that include students from the University of Southern Mississippi and William Carey University. The University of Southern Mississippi has about 15,000 students but only 30 percent of them are black, which is much lower than the percentage of blacks in the city’s population. At William Carey University there are about 2,800 students; again, close to 30 percent are black.

By including these students in the drawing of the city’s political wards, regardless of whether the students vote in the city, the council is able to maintain a 3-2 white majority on the city council.

A group of black citizens filed a lawsuit against the city saying that the districting plan violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965. But federal judge Keith Starrett ruled in favor of the city council saying that no violation occurred. Judge Starrett was appointed to the federal bench by George W. Bush.

Report Finds That Black Students in Many Public Charter Schools Are Outperforming Their Peers in Traditional Public School Settings

There are now more than 4,300 public charter schools in operation in the United States. Combined they enroll more than 1.2 million children. Charter schools have become very popular with many African-American parents who are disenchanted with the traditional public school system and see these schools as the only way their children will get a quality K-12 education.

A new report from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools shows that black youngsters in charter schools are academically outperforming black students in traditional public schools. The report lists independent studies and analyses which demonstrate tremendous progress is being made by black charter school students. For example, the report sites a study by the Chicago school system which shows that blacks who attend charter schools have a graduation rate seven percentage points higher than black students in other public schools. The college enrollment rate for black graduates of charter high schools is 11 percentage points higher than the rate for other African-American high school graduates in Chicago.

The report, The Color of Success: Black Student Achievement in Public Charter Schools, is available online by clicking here.

The College Board Announces Plans for a New SAT-Type Test for Eighth-Graders

The College Board recently announced plans to introduce a test for eighth-graders that will assess whether they are on the right track for college. Students who do poorly on the test will know that they have to take a more rigorous curriculum when they enter high school in order to do well on the PSAT and SAT when they take these tests during their high school years. Cynics believe that The College Board is simply looking to boost revenue and to protect its turf. The American College Testing Program, which offers the ACT college admissions examination, is increasingly taking a bigger share of the market from The College Board’s SAT test. And the American College Testing Program already offers an eighth-grade test called Explore, which is taken by over one million students annually.

The College Board maintains that the eighth-grade test would also familiarize students with the SAT format so that they will be less anxious when it is time for them to take the test for college admission. But Robert Schaeffer, public information director for the National Center for Fair and Open Testing in Cambridge, Massachusetts, scoffs, “Now we’re going to have a preadmission test to get ready for the preadmission test? Get ready to get ready to get ready? It’s insane.”


• Roosevelt Newson was named provost and vice president for academic affairs at Bowie State University in Maryland. He held a similar position at the University of North Alabama in Florence.

Dr. Newson is a graduate of Southern University. He holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from the Peabody Conservatory of Music at Johns Hopkins University.

• Brian L. Johnson was named chief of staff for the president at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. Johnson will also continue as an associate professor of English.

A graduate of Johnson C. Smith University, Dr. Johnson holds a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and a Ph.D. in English from the University of South Carolina.

• G. Dale Wesson was promoted to interim vice president for research at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. He was associate vice president for research.

Dr. Wesson is a graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology. He holds a master’s degree from Georgia Tech and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Michigan State University.

• Samuel Dosumu was appointed vice president of instructional services at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College in Asheville, North Carolina. He had served as dean of the School of Business and Information Technology at San Juan College in Farmington, New Mexico.

A graduate of Xavier University in New Orleans. Dr. Dosumu earned an MBA from Regis University in Denver and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Colorado.

• Ronnell Higgins was promoted to assistant chief of police at Yale University. A graduate of the University of New Haven, he has served with the Yale University Police Department since 1977.

• Patrick R. Liverpool was named interim provost at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. Liverpool, who taught economics at the university in the 1970s, has held administrative posts at Virginia Tech, North Carolina A&T State University, Virginia State University, Delaware State University, and Florida A&M University.

• Courtney Lyder was appointed professor and dean of the School of Nursing at the University of California at Los Angeles. He was an endowed professor of nursing and a professor of internal medicine and geriatrics at the University of Virginia.

Lyder is a graduate of Beloit College in Wisconsin. He holds bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from Rush University in Chicago.

• Earl Smith, professor of sociology and the Rubin Distinguished Professor of American Ethnic Studies at Wake Forest University, will spend the 2008-09 academic year at Colgate University as the Arnold A. Sio Distinguished Visiting Professor of Diversity and Community.

Enrollments Skyrocketing at North Carolina’s State-Operated Black Universities

Enrollments are skyrocketing at the 16 campuses of the University of North Carolina. The system is expecting that in a decade it will enroll 80,000 more students than it does today.

Increased enrollments are already causing concern at several historically black campuses that belong to the University of North Carolina system.

At Winston-Salem State University, first-year enrollments are expected to top 1,200 students, up from 1,083 a year ago. The university is renting more than 250 hotel rooms off campus in order to meet the demand for student housing.

Elizabeth City State University is also expecting a record number of freshman students and is looking for off-campus housing.

At Fort Valley State University, officials announced a fall enrollment of more than 3,400 students. Last year, there were 2,562 students enrolled. A new residential complex is currently under construction. New FVSU president Larry Rivers believes that enrollments at the university will be between 5,000 and 10,000 a decade from now.

“In the presidential race of 2004 we had the ‘Two Americas.’ In this year’s race we have the ‘Two Obamas’: the one who has drawn repeated comparisons to JFK, RFK, and MLK, and the one who has drawn comparisons to Adlai Stevenson, Michael Dukakis, and John Kerry. Whether Obama will win the general election depends on whether he and his campaign make sure that the right Obama shows up for the remainder of the campaign.”

Emory University Professor Drew Westen, writing for the

Very Few Blacks at the Top of the ACT Scoring Pyramid

For students who take the ACT college admission test, the nation’s highest-ranked colleges and universities aim to recruit students who score 28 or above. Nationwide in 2008, only 2,172 black students scored 28 or above on the ACT test. They made up only 1.2 percent of all black ACT test takers. In contrast, 121,408 white students scored 28 or above on the ACT test this year. They made up 13.6 percent of all white ACT test takers. Thus, whites were more than 11 times as likely as blacks to score at a level equivalent to the mean score of students admitted to the nation’s most prestigious colleges and universities.

There is an even higher racial scoring gap at the very top of the ACT scoring pyramid. Of the 178,417 blacks who took the ACT test this year, only two of these students had a perfect score of 36. On the other hand, there were 220 white students who received the top score of 36. Thirteen black students achieved a score of 35 on the ACT. There were 1,766 white students who scored 35 on the ACT.

But here are the most discouraging statistics in the current year’s ACT report: In 2008, 88 percent of all white test takers scored at or above the median level for blacks. Only 12 percent of all black ACT test takers scored at or above the median level for whites.

New Hate Crime Legislation Before Congress Calls for a $60 Million Grant Program for Colleges and Universities

Sheila Jackson-Lee, Democratic congresswoman from Texas, has introduced legislation that would greatly increase the federal government’s role in helping victims of hate crimes.

Under the legislation, victims of hate crime could receive unemployment benefits, insurance protection, temporary public housing assistance, employment leave, and an allowance for counseling services. Employees would be eligible for leave if they or a family member were hate crime victims.

The legislation also provides funds for the establishment of a national clearinghouse and resource center on hate crimes as well as a Web site and telephone hotline where victims of hate crimes could get federal help.

The bill would also provide for grant programs for colleges and universities to develop education and training programs for students to prevent hate crimes. Grants would also be available for professional training for faculty and administrators on the causes and effects of hate crimes. The bill calls for appropriations of $10 million annually for the years 2010 to 2015 to fund the grant program, which would be administered by the secretary of education.

First Foreign Chapter of National Black MBA Association Is Established in Toronto

The National Black MBA Association has about 8,000 members nationwide. Now the group has gone international with its first chapter outside the United States. The new chapter of the organization was recently formed in Toronto. The group’s president, Damon Knights, a graduate of the Schulich School of Business at York University, marked the group’s founding by ringing the opening bell of the Toronto Stock Exchange. Knights hopes to have 250 Canadian members within the next year and to establish chapters in Montreal and Calgary.

Florida Memorial University Offers Students the Opportunity to Pursue a Nursing Degree

Florida Memorial University, the historically black educational institution in Miami, is joining with Florida International University, a member of the state university system, to offer a dual degree program in biology and nursing. At the present time, Florida Memorial University does not offer a nursing degree.

Under the program, students can obtain a nursing degree by spending their first two years at Florida Memorial University and finishing their nursing training at Florida International University. Or, students can obtain the dual biology and nursing degrees by spending three years at Florida Memorial and two years at Florida International.

African-American Graduate of Dickinson Law School Is Named First Chief Diversity Officer for the State of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is the first state in the nation to establish the position of chief diversity officer for state government. Patterned after similar positions in the corporate and academic world, the state’s chief diversity officer will be charged with establishing a framework for diversity management throughout state government. The chief diversity officer will deal with issues of equal employment opportunity, minority recruitment and retention, and state contracting.

Trent Hargrove, a graduate of Bucknell University and the Dickinson Law School, was appointed by Governor Edward Rendell to fill the position. Hargrove was the general counsel for the Pennsylvania Department of General Services.

In Memoriam

James Scurry (1934-2008)

James Scurry, who served as an administrator at Fayetteville State University for 16 years before his retirement in 2004, died last month after a long illness. He was 74 years old.

Scurry served for 30 years in the United States Army. After leaving the service he joined the administration at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina. Over his 16-year career in the academic world at Fayetteville State, he served as director of career development, dean of admissions, and dean of students.

37.9%  Percentage of white first-year college students in 2004 who had a high-school grade point average between 3.5 and 4.0.

16.0%  Percentage of black first-year college students in 2004 who had a high-school grade point average between 3.5 and 4.0.

source: U.S. Department of Education

Honors and Awards

Maya Angelou, author, poet, and Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University, will receive the Marian Anderson Award at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia this November. The award, which comes with a $100,000 cash prize, is given to artists whose leadership benefits humanity. The award is sponsored by the Wachovia Corporation.

• Nagatha Tonkins, professor of journalism at North Carolina A&T State University, was named Educator of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists.

A graduate of the university, she spent 25 years in radio and television news before joining the faculty in 1986.

• Zelema Harris, chancellor of St. Louis Community College, was honored as one of St. Louis’ Most Influential Business Women by the St. Louis Business Journal. She was named chancellor of the college this past November.


• Savannah State University, the historically black educational institution in Georgia, received a $149,700 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services for a program to train scholars at seven African-American museums in southeastern Georgia.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued grants to seven historically black universities. The grants, ranging from $71,000 to $150,000, will enhance education programs and help with curriculum development in the field of nuclear energy. Participating institutions are Florida Memorial University, South Carolina State University, Tuskegee University, Wilberforce University, Alcorn State University, North Carolina A&T State University, and Texas Southern University.

• North Carolina A&T State University, the historically black educational institution in Greensboro, received a $1 million gift from Bishop Eddie L. Long, a university trustee. The money will be used to establish an endowed chair in Long’s name.

(Subscribe to the print version of JBHE)

Past Issues - JBHE Weekly Bulletin
(select from menu below)