Blacks Are Making Significant Strides in Graduate School Enrollments

A new report from the Council of Graduate Schools shows that African Americans have made considerable progress in graduate school enrollments.

The report states that in the fall of 2009 there were 41,519 African Americans who enrolled for the first time in graduate programs at U.S. colleges and universities. Blacks make up 12 percent of all new non-foreign graduate school enrollees. Of the new African-American students in graduate school, 70.8 percent were black women.

The council also reported that there were 179,301 African Americans enrolled in all graduate programs in the United States. They made up 13.6 percent of all domestic graduate school students. Black women accounted for 72.1 percent of the total African-American graduate school enrollment in 2009.

Black progress in graduate school enrollments has been spectacular. The council’s figures show that, over the past decade, black first-time enrollments in graduate school have increased at a 9.7 percent annual rate. This is nearly triple the rate of increase for white first-time graduate students.

Over the past decade, total black enrollments in graduate school have increased at an annual rate of 9.5 percent. For whites, the average annual increase in graduate school enrollments was 2.1 percent.

Readers can download the complete report by clicking here.


New Cable TV Network to Showcase Black College Sports

Atlanta-based C3 Media has announced plans to start the HBCU Network on cable television. The new network is negotiating with ESPN and other cable outlets for programming alliances to showcase athletic events involving black colleges and universities. The network will also televise educational, entertainment, and lifestyle programming. Curtis Symonds, a former executive at Black Entertainment Television, is the CEO of the new venture.

The new network hopes to debut in the summer of 2011 into about 10 million American households.


Blacks Making Solid Enrollment Gains at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville announced that this fall it has its largest enrollment in history. There are 14,107 students on campus this fall. Black enrollments increased by 7 percent from a year ago.

The number of new freshmen at the university also set a record with 2,030 students, an increase from 1,940 last fall. A whopping 19 percent of incoming freshmen are African Americans.


The Racial Scoring Gap on the SAT Writing Test

This is the fifth year of the new SAT writing test. Many of the nation’s highest-ranked colleges and universities do not give much weight to the results of this test because they are skeptical of its predictive power to determine who will do well in college. Also, many test takers have been trained by coaching schools to “hijack” the writing subject assigned by adapting an essay already written before the test by the student or a parent.

Nevertheless, The College Board reports that blacks score lower on the SAT writing test than they do on the mathematics and critical reading sections. But blacks do slightly better on the writing portion of the test in relation to whites than they do on other sections of the SAT. In 2010 the mean score on the writing test for blacks was 420. This is 96 points below the mean score for whites.

The racial gap on the writing test has actually widened by five points from 2006, when the writing portion of the test was first administered by The College Board.


The New President of Historically Black Shaw University

Irma McClaurin was appointed the 15th president of Shaw University, the historically black educational institution in Raleigh, North Carolina. She was an associate vice president at the University of Minnesota.

President McClaurin is a native of Chicago. She holds a bachelor’s degree in American studies from Grinnell College in Iowa and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Previously, Dr. McClaurin was on the faculty at the University of Florida and served as deputy provost for faculty development at Fisk University.


In Memoriam

Frank J. Toland Sr. (1920-2010)

Frank J. Toland Sr., a longtime professor of African-American and southern history at Tuskegee University in Alabama, has died at the age of 90.

A native of South Carolina, he was the valedictorian of his high school class. After serving in the military during World War II, Toland enrolled at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg where he earned a bachelor’s degree in English, political science, and history. In 1948 he earned a master’s degree in history from the University of Pennsylvania. He was the only black student in the graduate history program at the university.

He joined the faculty at Tuskegee University in 1949 and became chair of the history department in 1968. He retired from teaching at the end of the 2008-09 academic year after serving for six decades on the faculty.



Appointments, Promotions, and Resignations

• Jerome D. Williams was appointed to the Prudential Chair in Business at Rutgers University in New Jersey. He was the F.J. Heyne Centennial Professor in Communication at the University of Texas.

Dr. Williams is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a master’s degree from Union College, an MBA from the University of Colorado at Denver, and a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

• Dwight A. McBride was named dean of the graduate school and associate provost for graduate education at Northwestern University. He was dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He previously taught at Northwestern.

Dr. McBride is a graduate of Princeton University and holds a Ph.D. from UCLA.

• Kevin Anderson was selected as director of athletics at the University of Maryland. Since 2004 he has served as the athletics director at the U.S. Military Academy. Anderson is a graduate of San Francisco State University.

• William T. Lewis Sr. was appointed vice president in the Office for Diversity and Inclusion at Virginia Tech. He was director of the Office of Institutional Diversity at Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts.

Dr. Lewis holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Indiana University/Purdue University and a doctorate from Indiana University.

• Shannon Gary was promoted to associate dean of the Pennoni Honors College and director of the Honors Program at Drexel University in Philadelphia. He was the assistant dean.

Dr. Gary is a graduate of Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He earned his master’s degree and an educational doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education.

• Alvin L. Atkinson was appointed executive director of the Center for Community Safety at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina. Atkinson has previously served as interim director and deputy director. A graduate of Davidson College, he was previously a vice president at Wachovia Bank.

• Michael Leo Owens, associate professor of political science at Emory University in Atlanta, was appointed co-director of the Andrew W. Mellon Graduate Teaching Fellowship Program in the Laney Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Emory.

Professor Owens is a 1991 graduate of Syracuse University. He holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in political science from the State University of New York at Albany.

• Julius Scipio was promoted to vice president for academic affairs at Fort Valley State University in Georgia. He has been an administrator at the university for 10 years and had served as the associate and interim vice president for academic affairs.

Dr. Scipio is a graduate of Paine College and holds a master’s degree and an educational doctorate from Memphis State University.

• Fuabeh Fonge, associate professor of history at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, was named editor in chief of The Journal of International Studies and Development.

Dr. Fonge is a native of Cameroon. He holds a master’s degree from Georgetown University and a Ph.D. from Howard University.

Should the Department of Education impose new regulations that would eliminate federal student aid for some for-profit colleges and technical schools?


Blacks Make Up a Tiny Percentage of the U.S. Families With the Highest Incomes: This Limits the Higher Education Opportunities of African Americans

Families at the top of the income pyramid in the United States have far more options in securing higher education for their children. When money is not an obstacle, students from high-income families have a wide range of options. They need not base their higher education decisions on geographic location, the availability of financial aid, or the economic strength of a particular college or university.

New census statistics show that families in the highest category are disproportionately white. In 2009, 4.4 percent of all white families in the United States had incomes of more than $200,000. For blacks, the figure was 1.2 percent. Thus, whites are 3.8 times as likely as blacks to have high incomes.

If we reduce the income threshold, we find that in 2009, 22.9 percent of white families had incomes higher than $100,000. For blacks, 9.3 percent of all families had incomes higher than $100,000.



Indiana University Study Finds Huge Racial Disparity in Middle School Suspensions

A new study by researchers at the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy at Indiana University in Bloomington finds a huge racial disparity in suspensions for middle school students.

In data collected from 9,000 middle schools nationwide, the researchers found that 28.3 percent of black males were suspended at one time during the school year. This is nearly three times the rate for white males in middle school.

When researchers examined a subset of 175 middle schools in urban areas, they found that more than one half of all black males were suspended at least once during the school year at 84 of these schools.

For black females, 18 percent of all middle school students were suspended at least once during the school year. This is 4.5 times the rate for white females.


Colgate Reports Significant Increase in Black First-Year Students

Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, is reporting a large 51 percent increase in black first-year students this fall. This year there are 62 black freshmen at Colgate, comprising 7.3 percent of the incoming class. In the fall of 2009 there were 41 black freshmen at Colgate. One reason for the increase was a significantly higher black student yield, due in large part to a higher number of qualified black students who applied to Colgate’s early decision admissions plan.

Sue Dolly Lathrop, senior associate dean for admission operations, told JBHE that “Colgate’s efforts to recruit multicultural students have benefited from a growing commitment from the entire campus community to engage with students and their families during all phases of the admission effort. In addition, we have allocated more staff resources toward personal and frequent contact with identified prospective students and their families.”



Radford University to Rename a Building That Honors a White Supremacist

Radford University in Virginia has decided to rename Powell Hall, a building on campus that houses the music and art departments. The building, which opened in 1967, was named after John Powell, a pianist and composer, who had died in 1963.

But Powell was also a white supremacist. He was the founder of the White Top Folk Festival that was created to honor the music of the white race. He also was a key supporter of the 1924 Racial Integrity Law which banned interracial marriage in Virginia. In a 1923 treatise entitled Music and Nation, Powell wrote, “We know that no higher race has ever been able to preserve its culture, to prevent decay and eventual degeneracy when tainted, even slightly, with negro blood.”

Colonel Reb Finally Put to Rest

It has been seven years since Colonel Reb, the mascot of the University of Mississippi, patrolled the sidelines at football games. The administration decided at the time that a caricature of a southern plantation owner and Confederate Army officer was not a proper mascot for a university where 14 percent of the students are black.

But it was not until this year that the university banned the sale of licensed merchandise that included the image of Colonel Reb.


Brown University Scholar Wins Prestigious Gish Prize

Chinua Achebe, the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and professor of African studies at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, was awarded the 2010 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize. The award is given annually to a person who has made an “outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to mankind’s enjoyment and understanding of life.” The prize includes a silver medallion and a $300,000 cash award.

Professor Achebe is a native of Nigeria. He is best known for his 1958 novel Things Fall Apart, which has sold 10 million copies worldwide and has appeared in print in 50 different languages.


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:

• Two bulletin boards in a classroom building at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven were defaced with racial graffiti. A swastika and a racial slur were written on the bulletin boards. (Hartford Courant, 8-19-10)

• Racial slurs were found written on the walls of a bathroom in a residence hall at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights. There were two separate incidents over a one-week period. The slurs were directed against African Americans. (Cincinnati Enquirer, 9-11-10)

• A black professor at Fresno State University is suing the university claiming that he was unfairly suspended after joking about shooting his students. When he returned from the one-semester suspension, the professor claims he was treated unfairly and given more work assignments than nonblack faculty members with less seniority. (Fresno Bee, 9-10-10)

Honors and Awards

• Chester Pittman, the first black football player to win a varsity letter at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, received the Trailblazer Award from the university’s Black Alumni Association. Pittman graduated from Oklahoma State in 1961.

• Anne Wimbush Watts, associate vice president for academic affairs at Morehouse College in Atlanta, received The Phoenix Award, the highest honor bestowed by the city of Atlanta.

• Ivory V. Nelson, president of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania since 2000, was named 2010 Citizen of the Year by the Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry.

Dr. Nelson is a graduate of Grambling State University in Louisiana. He holds a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Kansas.

Grants and Gifts

• Edward Waters College, the historically black educational institution in Jacksonville, Florida, received a $238,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to fund student support service programs such as tutoring, mentoring, and personal counseling.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued grants totaling more than $50 million to 18 historically black colleges and universities. The grants support research and teaching programs in agricultural sciences as well as scholarships to attract more minority students to agricultural disciplines.

The National Science Foundation announced a $20 million grant to a consortium of 11 colleges and universities in Tennessee to conduct research in clean energy production. Among the programs that will be funded are scholarships for students at historically black Fisk University and Tennessee State University who wish to pursue graduate study in energy related fields at other research institutions.

• The Alliance for Equity in Higher Education received a $3 million grant from the Walmart Foundation to increase retention and graduation rates at minority serving institutions.

• Johnson C. Smith University, the historically black educational institution in Charlotte, North Carolina, received a $299,270 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to establish programs to reduce domestic violence, sexual assault, and dating violence against women.


Copyright © 2010. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.