Black Faculty at the Nation’s Highest-Ranked Liberal Arts Colleges

According to new data from the U.S. Department of Education, Wellesley College in Massachusetts has the largest number of black faculty among the nation’s 30 highest-ranking liberal arts colleges. There are 20 black faculty members at Wellesley. At Oberlin and Smith colleges there are 19 black faculty members. Mount Holyoke College and Wesleyan University each have 18 black faculty members.

There is only one black faculty member at Harvey Mudd College in California. There are five or fewer black faculty at Davidson College, Colby College, Bowdoin College, Claremont McKenna College, and Scripps College.

On a percentage basis, Haverford College in suburban Philadelphia leads the way. The latest data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that the 12 black faculty members at Haverford make up 7.9 percent of the college’s total full-time faculty. In percentage terms, Swarthmore College and Mount Holyoke College also show a strong performance.

The liberal arts colleges where blacks are less than 2 percent of the total faculty are Bowdoin College, Claremont McKenna College, Scripps College, and Harvey Mudd College.



Blacks Are Still Suffering From Jeb Bush’s One Florida Plan

In 2000, Jeb Bush, then the governor of Florida, proposed the One Florida plan in which state-operated universities and graduate schools would no longer be permitted to use race as a factor in admissions decisions. He implemented the One Florida plan by executive order and it remains in effect today.

Initially, there was a huge drop-off in black first-year students at the flagship campus of the University of Florida in Gainesville after the One Florida plan went into effect. Those numbers have recovered somewhat. Today, blacks make up 8.8 percent of the total undergraduate student population, about one-half the level of blacks in the college-age population in Florida.

But it is at the graduate level where the One Florida plan continues to have a major harmful impact on African Americans. At the University of Florida law school, black enrollments have dropped from 106 in 1999 to 65 in 2009. The percentage of blacks in the law school dropped from 9.4 percent to 5.3 percent.

But the most dramatic statistics occur at the University of Florida’s College of Medicine. This year, there are only two blacks among the 128 first-year students at the medical school.


Naming of White Homecoming Queen at Hampton University Causes Stir

Earlier this month, Nikole Churchill was chosen as Miss Hampton University. The title enables her to serve as homecoming queen and compete in the 2010 Miss Virginia pageant, a stepping stone to the Miss America pageant. Churchill, a 22-year-old nursing student from Hawaii, is the first white Miss Hampton in the university’s history. Blacks make up 96 percent of the student body at the historically black educational institution.

After Churchill was selected, she claimed that many people on campus were upset that a white woman was chosen to represent the university. As a result of the criticism, Churchill wrote a letter to President Obama, which she published online, asking the president to come to campus to give a lecture on racial tolerance. In the letter, she wrote, “I am hoping that you can assist me in opening some closed minds.”

Churchill later stated that she regretted writing the letter and bringing negative attention to the university.


Clothes Closet Offers Students at a Black University the Opportunity to Look Professional for Job Interviews

The employees of Enterprise, the car rental firm, donated a large number of business suits for both men and women to a clothes closet project at historically black Fayetteville State University in North Carolina. Students can borrow the business clothes when they have a job interview or are visiting a job fair. Additional clothing was donated by university faculty and staff.


Clemson University Program Addresses the Shortage of Black Male Teachers

About 87 percent of America’s public school teachers are white. More than three quarters are female. While black males make up about 8 percent of all students in the nation’s public schools, only 2 percent of the teachers are black males.

Roy Jones is the director of the Call Me MISTER program, which is based at Clemson University in South Carolina. MISTER stands for Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models. The program offers college scholarships to black men in return for a pledge to teach in the public schools once they earn their college degree.

About 250 students are now in the MISTER pipeline. But this is only a drop in the bucket compared to what is needed. In order to raise the percentage of black males as public school teachers from 2 percent to 3 percent, an additional 45,000 black male teachers would be needed.

Dr. Jones is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He holds a master’s degree in educational psychology from Atlanta University and a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Georgia.


African-American Poet at Washington University Is a Finalist for National Book Award

Carl Phillips, professor of English and of African and African-American studies at Washington University in St. Louis, was selected as one of five finalists for the National Book Award in poetry. Professor Phillips was nominated for his collection Speak Low, his tenth book.

In describing his latest poetry collection, Professor Phillips said, “I think of it as a kind of meditation on risk, restlessness, and the way in which being human can come in conflict with how society defines so-called moral and responsible behavior, especially when it comes to sex.”

This is the third time Phillips has been a finalist for the National Book Award. He is a graduate of Harvard University. Phillips holds a master’s degree in Latin and classical humanities from the University of Massachusetts and a master’s degree in creative writing from Boston University.

The winners of the National Book Award will be announced on November 18 in New York City.



Honors and Awards

• Henry Louis Gates Jr., Fletcher University Professor and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard University, received the Hale Award from the trustees of the Richards Free Library in Newport, Rhode Island. The award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to literature and letters, is given annually to a New England scholar.

North Carolina A&T State University has endowed a professorship to honor Shirley T. Frye, an alumna, educator, and community organizer. The Shirley T. Frye Distinguished Professorship in Urban Education was founded with a $500,000 endowment provided by the C.D. Spangler Foundation and the University of North Carolina system.

• Karen Kossie-Chernyshev, associate professor of history, received the 2009 J. McCleary Teacher of the Year Award from Texas Southern University.

Dr. Kossie-Chernyshev holds bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from Rice University. She also has a second master’s degree from Michigan State University.

The football field in the Carrier Dome at Syracuse University has been named in honor of Ernie Davis. In 1961 Davis was the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy, awarded annually to the nation’s best college football player. Davis died in 1963 from leukemia at the age of 23.

142  Number of black first-year students at Cornell University in the fall of 2008.

259  Number of black first-year students at Cornell University in the fall of 2009.

source: Cornell University Office of Admissions


Grants and Gifts

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has announced grants to three historically black universities. The universities will be entitled to grants of up to $1 million in each of the next five years.

Delaware State University will use the funds to establish an optical sciences center for applied research. North Carolina Central University will fund its Center for Aerospace Device Research and Education. North Carolina A&T State University will use the grant to support the operation of its Center for Aviation Safety.

Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, received a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to continue a program to promote outside-the-classroom activities aimed at increasing professional opportunities for women and minorities in information technology.

Historically black Alabama A&M University received a three-year, $13 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development. The grant will fund the university’s participation in the Textbooks and Learnings Material Program which will provide books to schoolchildren in Ethiopia.

Florida A&M University, the historically black educational institution in Tallahassee, received a $1.2 million grant from the federal government to support the university’s efforts to train healthcare professionals. Scholarships will be provided for students in such fields as public health, toxicology, biostatistics, and nutrition.

Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis received a $1 million grant from the Anheuser-Busch company to establish a scholarship program for students in its school of business.

Historically black Grambling State University in Louisiana received a $1.5 million grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to provide scholarships for students majoring in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, or computer science.

The university also received a six-year, $3 million grant from the United States Department of Education to support the university’s master’s degree program in nursing.

Jackson State University, the historically black educational institution in Mississippi, received a $1 million federal grant for a program to prepare law enforcement officers to deal with school-based emergencies.

Spelman College, the historically black educational institution for women in Atlanta, received a $151,000 grant from the U.S. State Department to create a study-abroad program which will enable Spelman students to travel and take classes at universities in China, Brazil, and Turkey.


For breaking news and previews of upcoming articles


Ranking the Nation’s Top Universities in Their Commitment to Enroll Low-Income Students

For several years JBHE has been tracking the percentage of low-income students at the nation’s leading colleges and universities. We believe that it is important to measure the progress made at these educational institutions in enrolling more low-income students as an indication of their overall commitment to increase economic and racial diversity on their campuses.

The latest data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that low-income students have a small presence on the campuses of most of the nation’s highest-ranked universities. At the University of California at Berkeley and the University of California at Los Angeles, low-income students make up more than 31 percent of all students. But at none of the nation’s other universities ranked in the top 30 academically do low-income students make up as much as 17 percent of the student body.

Among the 30 highest-ranked universities, Washington University in St. Louis has the lowest percentage of students who receive Pell Grants. Wake Forest University, the University of Virginia, and the University of Notre Dame all have student bodies where less than 9 percent receive Pell Grants.


“When we begin to think about the direction of the field, we believe that what we are doing here at Princeton will set the path for the field of African-American studies in the next century.”

Eddie S. Glaude Jr., the new chair of the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University


The Black Man Who Broke the Racial Faculty Barrier in Ohio

Kent State University in Ohio recently completed a $10.4 million renovation of Oscar Ritchie Hall, which houses offices and classrooms for the department of Pan-African studies, offices of the black student organizations, the performance space for the African Community Theatre, and the Uumbaji Art Gallery.

Built in 1947, the building was renamed in 1977 to honor Oscar Ritchie, the first African American to serve as a faculty member at a predominantly white state university in Ohio.

Ritchie was a native of Hallandale, Florida. In 1926 he enrolled at Florida A&M University but had to drop out of college during the Great Depression. For more than a decade he worked as a musician, porter, and steelworker. Finally, in 1942, he enrolled at Kent State University while continuing to work full-time at a steel mill in Massillon.

After graduating in 1946 Ritchie entered the graduate school and became a graduate teaching assistant at Kent State. His master’s thesis was published in the Yale Quarterly Journal of Alcoholic Studies.

In 1947 Ritchie became the first black faculty member at Kent State and the first African American to teach at any of Ohio’s public universities. This was the same year that Allison Davis of the University of Chicago became the first African American to be hired to a tenured faculty position at any of the nation’s leading universities.

Despite his faculty appointment, Ritchie could not secure housing near the university and was obliged to live in a segregated black community. He would endure this indignity for the next 16 years.

Dr. Ritchie earned his Ph.D. in sociology at New York University. Ritchie remained on the sociology department faculty at Kent State University for 29 years serving as a full professor and department chair. He died from cancer in 1967 at the age of 58.



Spelman College Seeks to Raise $150 Million

Spelman College, the historically black educational institution for women in Atlanta, has embarked on a $150 million fundraising campaign. Spelman, which has the second-largest endowment among the black colleges, has already collected $80 million toward the goal. Spelman will use the new funds to boost its endowment earnings in order to support academic programs and to provide student financial aid.


Grambling State University President to Step Down Saturday

Horace A. Judson, president of Grambling State University in Louisiana, announced suddenly last week he was leaving his post effective this coming Saturday. He has served as president for the past five years.

Recently, both student and faculty groups had drafted petitions of no confidence in Judson. But neither petition had yet come to a vote.

However, the university’s board of governors stated in a press release that Judson was leaving on his own initiative because of an illness of a close family member.

Dr. Judson formerly served as president of Plattsburgh State University in New York. He is a graduate of Lincoln University of Pennsylvania and holds a Ph.D. in physical organic chemistry from Cornell University.


In Memoriam

Douglas DePriest (1944-2009)

Douglas DePriest, the acting dean of the School of Science at Hampton University, died earlier this month at the age of 65.

Dr. DePriest was a 1966 graduate of Hampton University. He held a master’s degree in mathematics education from the University of Tennessee and a Ph.D. in statistics from American University. He joined the Hampton faculty in 1999 as an associate professor of mathematics. He became acting dean of the School of Science in 2008.


Appointments, Promotions, and Resignations

• Alfreda Brown was appointed vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion at Kent State University in Ohio. She was the interim chief diversity officer at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Dr. Brown is a graduate of Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, New York. She holds a master’s degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a doctorate from Nova Southeastern University.

• W. Anthony Neal was named vice president for institutional advancement at Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, North Carolina. He was area development director for the United Negro College Fund.

Neal is a graduate of Denison University in Granville, Ohio. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Central Michigan University.

• Alondra Nelson was appointed associate professor of sociology at Columbia University. She was an assistant professor of sociology at Yale University.

Dr. Nelson is a graduate of the University of California at San Diego. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from New York University.

• Leah M. Wright is a new assistant professor of history and African-American studies at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. A graduate of Dartmouth College, she holds a master’s and Ph.D. from Princeton University.

• Jabbar Bennett was appointed assistant dean for recruiting and professional development at the graduate school of Brown University. He was a lecturer at Harvard Medical School and an administrator at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Dr. Bennett is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University and holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from Meharry Medical College.

• Lakeisha Meyer has been named assistant professor of education at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. She was an assistant professor of education at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green.

Dr. Meyer is a graduate of Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. She holds master’s and doctoral degrees in educational psychology from Indiana University.

• Orlando L. Taylor was named the inaugural president of the Washington, D.C., campus of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Dr. Taylor has served as a faculty member and administrator at Howard University for the past 35 years.

• Nerissa E. Morris is the new vice president for human resources at the University of Miami in Florida. She was the human resources manager for the Global Information Technology division of the Ford Motor Company.

Morris holds a bachelor’s degree and an MBA from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.


Copyright © 2009. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.