How the 2006 Election Will Impact Black Higher Education

Last Tuesday the Democrats swept the midterm elections to regain control of both houses of Congress and a majority of the nation’s governorships. Democratic leaders have vowed to move swiftly on several education measures that would benefit blacks and low-income students when they take control of Congress in January. But any legislative initiatives face the hurdle of a possible veto by President Bush.

While many African Americans were pleased with the election results, one major concern was the landslide support for Proposal 2 in Michigan which calls for the end of race-sensitive admissions at the University of Michigan and other public universities in the state.

JBHE has completed a detailed analysis of the election results as they pertain to African-American higher education. You can read this report on our Web site by clicking here.


“We will invest in our schools, colleges, and students so that every child has an opportunity to succeed.”

— Democratic Congressman George Miller of California, the probable chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, when the Democrats take control of Congress in January


New Scholarship in Louisiana for Inmates Making the Transition From Prison to College Should Disproportionately Affect Blacks

In the state of Louisiana, blacks are about 30 percent of the population but more than 70 percent of the prison population. Therefore, a new scholarship program for Louisiana inmates who plan to enroll in higher education upon their release from prison is of particular importance to blacks.

The new Correctional Education Transitional Scholarship is offered by the Correctional Education Association, a nonprofit group that seeks improved educational opportunities for prison inmates. Inmates who are scheduled for release from prison in the next six months are eligible to apply for the scholarship. To be considered for a scholarship, a prisoner must have a high school diploma, must have completed an education program while incarcerated, and the inmate must be at least 17 years old.

The transitional scholarships can be for as much as $500 and are intended to provide living expenses for the inmate while he or she gets started in higher education. Inmates who apply for the transitional scholarships are instructed on how to get federal and state financial aid to pay for the cost of their higher education. Inmates are eligible for the transitional funds only after they have provided the nominating committee with proof that they have been accepted for enrollment at an accredited institution of higher learning.


Black Sorority Takes Steps to Reduce the Gender Gap in African-American Higher Education

Since JBHE was founded 13 years ago, the large and growing gender gap in African-American higher education has always been an issue of major concern to our editorial board and to African Americans generally. Black women now make up more than 60 percent of all African-American enrollments in higher education. And black women earn an even greater share of all bachelor’s degrees awarded to African Americans. More than 70 percent of all master’s degrees awarded to African Americans go to black women.

Now some black women are taking steps to reduce the gender gap. Alpha Kappa Alpha, the historically black sorority, is undertaking a major new effort to mentor young black men. The program, entitled “Economics, Sisterhood, Partnership,” will help young women develop entrepreneurial skills and provide tutoring for young men to help them prepare for college.

Alpha Kappa Alpha was founded in 1908 on the campus of Howard University. It currently has 200,000 members.


Scholarship Established in Name of First Black Football Player at the University of Oklahoma

In commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the racial integration of the University of Oklahoma football team, the university has established an athletic scholarship in the name of Prentice Gautt. In 1956 football coach Bud Wilkinson took the bold step of offering a football scholarship to Gautt, the first African-American football player in what was then the nation’s premier collegiate football program. Gautt went on to become a two-time all-conference player and was named the most valuable player of the 1959 Orange Bowl.

After collge, Gautt played in the National Football League and was an administrator for the Big 12 Conference. He earned a Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Missouri.

In honor of Gautt’s milestone, all University of Oklahoma players wore a decal with his No. 38 on their helmets at the game in which Gautt was honored and the 38-yardline was painted in Oklahoma crimson. Gautt died in 2005.


Black College in North Carolina Taking an Active Role in Local K-12 Education

North Carolina Central University, the historically black educational institution in Durham, has launched an innovative program to help alleviate the teacher shortage in Durham public schools. The university is currently “lending” 13 professors to Southern High School to teach calculus, biology, and other advanced courses. The professors have agreed to teach for one semester at the high school. In return, the public school system has agreed to pay the university $150,000 for the professors’ services.

In addition to sending faculty to teach at the high school, graduate students are assigned to each class with a university professor. These graduate assistants can help with classwork and are available for student tutoring. The university has made its science laboratories available to the high school students.

The university is also contributing to public K-12 education with the establishment of the Josephine Dobbs Clement Early College High School. The school is located on the North Carolina Central campus. About 246 students are now enrolled in the high school. The university spent $1.6 million to renovate a wing in a School of Education classroom building to house the school. The curriculum is heavily oriented toward mathematics and the sciences. Students take college-level courses enabling many of the graduates to achieve sufficient credits to enter college as juniors.

The school is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, the Ford Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. It also receives financial support from the state of North Carolina.

The school is named after a 1937 Spelman College graduate who was active in political and civic affairs in the city of Durham for many decades until her death in 1998.


Nominee for Secretary of Defense Deals With Racism on Campus

Last week, Robert M. Gates, current president of Texas A&M University, was named Secretary of Defense by President Bush. One day before Gates was nominated, the university president issued a letter to the Texas A&M community denouncing a video that had been placed on the Internet by three students. The video showed one student in blackface being whipped by a white student with a Texas A&M towel. In his letter, Gates called the video “moronic” and said he was “utterly disgusted” with its contents. He vowed that the students involved in making the video “will have to live with the consequences of their actions for a very long time.” The students later agreed to leave the university rather than face disciplinary procedures or expulsion.

Gates will stay on at Texas A&M until he is confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Blacks are only 2.6 percent of the more than 36,000 undegraduate students at Texas A&M.


Faculty Diversity Lacking at Barnard College

Barnard is a selective liberal arts college for women in New York City that is associated with Columbia University. The college has its own campus, faculty, administration, and budget. About 5 percent of its more than 2,300 students are black.

But according to an editorial in the Columbia Daily Spectator, there is not a single black faculty member among the 72 tenured professors at Barnard College.



In Memoriam

Georgene Louise Carter (1931-2006)

Georgene Louise Carter, former chair of the department of education at Edward Waters College, the historically black educational institution in Jacksonville, Florida, died earlier this month in Augusta, Georgia. She was 75 years old.

Carter, a native of Augusta, graduated from Paine College at the age of 19. She later earned a master’s degree at New York University. Carter initially taught elementary school in Georgia but after relocating to Florida she took teaching positions at Bethune-Cookman College and Edward Waters College. She later served as an administrator for the Duval County public school system in Jacksonville, Florida.

Linda Faye Williams (1949-2006)

Linda Faye Williams, a professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland and the first black undergraduate to earn a degree at Rice University, died from a heart attack late last month in Olney, Maryland. She was 57 years old.

Professor Williams was born in the small town of Lovelady in East Texas. She attended a segregated high school at which both her mother and father held teaching positions. Going against her father’s advice, in 1966 she applied to Rice University, whose original charter restricted admissions to members of the white race. The year in which Williams applied, Rice had won a court order permitting the university to rescind the racial covenant in its charter in order that it could admit black students. Williams graduated from Rice University in 1970. She won a prestigious Woodrow Wilson fellowship and earned master’s and Ph.D. degrees in political science from the University of Chicago.

Beginning in 1977 Williams spent a decade teaching political science at Howard University. She then gave up her tenured position to become associate director of research at the Joint Center for Political Studies, the black think tank in Washington, D.C. She later served as a research fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

In 1991 Professor Williams joined the faculty at the University of Maryland where she was promoted to full professor in 2004. Her 2004 book Constraint of Race: Legacies of White Skin Privilege in America won the award for best book on a race-related topic from the American Political Science Association.

Professor Williams is survived by her husband Ralph C. Gomes, a professor of sociology at Howard University.



Nikki Giovanni, University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, will receive the Legacy Award from the National Alumni Council of the United Negro College Fund. The award will be presented at the National Alumni Council’s annual convention in Nashville this coming February.


Survey Documents the Graduate Degree Attainment of Black and White College Graduates a Decade After They Completed Their Bachelor’s Degree

The U.S. Department of Education recently released a new report which tracks the progress of blacks and whites for the 10 years after they earned a bachelor’s degree in the 1992-93 academic year. The study offers a wide range of data on these graduates’ educational, economic, and social status 10 years after they completed their four-year college degree.

In what may come as a surprise to many readers is the fact that African Americans who obtained a bachelor’s degree in the 1992-93 academic year were more likely than whites who earned their bachelor’s degree that year to go on to graduate study. For blacks, 45.5 percent of all college graduates had enrolled in an advanced degree program over the next decade. For whites, the figure was 39.4 percent. Despite a higher likelihood of enrollments for blacks, about one quarter of blacks and one quarter of whites who earned a bachelor’s degree in 1992-93 had actually completed an advanced degree program. Some 11.2 percent of blacks were still enrolled in a graduate program 10 years after earning their bachelor’s degree compared to 5.4 percent of whites.

For students who went on to earn an advanced degree, blacks were more likely than whites to earn a doctorate. Some 2.3 percent of all black students who graduated from college in 1992-93 had achieved a doctoral degree by 2003. Only 1.8 percent of white college graduates went on to earn a doctorate. Blacks were slightly more likely than whites to earn a master’s degree but whites were slightly more likely to earn a professional degree than blacks.

For all students who graduated from college in 1992-93 and went on to earn an advanced degree, 26.5 percent of all blacks earned an MBA degree. For whites, 20 percent of all advanced degree holders held an MBA. Nearly 18 percent of white advanced degree holders earned a master’s degree in education. For blacks, the figure was 12 percent.

Whites were more likely than blacks to have won a Ph.D. or a law or medical degree. Blacks were more than three times as likely as whites to earn a doctoral degree other than a Ph.D. These degrees include the educational doctorate.


Central State University on the Road to Recovery

Central State University, the historically black, publicly operated educational institution in Wilberforce, Ohio, saw a dramatic rise in applications this year. The number of students who applied to Central State University increased by more than 1,000 this past year. The state of Ohio considered shutting down Central State University several years ago because of continuing financial difficulties. Increasing enrollment is a major goal to help the institution get on more solid financial footing. And efforts to recruit more students, especially transfer students from community colleges, appear to be paying dividends.

There are currently 1,766 students enrolled at Central State University. Enrollments are up nearly 10 percent from a year ago. About 90 percent of these students are black. More than a third come from outside Ohio.


University of Tennessee Offers New Scholarship Program That Will Be an Important Boost to Many Black Students Seeking Higher Education

Many state-operated universities are wary of earmarking scholarships solely for black students. While the Supreme Court has yet to rule on black-only scholarships, the Court did decline to hear an appeal of a Maryland case in which the lower court ruled that such scholarships were illegal.

But the University of Tennessee has found a way of offering race-neutral scholarship awards that have the same impact that would occur had the scholarships been restricted to blacks.

In an effort to boost minority enrollments, the University of Tennessee is offering a new scholarship to students of any race who attend any one of 35 high schools in the state. The Tennessee Promise scholarships will offer up to $5,800 in tuition assistance each year to students from these high schools. The scholarships will be renewable, provided the student maintains a 2.0 grade point average.

Twenty-two of the 35 high schools are in the Memphis school district where 85 percent of all students are black.

The University of Tennessee currently has a student body that is 10.4 percent black. Only five years ago, just 6 percent of the student body at the flagship Knoxville campus was black.



The New President of Meharry Medical College

Wayne J. Riley was named the tenth president of Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. He will assume his duties on January 1, 2007.

Dr. Riley, a native of New Orleans, was vice president and vice dean for health affairs and governmental relations at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

Dr. Rice is a graduate of Yale University where he majored in anthropology. He completed his medical degree at Morehouse School of Medicine in 1993 and completed his residency in internal medicine at Baylor. Rice also holds a master’s of public health degree from Tulane University and an MBA from Rice University.

Rice’s father was a 1960 graduate of Meharry Medical College.


9.2%  Percentage of all white adults in the U.S. over the age of 25 in 2005 who held a two-year community college degree.

7.9%  Percentage of all African-American adults in the U.S. over the age of 25 in 2005 who held a two-year community college degree.

source: U.S. Census Bureau


A Small Ray of Sunshine in the Midst of the Gloom of Black Enrollment Statistics at UCLA

Last spring the University of California at Los Angeles reported that only 95 black students had signified their intent to register this fall. In the fall of 2005, there were 125 black freshmen at UCLA.

The most up-to-date statistics show that there are 100 black first-year students at the University of California at Los Angeles, a slight improvement from the number expected to enroll but still down 20 percent from a year ago. Blacks make up only 2 percent of all first-year students at UCLA. The number of black freshman students on the UCLA campus has now reached the lowest level since the 1960s.

UCLA does report one encouraging statistic on black enrollments. The number of new black transfer students is up nearly 25 percent. This fall there are 162 black transfer students at UCLA, up from 130 in the fall of 2005. Thus, the number of new black students at UCLA is actually up slightly from a year ago.


Black Student Leaders at Indiana University-Purdue University Vow to Sue the School If Their Demands Are Not Met

Black student leaders at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis have threatened to sue the school for race discrimination unless their demands are met. The students are demanding that $78,000 be budgeted for black student groups. The black students are also demanding the university hire more black faculty, establish a black cultural center on campus, offer a bachelor’s degree program in African-American studies and require diversity training for all university employees.

In response, the university agreed to hire a full-time diversity officer and to establish a multicultural center on campus. The university also said that it would reexamine the distribution of funds to student groups.

Blacks are about 11 percent of the 30,000-member student body at the university.


Tennessee State Coach Is Big Winner on NBC-TV Game Show

Tracee Jones, the head women’s basketball coach at Tennessee State University, the historically black educational institution in Nashville, earns $75,000 a year. But recently Jones made a financial windfall by winning $265,000 on the NBC-TV game show Deal or No Deal. Jones said that she planned to buy a new car with her winnings, take a vacation with her family, and make a donation to Tennessee State.

Jones, a native of Belleville, Illinois, is a 1998 magna cum laude graduate of Tennessee State with a bachelor’s degree in English. She later earned a master’s degree in education from the university.

Prior to joining the Tennessee State coaching staff in 2002, she coached at Chicago State University and Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.



Ivan T. Mosley Sr., chair of the manufacturing systems department at North Carolina A&T State University, was elected president of the university division of the National Association of Industrial Technology.

Debi Gore-Mann is the new director of athletics at the University of San Francisco. She was the senior associate athletic director at Stanford University. Gore-Mann holds a bachelor’s degree and an MBA from Stanford University. She believes that there are only two other black females serving as athletic directors at universities in the United States.

Ben Dixon, who until recently served as vice president for multicultural affairs at Virginia Tech, was given the title “vice president emeritus” by the university’s board of visitors. The emeritus title is given to faculty or administrators who have “given exemplary service” to Virginia Tech.

Dixon is a graduate of Howard University. He holds a master’s degree from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts.



Howard University will participate in a five-year, $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation. Under the program Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will develop and teach an undergraduate course on emerging research problems in mathematics. Eight students from RPI will be chosen to participate each year and receive tuition aid from the grant. In addition, two students from Howard University will spend a year in residence at RPI to participate in the course. Over the five-year period, 40 RPI students and 10 Howard students will receive financial aid under the grant.

Norfolk State University, the historically black educational institution in Virginia, received a $2.3 million grant from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for programs on teaching foreign languages, history and religion to students who are interested in careers in intelligence gathering.


Copyright © 2006. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.