High-Ranking Liberal Arts Colleges That Are Showing the Most Progress in Increasing Their Number of Low-Income Students

Last week JBHE ranked the nation’s most selective liberal arts colleges on their enrollments of low-income students during the 2008-09 academic years. Now we turn to which schools have been making progress in increasing their number of low-income students.

JBHE’s survey shows that over the past two years, 21 of the 30 highest-ranked liberal arts colleges have increased their percentage of low-income students. Carleton College in Minnesota posted the biggest gain from 8.1 percent to 11.2 percent. Haverford, Williams, Grinnell, Amherst, and Vassar all showed gains of at least two percentage points over the past two years.

Nine liberal arts colleges showed declines over the past two years. The schools with the most significant losses were Scripps College, Swarthmore College, and Smith College. But we remind the reader that despite its drop in low-income students, Smith remains the overall leader by a wide margin.

If we take a longer look back over five years, we find that only 13 of the 30 highest-ranked liberal arts colleges have posted gains in their percentages of low-income students. Over the past five years, Williams and Amherst have posted the most significant increases. Scripps, Oberlin, and Wellesley have seen the largest decreases in their percentages of low-income students over the past five years.


Record Black Enrollments at the University of Missouri at St. Louis

The St. Louis campus of the University of Missouri reports that a record 16,548 students are enrolled this fall. This is a 5 percent increase from a year ago and the highest level ever recorded. University officials cite a tuition freeze and the availability of more financial aid as major factors in the record enrollment.

Minorities make up 32 percent of all students on campus. Blacks are 21 percent of the student body. The 2,253 African-American students on campus are the most in the history of the University of Missouri at St. Louis.


Purvis Young Collection Donated to Florida Gulf Coast University

Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers received a donation of 31 paintings by African-American artist Purvis Young from the Miami-based Rubell Family Collection. The artwork will become part of the permanent collection of the university’s art gallery.

Purvis Young is 66 years old. He first came to the attention of the art world in the 1970s for his murals in alleys in the Overtown section of Miami. His collection includes scenes of street life painted on such surfaces as old signs and tabletops.



Educational Attainment of Black Suburbanites

A new study from the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, finds that blacks now make up 9 percent of the population in U.S. suburban areas. The report finds that 26 percent of adult black suburbanites have a four-year college degree. For black adults nationwide, about 19 percent are college graduates. Some 34 percent of whites who live in suburban areas are college graduates.

Another 21 percent of black suburbanites have been to college but have not earned a degree. About 40 percent of African-American adults in the suburbs have a high school diploma but never went to college. Thirteen percent of black suburbanites did not complete high school.


Black Students at the University of Maryland Are Calling for an Official Apology for the Institution’s Past Ties to Slavery

Last month JBHE reported that after a yearlong investigation by students in the history department, no “smoking gun” was found linking the University of Maryland to slavery. The research into the university’s past is difficult because a fire ravaged the College Park campus a century ago destroying many of the paper records of the university’s earliest days.

However, the report issued by the student researchers concluded that because slavery was so intrinsic to the state’s economy in those days, it can be presumed that slaves were involved in the construction of the University of Maryland.

As a result of the report, black students at the University of Maryland are now calling on the university to issue a formal apology for its alleged ties to slavery.


Three Finalists Named for Presidency of Morgan State University

Morgan State University, the historically black educational institution in Baltimore, has named three finalists in its presidential search effort: 

Calvin Jamison is vice president for business affairs and clinical professor of economics at the University of Texas at Dallas. He holds bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from Virginia Tech.

Carolyn Meyers is president of Norfolk State University in Virginia. Dr. Meyers is a graduate of Howard University. She holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Georgia Tech.

David Wilson is chancellor of Wisconsin Colleges and the University of Wisconsin Extension program. A graduate of Tuskegee University, Dr. Wilson holds a master’s degree and an educational doctorate from Harvard University.

The university is expected to announce its selection before December 15.


60.3%  Percentage of black students entering high school in the United States in 2004 who graduated within four years.

80.3%  Percentage of white students entering high school in the United States in 2004 who graduated within four years.

source: U.S. Department of Education


Appointments, Promotions, and Resignations

• Tasha Toy was appointed director of multicultural and international student programs at Berry College in Rome, Georgia. She was the assistant director of student life at Brevard College in North Carolina.

Dr. Toy holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from North Carolina Central University. She earned her doctorate at Seton Hall University.

• Peter James Hudson was named assistant professor of history at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. He previously was on the faculty at the University of Buffalo.

Dr. Hudson is a graduate of Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia. He holds a Ph.D. in American studies from New York University.

• Oyindasola Oyelaran was named assistant professor of chemistry at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Dr. Oyelaran has been conducting postdoctoral research at the National Institutes of Health.

A graduate of Salem College, Dr. Oyelaran earned her Ph.D. in chemistry from Harvard University.

• Bill Hayes was named director of athletics at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina. He was the athletic director at Florida A&M University. Earlier in his career Hayes was the head football coach at Winston-Salem State University.

• Robin F. Shaw was promoted to vice president for administration and executive administrative assistant to the president at Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis. She was an assistant professor of criminal justice and assistant chair of urban specializations.

Dr. Shaw is a graduate of the University of Missouri and the University of Chicago Law School. She also holds a master’s of social work degree from the University of Georgia.

• Albert Walker, president of Bluefield State College in West Virginia, has been elected vice chair/secretary of the Higher Learning Commission/North Central Association Board of Trustees. The commission is the college accrediting agency for schools in 19 midwestern and south-central states.


Grants and Gifts

• Virginia State University, the historically black educational institution in Petersburg, received a three-year, $989,747 grant from the National Science Foundation for a program aimed at improving science and mathematics test scores for minority students in the sixth and ninth grades.

Historically black Fort Valley State University in Georgia received a five-year, $564,000 grant from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The funds will be used for scholarships for students in fields related to the nuclear power industry.

• Johnson C. Smith University, the historically black educational institution in Charlotte, North Carolina, received a $5.7 million donation from the Duke Endowment. The donation is the largest in school history. The funds will be used to develop the Center for Applied Leadership and Community Development and the Metropolitan College for nontraditional college students.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham received a five-year, $4.4 million grant from the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal, and Skin Diseases. The money will fund a large-scale study of rheumatoid arthritis in African Americans.

• Southern University, the historically black educational institution in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was awarded a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to establish on campus a center to conduct research on next-generation composite materials. The research will focus on developing stronger and lighter materials for aerospace, naval, and ground transportation systems.

Historically black Hampton University received a $74,055 grant from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to recruit and train poll workers for upcoming elections in Virginia.

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Tracking Mississippi’s Progress in Fulfilling Its Commitment Under the Settlement of the Ayers Higher Education Desegregation Case

In 2002 the state of Mississippi agreed to a $503 million settlement of litigation initiated by Jake Ayers Jr. in 1975 that challenged the state’s persisting racially segregated higher education system. Under the agreement in the Ayers case, the state was to provide $246 million to the state’s three historically black colleges and universities for the improvement of academic programs. Another $75 million was allocated for facility improvements at the three universities. These state appropriations to the black colleges are expected to be completed by 2021.

The state also set aside an endowment that the black universities could tap into only when they were able to achieve total enrollments where nonblacks made up at least 10 percent of the student body for three consecutive years. Also, the state was supposed to oversee $35 million in fundraising for private contributions to the endowment for the three schools.

A recent report from the Mississippi Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review (PEER) Committee finds that Mississippi has met its obligations in making payments to the three schools under the Ayers agreement. But almost nothing has been done to build the private endowment. The fund, which was hoped to have had $35 million in contributions, has a balance of only $1 million.

In addition, only one of the three historically black schools has met the requirement for attracting nonblack enrollments of 10 percent or more. Alcorn State University, through extensive recruitment of foreign students, was able to achieve the enrollment threshold. Jackson State University and Mississippi Valley State University have been unable to achieve the goal that would allow them access to the endowment funds.

The full report of the Mississippi PEER committee can be downloaded by clicking here.


“There should be a greater outcry. This is the premier place to research black history and culture.”

Thomas C. Battle, the retiring director of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University, commenting on the large staff reductions and budget cuts at the library, in The Hilltop, November 6, 2009


New Department of Education Report Shows Black Children Are Already at a Disadvantage When They Start School

A new report from the U.S. Department of Education finds that by the time children enter kindergarten, a significant racial gap in academic achievement is already present. The study of students entering kindergarten in 2006 found that white students scored 6 percent higher than black students on a test measuring early reading skills such as letter recognition, elementary phonics, and vocabulary.

The report found a wider racial gap in students’ mathematical preparedness for school. White students scored more than 8 percent higher on a test of students’ ability to count, their recognition of shapes, and other elementary mathematical measurements.

The racial make up of the students entering kindergarten in 2006 was 54 percent white, 14 percent black, and 25 percent Hispanic.


Budget Concerns Force Spelman College to Close Its Early Child Development Center

Spelman College, the historically black educational institution for women in Atlanta, has announced that at the end of the current academic year it is closing the Marian Wright Edelman Child Development Center on campus due to budgetary restraints. The preschool, which was established in 1930, also served as a training center for parents; provided student teaching opportunities for Spelman undergraduates; and was a research laboratory for graduate students in education and psychology.

Spelman has been subsidizing the center for the past decade. It costs $840 per month for a student to attend the center’s preschool. But this cost is not competitive with other preschools in the area. As a result, the school, which has the capacity for 55 students, has enrollments this year of only 13 children. Spelman has been spending about $300,000 per year to keep the school operating.

But in a letter to the Spelman community, college president Beverly Daniel Tatum stated that “resources must now be directed to other critical needs” including financial aid to retain current Spelman students. President Tatum said that the college would work to find student teaching positions and research opportunities for Spelman students in early childhood education programs at other preschools in Atlanta.


The Atlantic Coast Conference Leads the Way in Hiring Black Basketball Coaches

With the onset of the new college basketball season, JBHE notes that the latest data shows that 22.9 percent of all head coaches for men’s teams in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division I are African Americans.

The Atlantic Coach Conference, with universities mainly in the southeastern part of the United States, has the highest percentage of black head basketball coaches. Half of the 12 basketball teams in the ACC have black coaches. In 1996 there were no black basketball coaches in the ACC.

In the other five major college basketball conferences, blacks make up 14 percent of the head basketball coaches.



African-American Professor at Columbia Charged With Assaulting a White Woman During an Argument About White Privilege

Lionel McIntyre, Nancy and George Rupp Associate Professor in the Practice of Community Development and the Founding Director of the Urban Technical Assistance Project at Columbia University, was arrested on assault charges after an altercation in a bar near the Columbia campus. According to police reports, Professor McIntyre was involved in a heated discussion about race and white privilege with two white patrons. Witnesses said McIntyre shoved Camille Davis, a production manager in the theater department at Columbia who is white, and then punched her in the face.

The New York Post quoted Professor McIntyre as stating after his arraignment that “it was a very unfortunate incident. I didn’t mean for it to explode the way it did.”


In Memoriam

Walter C. Bowie (1925-2009)

Walter C. Bowie, dean emeritus of the School of Veterinary Medicine at Tuskegee University in Alabama, died late last month at the age of 84.

Bowie joined the faculty at Tuskegee University in 1947. He served as chair of the department of physiology and pharmacology and as associate dean of academic affairs. In 1972 he was named the third dean of the veterinary school. He served in that capacity for 18 years until his retirement in 1990.

Dr. Bowie received a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Kansas State University. He later earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in mammalian physiology from Cornell University.


Honors and Awards

• Linda C. Tillman, professor of educational administration at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was selected to receive the 2009 Jay D. Scribner Mentoring Award from the University Council for Educational Administration. The award is given for contributions relating to the mentoring of doctoral students and advising junior faculty.

Dr. Tillman holds bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from Ohio State University. She earned a master’s degree at the University of Dayton.

• Cheryl S. Taylor, director of the Office of Nursing Research at Southern University in Baton Rouge, received the Daniel J. Pesut Spirit of Renewal Award for Nursing Excellence from the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing.

Dr. Taylor earned her bachelor’s of science in nursing from Dillard University of New Orleans. She holds a master’s degree in systems-oriented community mental health nursing from the University of Washington at Seattle and a Ph.D. in nursing from Texas Woman’s University.

• Geoffrey Canada, founder and CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone, received the Robert Coles “Call of Service” Award from the Phillips Brooks House Association at Harvard University.

• LeaNora Ruffin, assistant dean of the Widener University School of Law, received the Leadership Award from the Office of Women in Higher Education of the American Council on Education.

Ruffin received both her bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.

• Veola P. Martin was named Educator of the Year at Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis. She has taught physical education at the university for the past 16 years.

Dr. Martin is a graduate of Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She holds a master’s degree from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville and an educational doctorate from the University of Georgia.



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