Among the Leading Liberal Arts Colleges, Amherst Has the Highest Percentage of Black Freshmen: Amherst Leads JBHE Survey for Fourth Straight Year

For 17 years JBHE has collected black student admissions data on the highest-ranked liberal arts colleges. Over this long period there have been seven years when Amherst College in western Massachusetts reported the highest percentage of black freshmen. On five occasions Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, had enrolled the highest percentage of black first-year students.

This year Amherst leads the rankings for the fourth consecutive year. This fall there are 75 black freshmen at Amherst College. They make up a whopping 14.6 percent of the first-year class. This is the highest percentage of black freshmen at a high-ranking liberal arts college in the 17-year history of the JBHE survey. The number of black freshmen at Amherst is up 53 percent from a year ago.

Mount Holyoke College, Swarthmore College, and Williams College all have freshman classes that are at least 11 percent black. Vassar, Oberlin, Pomona, and Wesleyan all have first-year classes that are at least 9 percent black.

For the complete results of the annual survey of black freshmen at the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges, click here.


Harvard University Adds Another Black Face to Its Portrait Gallery

A 2002 survey by the curator of the Harvard University portrait collection found that 690 of the university’s approximately 750 portraits were of white men. About 58 portraits were of white women. Only two portraits were of minorities.

Later that year, then Harvard president Lawrence Summers pledged $100,000 to the Minority Portraiture Project. The first three portraits of African Americans, unveiled in 2005, were of Archie C. Epps III, the late dean of students, Eileen Jackson Southern, the first black woman to hold a tenured faculty position at Harvard, and David L. Evans, an electrical engineer who worked on the Apollo project, which sent men to the moon. Evans subsequently served as a senior admissions officer at Harvard for more than 30 years.

Now another African American has been added to the Harvard portrait gallery. At a reception held earlier this month, in the common room at Lowell House, the university unveiled a portrait of Chester M. Pierce, the longtime professor of psychiatry and education. Pierce is a 1948 graduate of Harvard College. In 1947, Pierce played for Harvard at a football game at the University of Virginia. It is believed that this was the first time a black player participated in a football game at an all-white southern state university.


Yale Pledges $20 Million to Help Educate New Haven Students at Other Universities

Yale University has announced a scholarship program for students in the predominantly black New Haven public school system. The full-tuition scholarships are not for these students to enroll at Yale, but rather they are for New Haven high school graduates who plan to attend a public college or university in Connecticut.

In order to qualify for the scholarship, New Haven high school graduates will have had to maintain a B average, contribute at least 40 hours of community service, have a 90 percent attendance rate, and a clean disciplinary record. It is estimated that between 200 and 250 New Haven high school students will meet the qualifications each year. Recipients will have to maintain a 2.5 grade point average in college in order to continue to receive funds.

Yale will contribute $4 million annually to the New Haven Promise scholarship program for the next five years. The scholarships are not need based and will cover  all of the recipient’s tuition at a state educational institution. But they will not provide for room and board.

Yale University president Richard C. Levin stated that the scholarships will ultimately help the university because "Yale’s strength is inextricably linked to the community’s strength."


The Persisting Racial Divide in Broadband Internet Access in the Home: Implications for Access to Higher Education

The Internet is the information superhighway for those seeking employment, social connections, and higher education. Online distance education has become an important aspect of American higher education. And for college-bound students, the Internet provides a wealth of information to help them make the correct decisions on where they should apply.

But new data from the U.S. Department of Commerce shows a persistent racial divide in broadband Internet access in the home. In 2009, 68 percent of white households had high-speed Internet connections compared to only 49 percent of black households. Even when we compare high-income households with parents who are college-educated, there is still a 10 percentage point racial gap in broadband Internet access.

This persisting racial divide places blacks at a disadvantage to whites in navigating the online world of higher education.



In Memoriam

Janet E. McClain (1950-2010)

Janet McClain, who spent 34 years on the faculty of Northern Iowa University in Cedar Falls, has died after a battle with cancer. She was 60 years old.

Professor McClain taught in the department of curriculum and instruction in the university’s College of Education and was director of the college’s Minorities in Teaching program.

A native of Chicago, Professor McClain was a graduate of Northern Illinois University. She held a master’s degree from the University of Dayton.

Anna Fay Vaughn-Cooke (1947-2010)

Anna Vaughn-Cooke, a linguist and associate provost and dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, died from vasculitis last month at a hospice facility in Washington, D.C. She was 63 years old.

Dr. Vaughn-Cooke was a native of Turrell, Arkansas. In 1968 she graduated from the University of Missouri at Kansas City with a degree in speech pathology. She held a master’s degree in speech pathology from the University of Maryland and a second master’s degree and a Ph.D. in linguistics from Georgetown University.

D. Vaughn-Cooke spent nearly a quarter of a century on the faculty of the University of the District of Columbia. She was considered one of the nation’s leading authorities on African-American dialects and on language development among black youth. In 1998 she became dean of graduate studies at Florida A&M University. From 2003 to 2006 she served as vice president of academic affairs at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. In 2008 she was named associate provost at FAMU.



Appointments, Promotions, and Resignations

Annette Gordon-Reed, professor of law, professor of history, and the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, was elected to the board of trustees of Dartmouth College.

Professor Gordon-Reed is a 1981 graduate of Dartmouth College and she earned a law degree at Harvard. Gordon-Reed is a past winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Humanities Medal and is a current MacArthur Foundation Fellow.

Phillip L. Clay, chancellor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 2001, has announced his intention to step down as soon as the university can find his replacement. As chancellor he was responsible for overseeing the offices of Undergraduate Education, Graduate Education, and Student Life. He will remain a professor of urban studies and planning at MIT.

Dr. Clay is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and holds a Ph.D. from MIT.

Stacey Franklin Jones has stepped down as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Bowie State University in Maryland. Dr. Jones, who became provost this past July, had come under fire for not consulting with the faculty on job reassignments.

Dr. Jones is a graduate of Howard University. She holds two master’s degrees from Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. in computer science from George Washington University.

Jennifer A. Richeson, a professor of psychology and a fellow of the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University, was appointed Weinberg College Board of Visitors Research and Teaching Professor at Northwestern.

Dr. Richeson is a graduate of Brown University and holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in social psychology from Harvard University.


A recent survey showed that a former president of private historically black university received $1.1 million in compensation during the 2008-09 academic year. Do you feel this is excessive compensation?


Study Finds That Financial Analysts Discount the Educational Backgrounds of Black Executives Who Graduated from Prestigious Universities

A new study appearing in Organization Science, the journal of the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science, finds that financial analysts who rate management teams at large companies discount the educational backgrounds of black executives who graduated from prestigious colleges and universities. At the same time, white managers with prestigious educational backgrounds are singled out.

In an experiment, the authors of the article submitted company data to financial analysts which included the educational background of the executive team. Photographs of the executives were included in the information so that the analysts could surmise the race of the executives. The results showed that for companies with similar financial prospects, firms with white executives with prestigious educational backgrounds were projected to have high stock price gains. The lowest projected stock price gains were given to firms with black executives with prestigious educational backgrounds.

The authors concluded that the financial analysts assumed that the black executives were admitted to the prestigious educational institution under an affirmative action program and therefore they were not perceived as talented or as capable as white executives with similar educational backgrounds.



Cooperative Agreement Signed by Universities Serving Blacks in the United States and Colombia

For the past century Phelps Stokes has helped to improve educational opportunities for blacks and other minorities. Now the nonprofit organization has entered into an agreement with the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges and the Association of Colombiana de Universidades to strengthen cooperation between historically black colleges and universities in the United States with universities serving Afro-Colombian students.

Under the agreement the universities will participate in cultural activities, research initiatives, internships, and faculty and student exchange programs.


African-American Psychologist at Texas A&M University Examines Racial Differences in Aggressive Behavior Among Youth

Jamilia Blake, an assistant professor of educational psychology at Texas A&M University in College Station, is conducting research on how parents’ attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs mold their children’s conduct and relationships with their peers. Dr. Blake is particularly concerned with possible racial and ethnic differences in aggressive behavior among children. She has conducted interviews with 600 youngsters and 300 parents, as well as with the teachers of the young students, in order to determine if black and other minority youth are more likely to engage in aggressive behavior and, if so, whether their parents’ attitudes contribute to the likelihood of these behaviors.

Dr. Blake hopes that her research will lead to the establishment of intervention and prevention programs for youth and for parental training to reduce aggressive behaviors.

Dr. Blake holds bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees in psychology, all from the University of Georgia.



Alarming Statistics on Young Black Male Educational Performance

A new report from the Council of the Great City Schools shows some alarming statistics on the poor educational performance of young black males. The study found that only 12 percent of black males in the fourth grade were proficient in reading compared to 38 percent of same-age white males. In mathematics, 12 percent of black males in the eighth grade were rated proficient compared to 44 percent of white males.

Poverty is not solely to blame for the alarming statistics. The study shows that black males who are not eligible for the free lunch programs are doing about the same as white males from poor families.

The report, entitled A Call for Change, can be downloaded by clicking here.

Recent Books That May Be of Interest to African-American Scholars

The JBHE Weekly Bulletin regularly publishes a list of new books that may be of interest to our readers. Here are the latest selections.

Ahead of Her Time in Yesteryear: Geraldyne Pierce Zimmerman Comes of Age in a Southern African-American Family by Kabibi Mack-Shelton (University of Tennessee Press)

Beyond Slavery: Overcoming Its Religious and Sexual Legacies edited by Bernadette Brooten (Palgrave Macmillan)

Conservatism and Racism and Why in America They Are the Same by Robert C. Smith (State University of New York Press)

Contemporary African Fashion edited by Suzanne Gott and Kristyne Loughran (Indiana University Press)

Daily Demonstrators: The Civil Rights Movement in Mennonite Homes and Sanctuaries by Tobin Miller Shearer (Johns Hopkins University Press)

Fame to Infamy: Race, Sport, and the Fall From Grace edited by David C. Ogden and Joel Nathan Rosen (University Press of Mississippi)

Harlem Is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America by Sharifa Rhodes-Pitt (Little, Brown & Co.)

Harlem: The Four Hundred Year History from Dutch Village to the Capital of Black America by Jonathan Gill (Grove Press)

Inherently Unequal: The Betrayal of Equal Rights by the Supreme Court 1865-1903 by Lawrence Goldstone (Walker & Co.)

Marshalling Justice: The Early Civil Rights Letters of Thurgood Marshall edited by Michael G. Long (HarperCollins)

Monstrous Intimacies: Making Post-Slavery Subjects by Christina Sharpe (Duke University Press)

The Color of Law: Ernie Goodman, Detroit, and the Struggle for Labor and Civil Rights by Steve Babson et al. (Wayne State University Press)

The History and Contemporary Relevance of the Thirteenth Amendment edited by Alexander Tsesis (Columbia University Press)

The Law Is Good: The Voting Rights Act, Redistricting, and Black Regime Politics by Steven Andrew Light (Carolina Academic Press)

You Are All Free: The Haitian Revolution and the Abolition of Slavery by Jeremy D. Popkin (Cambridge University Press)



Honors and Awards

Lucile Adams-Campbell, professor of oncology at Georgetown University Medical Center and associate director of minority health and health disparities research at Georgetown’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, was named a Legacy Laureate at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Adams-Campbell holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Drexel University in Philadelphia. She earned a Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh.

Eve J. Higginbotham, senior vice president and executive dean of health sciences at Howard University, received the Heed Award from the American Academy of Opthalmology. She is the first woman to earn the award in its 45-year history.

Dr. Higginbotham holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from MIT and is a graduate of Harvard Medical School.

Elaine R. Jones, retired president and director-counsel emeritus of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, was named the recipient of the 2011 Thurgood Marshall Award from the American Bar Association. Jones is a graduate of Howard University and the University of Virginia School of Law.

Joan Archie, executive director of construction compliance at the University of Chicago Medical Center, was named compliance officer of the year by Black Contractors United.

H. Richard Milner IV, the Betts Associate Professor of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University, won the 2010 Carl A. Grant Multicultural Research Award from the National Association for Multicultural Education.

Dr. Milner holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from South Carolina State University. He holds a second master’s degree and a doctorate in educational policy from Ohio State University.

David R. Jones, the CEO of CastleOak Securities, received the 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award from the Boston University School of Management.

Jones earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Boston University and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.


Grants and Gifts

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded a new round of awards under its Outreach Assistance to Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Competitive Grants Program. Historically black colleges and universities receiving grants are Albany State University in Georgia ($340,580), Alcorn State University in Mississippi ($300,000), Tuskegee University in Alabama ($213,887), and Virginia State University ($300,000).

Historically black Alabama A&M University received a five-year, $746,665 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to provide scholarships for master’s degree students in rehabilitation counseling.

Fort Valley State University, the historically black educational institution in Georgia, received a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to complete a renovation project of a major thoroughfare leading to the university campus.

Historically black South Carolina State University received a five-year, $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education for student support services such as academic counseling, tutoring, financial literacy programs, and career counseling.

Florida A&M University, the historically black educational institution in Tallahassee, received a $400,000 grant from the Florida Juvenile Justice State Advisory Group to establish the Juvenile Justice Research Institute on campus.



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