The Gender Gap in Black Ph.D. Awards

As is the case in almost every measure of African Americans in higher education, black women have come to hold a large lead in doctoral awards. As recently as 1977 black women earned only 38.7 percent of all doctorates awarded to African Americans. By 2000 black women earned 65.7 percent of all doctorates awarded to African Americans. There have been only minor fluctuations since the beginning of the century. In 2006 black women earned 65 percent of all doctorates awarded to African Americans.

Since 1990 African-American women have increased their number of Ph.D. awards from 550 to 1,079. This is an increase of 96 percent. In contrast, the number of Ph.D. awards to African-American men increased from 351 in 1990 to 580. This is a rise of 65.2 percent.


Black-White Score Differences on Particular SAT II Subject Tests

SAT II subject tests are largely used by students who are applying to the nation’s selective colleges and universities. This past year showed a modest increase in the number of blacks taking these tests. Although the increased number of black students taking the tests is a good sign, there remains a large and growing racial scoring gap.

Of all the widely taken SAT II tests in 2007, the black-white racial scoring gap of 108 points, or approximately 18 percent, was the greatest on the world history test. There were also large racial gaps on both mathematics tests, English literature, and American history tests.

College-bound black students generally fared well in comparison with the scores of white students on foreign-language examinations. The black-white scoring gap was only 36 points on the Latin test and 37 points on the French test. On the Chinese test, black students actually scored 77 points higher on average than whites. But only 19 blacks and 97 whites took the test, making racial score comparisons statistically insignificant. The 19 black students who took the Chinese SAT II test had a remarkable mean score of 734. Blacks also had a higher mean score than whites on the Korean language test, but only six African-American students took the test in 2007.



Overall Black Enrollments at Berkeley Are Down

Reflecting the continuing negative impact on blacks from the California ban on racial preferences in admissions, new data on enrollments for the fall term at the University of California at Berkeley show that the number of black new freshmen on campus is down by 10.5 percent from a year ago. There are 73 new black students who entered the university this fall at a level more advanced than first-time freshmen in 2007. This is an identical number compared to a year ago.

There are 841 black undergraduate students at Berkeley. They make up 3.4 percent of all undergraduate enrollments. There are 322 black students enrolled in graduate programs at Berkeley this year. They make up 3.1 percent of all graduate enrollments. All told, the 1,163 black students at Berkeley this year are about 1 percent less than in the previous academic year.


Emory University to House Alice Walker Archives

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker has decided to donate her papers to Emory University in Atlanta. Walker, best known for her novel The Color Purple, is a Georgia native who has lectured frequently at Emory.

The archive includes early drafts of many of her published works, correspondence with editors and others, and journals that she has kept since she was 14 years old.


Historically Black University in Tobacco Country Gets Tougher on Smokers

Many colleges and universities have banned cigarette smoking in dormitories and academic buildings. But North Carolina Central University, located in the heart of tobacco country in Durham, North Carolina, has gone even farther.

Smoking had already been banned in all campus buildings and in university-owned vehicles. As a result, smokers tended to congregate just outside building entrances, subjecting people who were entering or leaving the building to large levels of secondhand smoke. But now a resolution, passed unanimously by the board of trustees, bans smoking within 25 feet of the entrance to any building on campus. The campus will set up designated smoking areas far from building entrances where smokers will still be able to light up.


High-Ranking Colleges Where Black Students Must Be Able to Swim

African Americans account for about 40 percent of all drowning fatalities in the nation’s urban areas each year. It is generally believed that this occurs because many black youngsters never learn how to swim.

But for black students seeking higher education at Dartmouth, Columbia, Cornell, and several other high-ranking universities, the ability to swim remains a requirement for graduation. Freshmen entering these and other top-rated institutions are given a swim test. At Cornell about 10 percent of the entering freshman class admit that they do not know how to swim. They are required to take a beginner’s swimming class. Other students are given a test where they must swim 75 yards. Those who are unable to do so are also required to take swimming lessons.

Other high-ranking schools with a swimming requirement are MIT, Bryn Mawr, Hamilton, Notre Dame, Davidson, and Washington and Lee University.


Black College Sets Up Scholarship Endowment for Music Majors

Florida Memorial University, the historically black educational institution in Miami Gardens, has established an endowment fund that will be used to provide scholarships for low-income students who are studying music. Some 200 people paid $50 to attend the event and additional money was raised from local businesses. The goal is to create a multimillion-dollar endowment fund to provide several scholarships each year to low-income music majors.

In 1900 Florida Memorial University faculty member J. Rosamond Johnson, in collaboration with his brother James Weldon Johnson, composed Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing, which is commonly known as the Black National Anthem.


What Ever Happened to Affirmative Action Opponent Clint Bolick?

A decade ago Clint Bolick was widely seen as the New Right’s point man in efforts to roll back affirmative action in higher education. But in recent years Bolick has kept a low profile on issues of concern to higher education. Instead Bolick turned his attention to the issue of school choice in K-12 education as president and general counsel of the Alliance for School Choice.

Now Bolick has resurfaced as the director of the Center for Constitutional Litigation at the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix. In this role Bolick recently issued a policy brief in support of the effort to place a public referendum on the November 2008 ballot in Arizona which would ban any racial preference in admissions, employment, or contracting at state-operated universities in the state.

In the Bolick policy paper he identifies programs at Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, and Northern Arizona University, which he believes would be unlawful should the initiative be enacted by voters this coming fall. Among these programs are the Minority Engineering Program, minority student recruitment programs, and the Bridges to Biomedical Careers program at Arizona State University. At the University of Arizona, Bolick says that the Minority Access to Research Careers, the librarian recruitment program, and the Minority Health Disparities Research Opportunities program would have to be eliminated or revised so that no racial group would have a participation preference.


Penn and Haverford Eliminate Loans for Low-Income Students

The University of Pennsylvania has announced its intention to eliminate loans from all student financial aid packages. In 2008 loans will be eliminated for all students from families with incomes below $100,000. By 2009 loans will be replaced with scholarship grants for all students receiving financial assistance.

At the present time, about 2,000 Penn students each year receive student loans as part of their financial aid packages.

Penn estimates that the new financial aid initiative will add $20 million to its budget. Penn currently spends $90 million on student financial aid.

Haverford College also announced that it was eliminating loans for all incoming students and reducing loans for students already enrolled. Haverford states that the new program will increase its financial aid budget by 25 percent.



Angela N. Woods was appointed assistant director for access initiatives and academic services in the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program at Syracuse University. Woods is a graduate of Syracuse University and holds a master’s degree in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Maryland.

Anthony C. Nelson was appointed dean of graduate studies at the Bowie State University School of Business. He was dean of the College of Business at Grambling State University in Louisiana.

Dr. Nelson is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University. He holds a master’s degree in biblical studies from the Dallas Theological Seminary and an MBA and a Ph.D. in business administration from the University of Pittsburgh.



Sidney Oglesby, who in 1964 was the first African American to win a national college championship in gymnastics as an athlete at Syracuse University, received the Syracuse Eight Courage Award from his alma mater. The award is given to student athletes who exhibited uncommon bravery or highly principled behavior in face of adversity.

Oglesby is currently the commissioner of jurors for New York’s Onondaga County.

Joy Kamunyori, a graduate student in the computer science department at the University of Virginia, won first place in a competition at the Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference in Orlando, Florida. Kamunyori’s research was titled, “Handling Self-Modifying Code Using Software Dynamic Translation.”


More Than One Half of All African-American Students in Graduate School Are Enrolled in Either Business or Education Programs

A new report from the Graduate Record Examinations Board and the Council of Graduate Schools finds that among all black graduate students, 31 percent were enrolled in graduate education degree programs. Another 22 percent were enrolled in graduate business programs. No other graduate field had more than 10 percent of black graduate students.

Over the 1996 to 2006 period, the largest growth in African-American graduate school enrollments was in the field of health science. In that field, blacks posted an average annual growth in graduate school enrollments of 9 percent. Graduate programs in business and education also posted an average annual increase in black enrollments of at least 5 percent.


“We don’t need white people to lynch us anymore. We lynch each other.”

John T. Bowden, trustee of South Carolina State University, commenting on the ouster of university president Andrew Hugine, in the Columbia State, 12-12-07 (see story below)


National Writing Project Names First African-American Leader

The National Writing Project (NWP) is a teacher training, professional development organization that has chapters on more than 200 college campuses nationwide. NWP chapters design and deliver customized in-service programs for local K-12 schools, districts, and higher education institutions. Each university chapter of the national Writing Project provides a diverse array of continuing education and research opportunities for teachers at all levels.

Starting next week, Sharon J. Washington will assume duties as executive director of the National Writing Project. She is the first woman and the first African American to lead the organization, which was founded in 1974.

Washington was the interim director of faculty equity programs in the office of the president of the University of California. Previously, she was provost and vice president of academic affairs at Spelman College in Atlanta. She has held tenured faculty positions at Kent State University and Springfield College.

Dr. Washington earned a master’s degree at Central Michigan University and a bachelor’s degree and an educational doctorate at Ohio State University.


Black High School Dropout Rate Is More Than Double the Rate for Whites

The quintessential qualification for college is a high school diploma. But new data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that black students are dropping out of high school at a rate that is double that for whites.

The report found that 6 percent of all black students in grades 9 to 12 who were enrolled in the 2003-04 academic year did not graduate or return to school for the 2004-05 academic year. For whites, the rate was 2.8 percent, less than one half the prevailing rate for blacks.

The highest black student dropout rate was in Alaska where more than 12 percent of black high school students dropped out of school that year. In Colorado the black dropout rate was more than 11 percent, and in Louisiana the black student dropout rate was 10.2 percent.

The lowest black student dropout rates were in Montana and Connecticut. In Montana the black dropout rate was lower than the rate for whites. Montana was the only state in the nation in which whites were more likely than blacks to drop out of high school.

It is important to note that this data is for a one-year period only. The overall dropout rate for students who enter high school and do not eventually graduate is considerably higher than the percentages noted here.


Georgia’s State Universities Aim to Close the Gender Gap in African-American Higher Education

Readers of JBHE are well aware of the huge and growing gender gap in African-American higher education. But in Georgia state universities appear to be successfully addressing the problem.

The African-American Male Initiative of the University of Georgia system was established five years ago. The initiative includes tutoring, mentoring, and leadership development programs as well as extensive college visitation opportunities for black men.

The results have been impressive. Systemwide, black male enrollments have increased 24.5 percent since the program was founded. This year there are 21,249 black males enrolled in state universities in Georgia, up from 17,068 in 2002.

The initiative is under the direction of Arlethia Perry-Johnson, special assistant to the president at Kennesaw State University.


15.0%  Percentage of black high school students in 2005 who reported being subjected to hate-related words while on school property.

36.9%  Percentage of black high school students in 2005 who reported seeing hate-related graffiti on school property.

source: U.S. Department of Education


Counties Where Blacks Are Making Substantial Progress in Advanced Placement Examinations

For the first time in history, in 2007 more than 1,000 black students in a single school district received passing grades on Advanced Placement examinations. A passing grade on an Advanced Placement test is equivalent to attaining a grade of C or better on a college-level course.

In the very large New York City public school system the number of students receiving passing grades on Advanced Placement tests rose from 987 in 2006 to 1,257 this year.

But far more impressive was the performance of black students in the much smaller Montgomery County, Maryland, school district. There, the number of black students taking AP examinations rose from 1,713 in 2006 to 2,093 in 2007. And the number of students receiving passing grades increased from 851 to 1,062.

Broward County, Florida, produced the third-highest number of black students who passed AP examinations. There, the number of black students receiving passing grades on AP tests rose from 686 in 2006 to 867 this year.



GOP Senator Holds Up Bill Allocating Funds to Investigate Cold Cases From the Civil Rights Era

This past summer the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act, a bill appropriating $10 million annually over the next decade to investigate cold cases from the civil rights era. The vote in the House was 422-2. Ron Paul, current GOP presidential candidate, was one of the two congressional representatives to oppose the measure.

It was expected that the legislation would sail through the Senate as well. But Senator Tom Coburn from Oklahoma has placed a hold on the legislation. Coburn says he supports the goals of the bill but thinks the FBI can investigate these crimes with the resources that have already been appropriated. Coburn has placed holds on at least 90 bills which he feels will unnecessarily add to the federal deficit.

Senate rules permit a senator to hold up legislation indefinitely. The Senate leadership could work around the hold but it would take many procedural votes, days of debate, and would open the bill up to amendments. Also, senators are reluctant to vote to override a hold because of Senate courtesy. They fear that if they maneuvered to override Senator Coburn’s hold, they might face similar opposition should they ever place a hold on another piece of legislation.


Board Ousts President at South Carolina State University

The board of trustees of South Carolina State University voted to oust Andrew Hugine as the institution’s president. Hugine was placed on administrative leave until June. Hugine, who has served as president since 2003, was given a contract extension and a raise only 18 months ago.

Three of the 11 board members, as well as many prominent alumni of the university, voiced strong opposition to the decision.

Leonard McIntyre, dean of the College of Education, Humanities, and Social Sciences, was appointed interim president. Dr. McIntyre is a graduate of Loyola University. He holds a master’s degree in Spanish literature from Tulane University and an educational doctorate from Iowa State University.


In Memoriam

VèVè Amasasa Clark (1944-2007)

VèVè Amasasa Clark, an associate professor of African-American studies at the University of California at Berkeley, died earlier this month after falling into a coma. She was 62 years old.

Professor Clark served on the faculty at Berkeley for 16 years. A literary scholar who specialized in African oral expression and Francophone novels, she is credited with coining the term “diaspora literacy,” which she defined as understanding multi-layered meanings of stories, words, and folk sayings in African diaspora communities.

A native of New York City, she graduated from Queens College of the City University of New York and later returned there to earn a master’s degree in French. In 1983 she earned her Ph.D. in French from Berkeley. After 11 years on the faculty at Tufts University she joined the faculty at Berkeley in 1991.

Ula Taylor, chair of the department of African-American studies at Berkeley, said that Professor Clark “was the epitome of a brilliant scholar, passionate thinker, gifted writer, and master teacher.”



The University of Arkansas received a five-year, $6.6 million grant from the National Center for Minority Health Disparities for several research projects. The money will fund a study of a diabetes lifestyle intervention program in rural, predominantly black communities. Another study will focus on improving the health of low-income black and Hispanic adults and children. A third project will fund a program to help historically black colleges and universities in Arkansas steer students into careers in public health.



Copyright © 2007. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.