Black Faculty in the Earth Sciences

The earth sciences include such fields as geology, oceanography, mineralogy, petrology, meteorology, and environmental sciences. It is an area of study in which historically there have been very few black scholars. In 2006 there were fewer than five African Americans who received a Ph.D. in earth sciences.

Donna J. Nelson, an associate professor of chemistry at the University of Oklahoma, recently conducted a faculty survey of the 90 universities with the largest research budgets in earth sciences. There are 2,047 earth sciences faculty at these 90 research universities. Only 19, or 0.9 percent, are black.

There are three blacks teaching earth sciences at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla. Two are full professors and one chairs the department of geology and geophysics. There are two black faculty members in the earth sciences at the University of Michigan and Oregon State University.

Only four of the 19 black earth scientists are women.