Clemson University Looks to Boost the Number of Black Ph.D.s

Blacks make up 29 percent of the population in South Carolina. But 8.5 percent of all doctoral degrees awarded in the state go to African Americans.

The Charles H. Houston Center for the Study of the Black Experience in Education at Clemson University has developed a new program with the goal of increasing the number of black students in South Carolina who obtain a doctorate. It is hoped that an increase in the number of blacks earning Ph.D.s and other doctorates will, in turn, lead to greater racial diversity in faculty ranks at South Carolina’s state-operated universities.

Under the program, developed by Lamont A. Flowers, distinguished professor of educational leadership at Clemson University, and Frankie Keels Williams, an assistant professor at Clemson’s School of Education, undergraduate students are recruited to investigate the pursuit of graduate study. Seminars are held on financial aid and admissions. Students who are interested in pursuing graduate degrees are paired with a mentor who guides them through the application process.

Professor Flowers tells JBHE that there currently are 14 Palmetto Ph.D. Project Fellows.