National Institute on Aging

Seven African American Scholars Elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences

aaasThe American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) recently announced the selection of 204 new members, including 16 new fellows from foreign nations. Membership in the academy is offered to leaders in the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, arts, business, public affairs and the nonprofit sectors.

The academy was founded in 1780. Members have included George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Margaret Meade and Martin Luther King Jr. The current membership of more than 4,600 fellows includes more than 250 Nobel Prize winners.

Through an analysis of the list of new fellows conducted by JBHE, it appears that 11 of the 188 new American members of the AAAS are African Americans. Thus, African Americans make up only 5.9 percent of the new members of the academy. A year ago, 10 African Americans were elected to the AAAS.

It appears that seven of the 11 new African Americans members have current ties to academia.

(L to R) Linda Darling-Hammond, Louis M. Gomez, Paula D. McClain, Alvin Francis Poussaint, Bryan A. Stevenson, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, and A. Eugene Washington

(L to R) Linda Darling-Hammond, Louis M. Gomez, Paula D. McClain, Alvin Francis Poussaint, Bryan A. Stevenson, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, and A. Eugene Washington

Linda Darling-Hammond is the Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education in the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University. Professor Darling-Hammond is a graduate of Yale University and holds a doctorate in urban education from Temple University in Philadelphia.

Louis M. Gomez is the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Chair in Digital and Media Learning at the University of California at Los Angeles. He is a graduate of Stony Brook University in New York and earned a Ph.D. in psychology at the University of California at Berkeley.

Paula D. McClain is a professor of political science and public policy and dean of the Graduate School at Duke University. Dr. McClain holds bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in political science, all from Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Alvin Francis Poussaint is a professor of psychiatry, faculty associate dean for student affairs, and director of the Office of Recruitment and Multicultural Affairs at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Poussaint is a graduate of Columbia University and earned his medical degree at Cornell University.

Bryan A. Stevenson is a professor of clinical law at New York University. He has taught at the law school since 1998. Professor Stevenson holds a bachelor’s degree, a law degree, and a master of public policy degree, all from Harvard University.

Ngugi wa Thiong’o, a native of Kenya, is a distinguished professor of comparative literature at the University of California at Irvine. He is the author of Dreams in a Time of War: A Childhood Memoir (Pantheon, 2010).

A. Eugene Washington is vice chancellor for health sciences, dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine, and distinguished professor of gynecology and health policy at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Among the new members without current direct ties to the academic world are Risa J. Lavizzo-Mourey, head of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; John Washington Rogers Jr., founder of Ariel Capital Management; and artists Kerry James Marshall and Carrie Mae Weems.


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  1. I Love that I can count on JHBE for current information on African Americans in higher education at the student, faculty, administrator, and board of trustees levels. Keep the new ideas coming.

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