Many Black Doctoral Degree Recipients Overcome Long Odds

New data released by the National Science Foundation shows that many African Americans who earn doctoral degrees are more likely to have parents who did not go to college than to have parents who graduated from a four-year educational institution. In 2009, 35 percent of all black doctoral recipients had a father who was a college graduate and nearly 39 percent had a mother who had at least a bachelor’s degree. But 45.6 percent of all blacks who earned a doctoral degree in 2009 had a father who did not attend college and 38 percent had a mother who did not continue her education past high school.

For whites, the percentage of doctoral recipients who were raised in highly educated families was significantly greater. More than 64 percent of white doctoral recipients had a father who graduated from college. And 55 percent of whites who earned a doctorate had a mother who was a college graduate.


New Program Seeks to Enhance the International Focus at Seven Historically Black Universities

The American Council on Education in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Education has announced a new program to enhance the international focus at seven historically black colleges and universities. Under the Creating Global Citizens: Exploring Internationalization at HBCUs project, program directors will seek to inject a curriculum at these institutions that deals with international issues. The project will also develop partnerships between the HBCUs and foreign educational institutions. The two-year program is funded by a $357,976 grant from the U.S. Department of Education and an American Council on Education grant of $191,479.

The seven participating HBCUs are Dillard University, Howard University, Lincoln University of Missouri, North Carolina A&T State University, Savannah State University, Tuskegee University, and Virginia State University.



Great Progress for Blacks in South African Higher Education

A half-century ago, black students were barred from admission to most universities in South Africa. Only those blacks with special permission from the apartheid government were permitted to enter higher education. Slowly, over the years, the South African government loosened its tight grip on higher education.

But research from the South African Institute for Race Relations has found that since the end of apartheid the number of blacks graduating from South African universities has quadrupled. The research found that in 1991, 8,514 Africans were awarded degrees from South African universities. In 2008, 36,970 black Africans earned degrees. This is a 334 percent increase. Most of the degrees earned by blacks in 2008 were from formerly all-white universities.

Survey Finds Some African Think Tanks Among the World’s Best

The University of Pennsylvania has issued its annual rankings of the world’s top think tanks. Researchers at the university’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program surveyed 1,500 scholars, journalists, and public officials in 120 countries around the world. Nearly 7,000 think tanks, including 548 organizations in Africa, were analyzed and ranked. The report found 85 think tanks in South Africa, the largest number on the continent. Kenya has 53 think tanks and there are more than 25 think tanks in Nigeria, Ghana, and Uganda.

Of the world’s nearly 7,000 think tanks, 75 organizations were rated among the world’s best. The Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., was rated the world’s top think tank. The Council on Foreign Relations and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace ranked second and third. The Royal Institute for International Affairs and Amnesty International were rated the best think tanks headquartered outside the United States.

The South African Institute of International Affairs was rated the best think tank in sub-Saharan Africa. The African Economic Research Consortium in Kenya, the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa, in Senegal, and the Center for the Study of the Economies of Africa in Nigeria also ranked high.

Naval Academy Settles Complaint Filed by Professor Who Claimed Blacks Get “Easy Pass” on Admissions

The United States Naval Academy has reached a settlement with an English professor who claimed his right of free speech was being abridged. In 2009, Bruce Fleming, a professor of English at the academy, published an op-ed piece in the Annapolis Capital. He claimed that the Naval Academy operated a two-tier admissions systems which made it easier for black and other minority students to gain admission. For an earlier JBHE report on Fleming’s claims, click here.

Three months after the article was published, Fleming was denied a merit pay increase. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel found “evidence indicating that the USNA illegally denied the employee a merit pay increase because of his public statements.” But in the settlement reached between the school and the professor, the USNA did not admit any wrongdoing in the case. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.



In Memoriam

Dolly A. McPherson (1928-2011)

Dolly McPherson, the first African-American woman to hold a full-time faculty position at Wake Forest University, died recently at the age of 82.

In 1974 she was hired by the English department to teach literature. She remained on the Wake Forest faculty until her retirement in 2001. She was instrumental in recruiting her friend Maya Angelou to the Wake Forest faculty.

A native of New Orleans, McPherson was a graduate of Southern University in Baton Rouge. She held a master’s degree in English from Boston University and a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.

Sammie Burnett Johnson (1939-2011)

Sammie Burnett Johnson, one of eight black students who in 1959 racially integrated what is now the University of Memphis, has died after a long battle with bone cancer. She was 71 years old.

Johnson spent her first semester in higher education at historically black LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis and then transferred to what was then Memphis State University. The eight black students were not permitted to take physical education classes, attend sporting events, or join Greek organizations. They were required to leave campus each day by noon after attending morning classes.

Johnson spent one year at the university. She got married and moved to New Mexico where she earned a bachelor’s degree at New Mexico State University. She later earned an MBA at the University of Kansas.

Johnson taught for 19 years at Kansas City Kansas Community College.


Honors and Awards

• Zelia Wiley, assistant dean for diversity in the College of Agriculture at Kansas State University, received the Commerce Bank Presidential Faculty and Staff Award for Distinguished Service to Historically Underrepresented Students.

Dr. Wiley holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Prairie View A&M University in Texas and a doctorate in agricultural and extension education from Penn State.

• Ron Kirk, the former mayor of Dallas, Texas, who now serves as the U.S. trade representative in President Barack Obama’s cabinet, received the 2010 Presidential Citation from the University of Texas.

• Lynda Hale, administrative director of the primary care group at the University of Chicago Medical Center, received the 2011 Diversity Leadership Award for staff from the university’s president.

• Isaac J. Crumbly, associate vice president for career and collaborative programs at Fort Valley State University in Georgia, received from Barack Obama the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.

Dr. Crumbly is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. He holds a master’s degree in horticulture from the University of Illinois and a Ph.D. in botany from North Dakota State University.

The graduate school at the University of Georgia received the 2010-2011 Award for Excellence and Innovation in Graduate Admissions from the Council of Historically Black Graduate Schools and the Educational Testing Service. The school was honored for increased enrollments and retention rates of blacks and other minorities.


The NAACP is calling for the CIAA, an athletic association of 13 historically black colleges and universities, to move its basketball tournament from Charlotte, North Carolina. (See story below.) Should the tournament be moved?


Black Transfer Applications Surge at the University of California

Over the past two years the number of African-American students seeking to transfer from community colleges to undergraduate programs at the University of California have surged. In 2009, 848 black students sought to transfer from a community college to one of the nine undergraduate campuses of the University of California system. This year there are 1,379 black students seeking to transfer. This is an increase of nearly 63 percent. Overall, the number of applicants seeking to transfer is up 32 percent since 2009.

This year 599 black students applied to transfer from a California community college to the flagship Berkeley campus. This is an increase of 46 percent since 2009. The University of California at Los Angeles received 753 transfer applications from African Americans this year. This is an increase of 48 percent since 2009.



AICPA Foundation Awards 92 Scholarships to Minority Students

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has announced the awarding of 92 scholarships to minority accounting students. The AICPA Scholarships for Minority Accounting Students are funded by the AICPA Foundation, Robert Half International, and the New Jersey Society of CPAs.

This year’s recipients will be awarded scholarships totaling $254,500. The 92 winners come from 71 different educational institutions in 30 states. Georgia State University, the University of Texas, and the University of Florida each have four scholarship winners, the most of any other educational institution.


The First Black President of Mills College

Alecia A. DeCoudreaux was named the 13th president of Mills College in Oakland, California. When she takes office this summer she will be the first African American to lead the women’s college. Mills College has some 900 undergraduate students, about 9 percent of whom are black.

DeCoudreaux is currently vice president and deputy general counsel of Eli Lilly & Company, a global pharmaceutical firm. She also serves as chair of the board of trustees of Wellesley College.

DeCoudreaux is a 1976 graduate of Wellesley College and holds a law degree from Indiana University.

Athletic Conference of Historically Black Colleges Rejects Call by the NAACP to Move Its Postseason Basketball Tournament

The local chapter of the NAACP is calling for the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association to move its postseason basketball tournament from Charlotte, North Carolina, to another city. The NAACP disputed the decision of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District to hold classes on the holiday commemorating the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. to make up for a school day lost due to winter weather. The NAACP has also expressed its opposition to the school board’s decision to close some inner-city schools.

The CIAA, a conference made up of 13 historically black colleges and universities, was founded in 1912. It recently renewed its contract to hold its basketball tournament in Charlotte through 2014. In response to the call for the tournament to be moved, the conference commissioner, Leon G. Kerry, stated, “Charlotte is a great partner and host city.”

Do you think the CIAA should consider moving its tournament? Let us know by responding to this week’s poll.

Congresswoman and Educator Barbara Jordan Is the Latest Honoree in the Postal Service’s Black Heritage Series

The first African American to appear on a U.S. postage stamp was Booker T. Washington in 1940. Since then, scores of black Americans have appeared on stamps.

In 1978 the U.S. Postal Service debuted its Black Heritage series. Many black educators including W.E.B. Du Bois, Ernest Just, Percy Julian, Carter G. Woodson, Mary McLeod Bethune, and Anna Julia Cooper have been among the honorees in this series.

The 34th U.S. postage stamp in the Black Heritage series honors Barbara Jordan, the former congresswoman and educator. The stamp will be issued in September.

Jordan was a graduate of Texas Southern University and Boston University School of Law. In 1966 she was the first African-American woman elected to the Texas state Senate. In 1972 she was elected to Congress. Jordan, who suffered from multiple sclerosis, left Congress after only three terms and took a faculty position at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. Jordan died in 1996 at the age of 59.



Appointments, Promotions, and Resignations

• Carlton E. Wilson was appointed dean of the College of Liberal Arts at North Carolina Central University in Durham. He has been a professor of history at the university since 2004.

A graduate of North Carolina Central University, Dr. Wilson holds a master’s degree from Ohio State University and a Ph.D. in modern British history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

• Chondra Johnson was named director of intramural and recreational sports in the Office of Student Affairs and Institutional Advancement at Prairie View A&M University in Texas.

Johnson holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Mississippi State University.

• Souleymane Fall was appointed a postdoctoral fellow at Tuskegee University in Alabama. He was serving as a postdoctoral fellow in the department of agronomy at Purdue University, where he received his Ph.D.

Dr. Fall holds bachelor’s and master’s degree from Dakar University in Senegal and a second master’s degree from North Carolina State University.

• P. Renee Myatt was named associate director of the Institute for Health, Social, and Community Research at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Myatt is a graduate of Saint Augustine’s College in Raleigh. She holds master’s degrees from the University of Minnesota and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

• Lois Deloatch was appointed vice chancellor of institutional advancement at North Carolina Central University. She was the associate director for corporate and foundation relations at Duke University.

Deloatch is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned a master’s degree in liberal studies from Duke University.

• Rene Davis was named dean of students at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. She had been serving as interim dean and previously was director of residential life at the college.

• Will M. Campbell Jr. is the new director of the Small Business Development Center at Southern University in Baton Rouge. He is the former regional manager for Liberty Bank.

Campbell is a graduate of the University of South Alabama in Mobile.

• Jarita C. Holbrook, a visiting scholar in women’s studies at the University of California at Los Angeles, was elected chair of the historical astronomy division of the American Astronomical Society. She is the first African American to hold the position.

Dr. Holbrook holds a Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

• Goldie Byrd, the Nathan F. Simms Endowed Professor of Biology at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, was named dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the university. She has been on the faculty since 2003.

Dr. Byrd is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University and holds a Ph.D. in microbial genetics from Meharry Medical College.

• Mathew Knowles, CEO of Music World Entertainment and father of actress and recording artist Beyonce Knowles, was elected to the board of trustees of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. Fisk is his alma mater.


Grants and Gifts

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst received a three-year, $400,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for a mentoring program for early-career women and minority faculty members.

Virginia State University, the historically black educational institution in Petersburg, received a $100,000 grant from the Stafford Foundation to support the university’s Low Income Families With Talented Students scholarship program.

Historically black Texas Southern University received a $2.74 million grant from the Houston Endowment to study the effectiveness of the university’s Urban Academic Village as a tool to improve student retention and graduation rates.

Howard University, the historically black educational institution in the nation’s capital, received a $70,000 grant from the General Motors Foundation to support the university’s Corporate Team Adoption Program in which GM engineers and design professionals mentor university students.

Copyright © 2011. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.