Nearly 2.7 Million African Americans Are Enrolled in Higher Education

New data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that despite the recent recession, college enrollments continue to climb. In the fall of 2009 there were nearly 21 million Americans who were enrolled in higher education. There were nearly 2.7 million African-American students enrolled in a degree-granting institution of higher learning in 2009. Thus, blacks made up 12.6 percent of all enrollments in higher education.

There were 1,271,636 blacks enrolled in four-year undergraduate programs in 2009. About 57 percent of these students were attending publicly operated colleges and universities.

The Education Department data shows that in 2009, 1,090,172 African Americans were enrolled in two-year community colleges. Nearly 90 percent of these students were attending public institutions.

In addition, there were 296,751 black students in graduate school. They made up 10.4 percent of all graduate school enrollments in 2009.


Black Students Are Underrepresented at the Nation’s Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine

There are now 26 colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States. Osteopathic medicine uses the tools of traditional medical practice but takes a more holistic approach to health. Doctors of osteopathic medicine also use manual techniques, known as osteopathic manipulative treatment, to relieve pain, reduce stress, restore range of motion, and to help the body’s self-healing systems.

In 2010 there were 545 black students enrolled at the nation’s osteopathic medical schools. They made up 3 percent of all students at these schools. In contrast, blacks make up about 7 percent of all enrollments at traditional medical schools.

Black women account for nearly two thirds of all African-American students of osteopathic medicine.

In 2010 the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine had the largest number of black students. The 71 black students made up 6.6 percent of the student body. There were 69 black students at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey’s School of Osteopathic Medicine and 61 black students at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine of the New York Institute of Technology.

In 2010 there were no blacks among the 149 students at the Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine in Yakima, Washington, and no black students among the 550 students at Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Vallejo, California. There was only one black among the 722 students at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine.


HBCU Plans to Host a New High School With an International Focus

Historically black Fayetteville State University in North Carolina has announced plans to establish a second early college high school on its campus. The early college high school allows students to obtain their high school diplomas while also earning college credits.

The university currently operates Cross Creek Early College High School. The new school, Cumberland International Early College High School, will focus on foreign language and cultural studies. It will offer courses in Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and Arabic.


Trinity College Professor Detained by the Nigerian Government

Okey Ndibe, the Allan K. Smith Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, spent the recent winter break traveling to his native Nigeria to visit family and conduct research for his upcoming book. But Professor Ndibe was detained upon his arrival and his passport was confiscated. Ndibe writes a weekly newspaper column that is widely read in Nigeria in which he frequently is highly critical of the Nigerian regime.

Professor Ndibe was not surprised that he was detained. He had made contingency plans with loved ones to alert the media should anything happen to him. Newspapers on three continents quickly printed condemnations of his treatment and the Committee for the Protection of Journalists in New York publicized his predicament. The Nigerian government soon backed down and Ndibe was permitted to return to the United States.

Dr. Ndibe plans to return to Nigeria this summer.



Two African Americans Elected to the National Academy of Engineering

There are now 2,290 American members of the highly prestigious National Academy of Engineering. The vast majority of the members are white men. The number of African-American members is minuscule.

But this year, two of the 68 new members are African Americans.

Cato T. Laurencin is Van Dusen Endowed Chair in Academic Medicine, vice president for health affairs and dean of the medical school at the University of Connecticut. He also holds an appointment as professor of chemical, materials, and biomolecular engineering at the university. He was honored by the academy for “biomaterial science, drug delivery, and tissue engineering involving musculoskeletal systems, and for academic leadership.”

Dr. Laurencin is a 1980 graduate of Princeton University. In 1987 he earned a Ph.D. in biochemical engineering/biotechnology from MIT and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Medical School.

Lester L. Lyles is CEO of the Lyles Group, an independent aerospace consulting firm in Vienna, Virginia. He was honored by the academy for “leadership in advancing air and space technology and for national service in space exploration.”

Lyles spent 35 years in the United States Air Force, rising to the rank of general. During his career his assignments included command of the Space and Missile Systems Center in California, director of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, and command of the Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

Lyles is a 1968 graduate of Howard University. He earned a master’s degree in mechanical and nuclear engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology.


In Memoriam

Jerome Lynwood Gresham (1938-2011)

Jerome L. Gresham, who in 1966 was named president of Barber-Scotia College in Concord, North Carolina, at the age of 28, died after suffering a heart attack at his home in Atlanta. He was 72 years old.

Dr. Gresham grew up in Atlanta and worked at his father’s restaurant while attending high school. He went on to graduate from Allen University in South Carolina. He later earned a master’s degree from Columbia University and a law degree from North Carolina Central University. He began his academic career as a professor of English at Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka, Alaska.

After serving as president of Barber-Scotia College, Dr. Gresham worked as a consultant and began his own importing business.

Honors and Awards

• Michael K. Dorsey, assistant professor of environmental studies and director of the Climate Justice Research Project at Dartmouth College, received the 2011 Social Justice Award from the college.

Professor Dorsey is a graduate of the University Michigan. He holds a master’s degree from Yale University and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Michigan.

• Eugene C. Johnson, a career Air Force officer who served as chair of the board of trustees of Brevard Community College, received the Julius Montgomery Pioneer Award from the Florida Institute of Technology.

• Ronald E. Snead Sr., chair of the board of trustees of Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan, received the William Glenn Trailblazer Award from the Bob and Aleicia Woodrick Diversity Learning Center at Grand Rapids Community College.

• Karen Chandler, associate professor of arts management at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, received the 2010 Preserving Our Place in History Individual Award from the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission.

Dr. Chandler is a graduate of Hampton University. She holds a master’s degree from Columbia University and a Ph.D. from New York University.

• Jim Tolbert, former president of the West Virginia chapter of the NAACP, received the Martin Luther King Achievement Award from West Virginia University.

Tolbert is a 1958 graduate of West Virginia State University, where he majored in zoology.

The Ronald H. Brown Prep Program for College Students at St. John’s University School of Law in Chicago received the 2011 Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Award for Excellence in Pipeline Diversity from the American Bar Association’s Council for Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Educational Pipeline.


Grants and Gifts

The University of Southern California received a $200,000 grant from the James Irvine Foundation of San Francisco to conduct a leadership institute on civic participation for African-American clergy.

The Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, received a $5 million grant to develop training for science professionals in sub-Saharan Africa.

Historically black Florida A&M University in Tallahassee received a four-year, $180,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to strengthen academic programs in the food and agriculture sciences and to expand ties with universities in Europe by conducting student and faculty exchange programs.

The Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania received a three-year, $1.5 million grant from the Lumina Foundation, USA Funds, and the Kresge Foundation to conduct research on how students succeed at historically black colleges and other minority-serving institutions.


Critics have charged that Black History Month tends to "ghettoize" black scholarship into one month per year while black accomplishments are ignored for the remainder of the year. Do you believe Black History Month continues to serve a useful purpose?


A Statistical Portrait of Freshmen at Black Colleges and Universities

Each year the characteristics and attitudes of freshman college students are surveyed by the Cooperative Institutional Research Program at the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles. This nationwide survey compares current freshmen in terms of characteristics such as family income, grades in high school, and future goals. In addition, the survey contains statistics on a wide variety of personal traits such as study habits, political views, and social activities.

Unfortunately, the race-related data in the UCLA survey is limited to students at historically black colleges and universities and includes no information on differences between black and white students at predominantly white colleges and universities. 

This year’s data shows that students at black colleges are less likely than college students generally to smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol. Students at black colleges are more likely than college freshmen generally to feel depressed and spend far more time on social networking websites and watching television. Surprisingly, students at black colleges are almost as likely as students generally to believe that affirmative action in college admissions should be abolished.

One must remember that many historically black colleges and universities are affiliated with conservative religious organizations. Given this fact, it is no surprise that African-American students at these colleges are more likely to be conservative than African-American college students generally, and on many issues they are more conservative than college students generally.



California State University Officials Visit Black Churches in an Effort to Boost African-American Enrollments

Once again this year, administrators from the 23 campuses of the California State University system are speaking at black churches throughout the state in an effort to boost African-American college enrollments. The “Super Sunday” effort began last week and will continue this coming Sunday.

In 2008 black enrollments in the California State University system stood at 22,167 students. Now there are just over 18,000 black students at CalState campuses.


Florida A&M Graduate Is the First African-American Woman Admitted to the Joint MD/Ph.D. Program at the University of Florida

In the spring of 2009, Brittney Newby, a native of Atlanta, graduated summa cum laude from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. She has spent the last year conducting research at the world renowned Boston Children’s Hospital.

Now, Newby is the first African-American woman in history to gain admittance to the joint MD/Ph.D. program at the University of Florida. The University of Florida joint degree program, founded 44 years ago, admits only eight students each year.

Newby plans to become a pediatrician and hopes to conduct research on biological mechanisms in the progression of disease.

Howard University’s Alternative Spring Break

On Sunday, March 6, Howard University will hold a 12-hour fundraising effort on the university’s WHUR-FM radio station. The goal is to raise $150,000 which will be used to send as many as 500 Howard University undergraduate and graduate students on an “alternative spring break.” The students will travel to several cities, and possibly Haiti, to work on humanitarian projects during their one-week spring break in mid-March.

Listeners to the radiothon can make donations over the telephone or online at a dedicated page of the university’s web site.


Race Relations on Campus Database

Periodically, JBHE Weekly Bulletin will publish a selection of racial incidents that have occurred on the campuses of colleges and universities. Here are the latest incidents:

• The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit alleging that an African-American groundskeeper at the Milledgeville campus of the Georgia Military College was subjected to a racially hostile work environment for a four-year period. The suit was later withdrawn.

There are about 1,400 undergraduate students on campus. Nearly one third of the student body is black.

• Three African Americans have filed a lawsuit against Feather River College in Quincy, California. The suit claims that the three plaintiffs and 15 other African Americans were cut from the football team due to racial discrimination. The discrimination occurred, according to the lawsuit, after a black assistant coach was passed over for promotion to head coach in favor of a less qualified white applicant. (Associated Press, 1-27-11)

• The Black Student Union at the University of California at Irvine lodged a formal complaint with the university after the official menu for the university’s dining hall on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday was changed to fried chicken. University officials apologized stating that the change was insensitive and not in “good taste.” (Los Angeles Times, 1-27-11)

• A racial slur was yelled at a black student on the campus of the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. The words “Nigger, come here boy,” reportedly were uttered inside a traditionally white fraternity house on campus. (Associated Press, 2-7-11)

• The Boulder Faculty Assembly at the University of Colorado is considering a resolution condemning the use of blackface by university students. The resolution is in response to the frequent use of blackface costumes during Halloween celebrations on campus. (Boulder Daily Camera, 2-4-11)


Appointments, Promotions, and Resignations

• Angela Williams was promoted to the position of director of the career development center at the University of Arkansas. She was the associate director of the center.

Dr. Williams holds bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from the University of Arkansas.

• Evelynn Ellis was appointed vice president for institutional diversity and equity at Dartmouth College. She has been serving as director of equal opportunity and affirmative action at the college.

Dr. Ellis is a graduate of Concordia College. She holds a master’s degree in music performance and an educational doctorate from Penn State.

• Renee Steele was named director of alumni relations at the University of North Carolina-Pembroke. Steele was an advancement officer at the university.

Steele is a 1993 graduate of the university. As an undergraduate she was student body president, homecoming queen, and was elected Miss UNCP.

• Larry D. Thompson was named a visiting professor at the University of Georgia School of Law. Thompson is senior vice president of government affairs, general counsel, and corporate secretary of PepsiCo. He is a former deputy attorney general for the U.S. Justice Department.

Thompson is a graduate of Culver-Stockton College and the University of Michigan School of Law. He also holds a master’s degree from Michigan State University.

• Lori Hunter was promoted to associate vice chancellor for enrollment management at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro. She was interim associate vice chancellor of enrollment management and earlier was assistant dean of student services in the university’s School of Technology.

Dr. Hunter is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh. She holds a master’s degree from Harvard University and a doctorate from Syracuse University.

• Thelma V. Cook was appointed chair of the board of regents at Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis. Cook is a community volunteer who previously was the director of corporate affairs for Anheuser-Busch Inc.

Cook is a graduate of North Carolina Central University and holds a master’s degree from Lincoln University of Missouri.

• Denise Pearson is the new assistant provost for faculty at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina. She was associate academic dean at the University College of the University of Denver.

Dr. Pearson is a graduate of Pace University. She holds master’s degrees from Concordia University and the University of Denver and a doctorate from Marquette University.

• Anthony L. Jenkins was appointed vice president of student affairs and enrollment management at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. He was the dean of students at the Clear Lake campus of the University of Houston.

Dr. Jenkins is a graduate of Fayetteville State University and holds a doctorate in student affairs from Virginia Tech.

• Mickey L. Burnim, president of Bowie State University in Maryland, was named chair-elect of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. He is scheduled to become chair of the organization in October.

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