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The Persisting Racial Divide in Internet Access

It is not possible to exaggerate the importance of the computer and access to the Internet to achievement at all levels of education. Those without access to the World Wide Web will be information have-nots. Since the onset of the digital revolution, blacks have always been a disproportionate share of the information have-nots.

A new Census Bureau report shows that significant racial gaps remain in Internet access in the home. In 2009, 54.5 percent of all African-American households had Internet access. For non-Hispanic whites, the figure was 73.3 percent. This is still a major gap.

More than one half of all black households in the United States do not have high-speed Internet connections. For whites, 68 percent of all households have broadband Internet service in the home.

University of Chicago Sociologist Explores Transracial Adoptions

Gina Miranda Samuels, an assistant professor in the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, recently published a new study on transracial adoptions in the journal Family Process. Samuels, who herself is a transracial adoptee, finds that black children adopted by white parents need to be immersed in black cultural experiences early and often in order to build a healthy ethnic identity. Professor Samuels explores how transracial adoptees can develop a sense of belonging in the black community and how parents can support their adopted child’s ethnic identity development by establishing relationships with African-American people and institutions. Samuels recommends that adoption agencies and social workers make prospective parents aware of the importance of ethnic identity development for the children’s overall happiness and self-esteem.

Students and Faculty at Oxford Have Far Different Perceptions of Racism on Campus

A survey of students and faculty at the University of Oxford produced results that appear to show a wide gap in the perception of racial discrimination on campus. More than half of all students who responded to the survey said they had personally seen racism on campus. But a large percentage of the staff and faculty reported that meritocracy rules at Oxford and “very little needs to be done” to foster racial equality.

One in 12 staff members at Oxford criticized celebrations of Black History Month because it “drew attention to race.”

African Americans Shut Out of 2010 Sloan Research Fellowships

The Sloan Research Fellowships were established by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in 1955 to help young scientists establish themselves in research. Over the years more than $119 million has been given to 4,200 young scientists. Thirty-eight of the scholars have gone on to win the Nobel Prize later in their careers.

Each winner of a Sloan Research Fellowship receives $50,000 over a two-year period. The money is given to the college or university. Expenditures must be approved by the chair of the academic department in which the faculty member is employed. Funds can be used for equipment, technical assistance, professional travel, or research support.

In 2009 three African Americans were among the 118 scholars named Sloan Research Fellows. After a detailed search of the biographies of this year’s 118 Sloan Fellows, it appears that not one of the recipients is African American.

President of Edward Waters College to Leave Office in May

Claudette Williams, president of Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Florida, has announced she will be resigning her position at the end of the school year to become vice president of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Dr. Williams, a native of Jamaica, has been president of Edward Waters College since 2007. Previously, Williams was executive vice president of Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina, and was a member of the faculty at Clark Atlanta University.

The board of trustees announced that Nat Glover, the former sheriff of Jacksonville, would serve as interim president until a permanent replacement for Dr. Williams can be found. Glover is a 1966 graduate of the college.

3.1%  Percentage of all college freshmen in 2009 who reported that they spent 20 hours or more each week on Internet social Web sites.

10.1%  Percentage of all freshmen at historically black colleges and universities in 2009 who reported that they spent 20 hours or more each week on Internet social Web sites.

source: Higher Education Research Institute, the University of California at Los Angeles

Appointments, Promotions, and Resignations

• Linda Thompson Adams was appointed provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro. Since 2003 Dr. Adams has been professor and dean of nursing at Oakland University in Troy, Michigan.

Dr. Adams holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from Wayne State University. She earned a master of public health degree and a doctorate in public health from Johns Hopkins University.

• Anthony Jones was named distinguished visiting fellow at the Center for African American Studies and the program in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy at Princeton University. He was the special adviser to the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Jones is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Martin and the Yale Law School.

• Burgwell Howard was appointed dean of students at Northwestern University. Howard joined the Northwestern administration in 2005 and has served as interim dean of students since last summer.

Howard is a graduate of Dartmouth College and holds a master’s degree from Stanford University.

• Robert M. Dixon was named dean of the School of Science at Hampton University in Virginia. He was provost and vice president for academic affairs at Grambling State University in Louisiana.

A graduate of Morehouse College, Dr. Dixon holds a master’s degree from Rutgers University and a Ph.D. in theoretical nuclear physics from the University of Maryland.

• Shawnta Friday-Stroud, professor of management at the School of Business and Industry at Florida A&M University, was named dean of the business school. She had served as interim dean.

Dr. Friday-Stroud holds a bachelor’s degree and an MBA from Florida A&M University. She earned a Ph.D. in business administration from Florida International University.

• Lester C. Newman was named vice president of academic affairs at Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee. Dr. Newman is the former president of Mississippi Valley State University. He is a graduate of Southern University and holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in political science from Atlanta University.

• Robert W. Taylor, dean of the School of Agriculture and Environmental Studies at Alabama A&M University, was appointed by Alabama Governor Bob Riley to the board of trustees of the Forever Wild Land Trust. Since 1992 the trust has purchased 200,000 acres of land for parks, nature reserves, and recreational uses.

Grants and Gifts

Coppin State University, the historically black educational institution in Baltimore, Maryland, received a $932,116 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce to establish a computer center in a low-income urban neighborhood where few residents have high-speed Internet access. The center will house 60 computer workstations and offer 15 computer training courses.

Black Students From the Caribbean at U.S. Colleges and Universities

Last week JBHE reported that there were 36,937 Africans studying in the United States. But not all black foreign students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities are from Africa. According to the Institute of International Education, in the 2008-09 academic year, there were 13,320 students from Caribbean nations attending college in the U.S. Undoubtedly, most of these students are black. Jamaica sent nearly 4,000 college students to study in the United States. More than 2,400 students from Trinidad and Tobago and more than 1,700 students from the Bahamas attended colleges and universities in the United States.

“Race prejudice exists not only in the heart of the white man, but in the heart of the black man as well. It is due, on either side, to a misunderstanding of the other and there is only one reasonable and hopeful way to get rid of this, and this is through education.”

— from the 1918 thesis of Fred Long, who was the first black graduate of Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. Long went on to a stellar career as a college football coach. He died in 1966. Long recently was posthumously honored with the Trailblazers Award from the American Football Coaches Association.

At the University of California at Riverside, Black Students Graduate at a Rate Far Higher Than Their White or Asian Peers

African Americans make up about 8 percent of the undergraduate enrollments at the University of California at Riverside. The black percentage of the student body at the Riverside campus is the largest in the nine-campus University of California system.

A recent survey of students throughout the University of California system found that students on the Riverside campus were the most likely to agree with the statement, “Students of my race/ethnicity are respected on this campus.”

A commitment to racial and ethnic diversity may be a major factor in the fact that the latest black student graduation rate at the Riverside campus is 13 percentage points higher than the graduation rate for white students. Blacks at Riverside also have a higher graduation rate than Asian or Hispanic students.

Race and Age in Higher Education

New data from the Department of Education shows that about two thirds of all white undergraduate college students are below the age of 25. But just over one half of all black undergraduates are below the age of 25.

There are more black women enrolled as undergraduates who are over 25 years of age than black women college students who are below the age of 25. Nearly one third of all African-American undergraduates are women over the age of 25. Only 16 percent of all African-American undergraduates are black men over the age of 25.

Two Black Scholars Win National Humanities Medals

Annette Gordon-Reed, a professor at New York Law School who also teaches on the Newark campus of Rutgers University, was awarded a National Humanities Medal by President Obama. Previously she won the 2009 Frederick Douglass Book Prize, the National Book Award, the George Washington Book Prize, and the Pulitzer Prize for her book The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family.

Professor Gordon-Reed is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School.

Also awarded a National Humanities Medal was David Levering Lewis, the Julius Silver Professor and professor of history at New York University. Professor Lewis has twice won the Pulitzer Prize, first in 1993 for W.E.B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race, 1868–1919, and again in 2000 for W.E.B. Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and the American Century, 1919–1963.

Dr. Lewis is a graduate of Fisk University. He holds a master’s degree from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in modern European history from the London School of Economics.

In Memoriam

Hilbert D. Stanley (1931-2009)

Hilbert D. Stanley, a former professor at Morgan State University and former executive director of the National Black Catholic Conference, died from complications of dementia at a retirement community in Charlestown, Maryland. He was 78 years old.

A Maryland native, in 1952 Dr. Stanley graduated from Morgan State University with a bachelor’s degree in biology. He later earned a master’s degree at Morgan State and an educational doctorate from Wayne State University. He taught and served as principal for high schools in the Baltimore school district. In 1981 he was named educational liaison in the Office of the Mayor.

In addition to teaching at Morgan State, he served as chair of the university’s foundation and was treasurer of the alumni association.

Clorice D. Thomas-Haysbert (1946-2010)

Clorice Thomas-Haysbert, associate professor of hospitality and tourism at Delaware State University, died late last month after a long battle with cancer. She was 63 years old.

Prior to joining the faculty at Delaware State in 2003, she was director of the hospitality management program at Howard University. Dr. Thomas-Haysbert held a Ph.D. from Ohio State University.

Honors and Awards

• Diola Bagayoko, Distinguished Professor and chair of the department of physics at Southern University in Baton Rouge, received the Lifetime Mentor Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Bagayoko was honored for his efforts to increase the number of black students seeking Ph.D.s in chemistry and physics.

Dr. Bagayoko earned a bachelor’s degree from the Ecole Normale Superieure in Mali. He holds a master’s degree from Lehigh University and a Ph.D. in theoretical solid state physics from Louisiana State University.

• Edward O. DuBose, the long-serving president of the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP, was presented with the Dr. John Townsend Achievement Award from Columbus State University. The award is named for the first black student at the university.

• Cleveland L. Sellers Jr., the president of Voorhees College in Denmark, South Carolina, received the Chester C. Travelstead Award for Courage in Education by the Museum of Education at the University of South Carolina.

Coppin State University in Baltimore is creating an endowed professorship named in honor of Dorothy I. Height. One of the leading women of the civil rights movement, for 40 years Height served as president of the National Council of Negro Women.

In addition to the establishment of the Dorothy I. Height Endowed Chair and Lectureship in Social Work and Social Justice, the university has created the Dorothy I. Height Center for the Advancement of Social Justice.

• Frances Smith Foster, Charles Howard Candler Professor of English and Women’s Studies at Emory University, received the ADE Francis Andrew March Award for exceptional service to the profession of English from the Association of Departments of English. Professor Foster was honored for her new book, ’Til Death or Distance Do Us Part: Love and Marriage in African America.

• Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard University, received the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work for his book In Search of Our Roots: How 19 Extraordinary African Americans Reclaimed Their Past.

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