Teach For America Announces Its Most Racially Diverse Class in the Organization’s 20-Year History

Each year thousands of graduating seniors at the nation’s colleges and universities are selected to join Teach For America. The new graduates commit to teaching in rural and inner-city schools for the next two years. In the coming academic year, more than 8,200 Teach For America corps members will be teaching in 150 school districts in 31 states and the District of Columbia.

This year Teach For America reports that it had 46,000 applicants. Less than 10 percent of all applicants were selected for the program. But Teach For America reports that it has its most diverse class in its 20-year history. Eleven percent of all students selected this year are African Americans. This is double the percentage of blacks in the senior classes at the colleges and universities at which Teach For America primarily recruits.

The number of Teach For America students that graduated from historically black colleges and universities increased by 76 percent from a year ago.


The Gender Gap in African-American Associate Degree Holders

In 2009 nearly 2.2 million African Americans held a two-year associate’s degree. As in many other areas of African-American higher education, a significant gender gap exists in associate degree awards. Nearly 1.4 million African-American women have earned associate’s degrees compared to 800,000 black men. Thus, black women hold about 64 percent of all African-American associate’s degrees.


The Former Campus of Historically Black Mary Holmes College Is Sold to Nonprofit Counseling Group

Mary Holmes College, a historically black educational institution in West Point, Mississippi, affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, closed its doors in 2005 due to financial difficulties. The college was founded in 1892 “to provide a Christian education and to train black girls in the domestic sciences.” The college became coeducational in 1932.

The 184-acre college campus has remained vacant since the college closed in 2005. Now the Presbyterian Church has sold the campus to the nonprofit Community Counseling Services. The nonprofit group provides mental health care and alcohol and drug counseling services for residents of seven counties in northeastern Mississippi.


Huge Increase in Academic Credentials of Students Admitted to Historically Black South Carolina State University

Admission officials at historically black South Carolina State University in Orangeburg report a surge in applicants this year. As a result, the university has been able to be more selective in the students it admits. This year the average SAT score of admitted students is 923. A year ago the average SAT score was 830. The average ACT test score this year is 19, compared to 17 a year ago.

Admitting students with higher academic credentials has another benefit for the university. Many of these students qualify for merit scholarships from the state and other sources. Thus, these students require a lower level of financial aid from the university.

New Research Center on Race Established at the University of California

The University of California is establishing the Center for New Racial Studies on the campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara. The new center, funded by a $1.73 million grant from the university’s president office, will support research and teaching on race and ethnicity topics throughout the University of California system. The center will be under the direction of Howard Winant, a professor of sociology at the Santa Barbara campus.

The center will be funded for a minimum of five years. Each year research projects will concentrate on a particular topic. For the first year the focus will be on “immigration, citizenship, and racial dimensions of national identity.”

Readers who would like more information on the new center may click here.


University of Chicago Report Argues That Museums Need Greater Outreach to Blacks and Other Minorities

Today racial and ethnic minorities make up 34 percent of the U.S. population. But only 9 percent of museum visitors in the United States are members of minority groups.

A new report commissioned by The Center for the Future of Museums and prepared by the Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago finds that for museums to remain economically viable and relevant to the general public, increased emphasis will have to be placed on exhibits that appeal to minorities and the young. The study recommends reaching out to minority communities with relevant exhibits that will attract new visitors.

Betty Farrell, director of the Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago, writes in the report, “Young people live today in a world that is dominated by racial, ethnic, and multicultural diversity. Cultural organizations that don’t reflect the diversity of the social world in their staff, programs, perspectives, and the people they attract will seem increasingly anarchistic and uninviting.”

The study, Demographic Transformations and the Future of Museums, can be downloaded here.


90.8%  Percentage of all non-Hispanic white Americans over the age of 18 in 2009 who held a high school diploma.

82.8%  Percentage of all African Americans over the age of 18 in 2009 who held a high school diploma.

source:U.S. Department of Education


Appointments, Promotions, and Resignations

• Brenda Wilson-Hale was named vice president for institute advancement at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. She was the CEO of the Washington State University Foundation.

Wilson-Hale holds bachelor’s and law degrees from Wayne State University.

• Stephanie Mays Boyd was named to the board of trustees of Peirce College in Philadelphia. Boyd is vice president of sales and marketing and convention services for the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority.

• Leonard A. McIntyre was named special assistant to the president of international affairs and the director of the Textbooks and Learning Materials Program at South Carolina State University.

Dr. McIntyre is a graduate of Loyola University. He holds a master’s degree from Tulane University and a doctorate in educational administration from Iowa State University.

• Michelle B. Releford was named interim vice chancellor for student affairs at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina. Since 2008 Dr. Releford has been the dean of the University College.

Dr. Releford is a graduate of Albany State University. She holds a master’s degree from Jackson State University and an educational doctorate from the University of Tennessee.

• Kim Luckes was appointed acting president of Norfolk State University in Virginia. She was assistant to the president and liaison to the university’s board of visitors. Prior to coming to Norfolk State, Luckes was executive vice president at St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Luckes is a graduate of Elizabeth City State University and the North Carolina Central University School of Law.

• Michaela N. Brown was named director of alumni affairs at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina. She was the associate director of alumni affairs at Methodist University, also in Fayetteville.

Brown is a graduate of East Carolina University.

• Kathleen Kennedy was appointed dean of the College of Pharmacy at Xavier University in New Orleans. She had served as interim dean since August 2009 and for seven years as associate dean.

Dean Kennedy holds a doctor of pharmacy degree from the University of California at San Francisco.

Grants and Gifts

The College of Engineering, Technology and Computer Science at historically black Tennessee State University received a $125,000 grant from the Tennessee Board of Regents to fund its Rising Stars program. This program aims to increase the number of students in nanotechnology research.

Southern University, the historically black educational institution in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, received a two-year, $199,596 research grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to study two new chromium-based, high-temperature alloys.

North Carolina Central University, the historically black educational institution in Durham, received a $474,629 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to fund the university’s participation in the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium. The grant will be used to develop courses for training disaster planning and law enforcement officers in rural areas.

The University of Arkansas received a $300,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation for programs to increase diversity in the university’s College of Engineering.

Virginia State University, the historically black educational institution in Petersburg, has received two grants totaling more than $465,000 for research into alternative crops for tobacco farmers in Virginia.

Recent Mobility of African-American College Graduates

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that 16.7 percent of the black population of the United States changed their place of residence from 2008 to 2009. For whites, only 11.5 percent of the population moved in the same period.

Blacks with a college education were less likely than other African Americans to move. In the 2008-09 period, 12.8 percent of the college-educated black population changed their place of residence. However, college-educated blacks were more likely to move than similarly educated whites. Only 9.4 percent of college-educated whites moved in the 2008-09 period.

For college-educated blacks who did move in the 2008-09 period, more than four fifths moved to a new residence in the same state. Only 5 percent moved to a different region of the United States and 2.7 percent moved abroad.


“We can no longer stand by and allow Shaw to appear to deteriorate.”

Emily Perry, president of Shaw University’s alumni association, writing in a letter to the historically black university’s board chairman. The letter called for the entire board of trustees to resign. (See story below.)


A Milestone Appointment for the “Little Ivies”

Aaron Kelton was named head football coach at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The college states that Kelton is the first African-American head football coach in the New England Small College Athletic Conference, a group of 11 academically high ranking liberal arts colleges.

Kelton has been an assistant football coach at Columbia University for the past four years. He previously coached at Virginia State University, Concord College, and Clarion University of Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of Springfield College, where he was the quarterback of the football team.


The University of the District of Columbia Is the First HBCU Recognized for Establishing Professional Science Master’s Degree Programs

There are about 200 professional science master’s degree programs in the United States. These programs include training in mathematics, applied science, business fundamentals, and workplace skills to train students for science-oriented careers in business, government, or the nonprofit sector.

The University of the District of Columbia is the first historically black educational institution to have a professional science master’s degree program recognized by the Council of Graduate Schools. The two graduate programs at the university are in applied statistics and water resource management.

Hampton University Launches New Mentoring Program for First-Generation College Students

Hampton University, the historically black educational institution in Virginia, has announced a new program designed to help first-generation college students cope with life on campus. The program will include a $150 stipend for books for 100 incoming students. Ten of the students will also receive a $500 merit-based scholarship. Students in the program will be paired up with student and faculty mentors to help them navigate college life. A monthly seminar will be held that will include advice on course selections and career paths. Student tutors will also be available to help program participants with their studies. Students who are accepted into the program will be required to take two courses, one on critical thinking and one on writing.

A grant from the Walmart Foundation will fund the new program. Erica Woods-Warrior, an assistant professor of political science at Hampton University, developed the program and applied for the grant.


Colleges and Universities Among the Grantees of New Kellogg Foundation Program to Better the Life Chances of Minority Youths

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has announced a five-year, $75 million grant program that aims to improve the life chances of disadvantaged children. America Healing has announced the first 119 grants totaling $14.6 million to “support community-based organizations’ healing efforts among racial and ethnic groups that address historic burdens, disparities, and barriers to opportunity.”

College and university programs are among the grantees. For example:

• The Keys to Degree program at Endicott College in Massachusetts assists young single parents with child care so they can work toward their bachelor’s degree.

• California State University in Hayward received a grant to examine the overrepresentation of black children in the foster care program.

• The CityMatCH program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center received funding to help several communities in Tennessee examine societal factors that lead to racial disparities in health care.


Alumni Group Calls for Shaw University Board of Trustees to Resign

The president of the alumni association of Shaw University, the historically black educational institutional in Raleigh, North Carolina, has called on the university’s board of trustees to resign. In a letter to board chair Willie Gary, the alumni association president wrote, “We have serious concerns regarding conflict of interest, fiduciary responsibility, adverse interest and commitment.” One chapter of the alumni association stated that it was appalled that board members were not making contributions to the university. Over the past year contributions from board members totaled just over $41,000, despite a pledge that each of the 40 members of the board would contribute $50,000 each. In 1991 Gary had pledged $10 million in $250,000 annual installments. Yet Gary has admitted that he has not been able to comply with the giving schedule.


Honors and Awards

• Mary Evans Sias, president of Kentucky State University in Frankfort, received the Martha Layne Collins Leadership Award from the organization Women Leading Kentucky. The award is named after a former governor of Kentucky.

• Doreen E. Loury was given the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching by Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania. Dr. Loury is an assistant professor of African-American studies. She earned her Ph.D. at Temple University.

• Chekesha Liddell, associate professor of materials science and engineering at Cornell University, received the university’s 2010 Provost’s Award for Distinguished Scholarship. Her research studies the synthesis and assembly of non-spherical colloidal particles.

• Gay Johnson McDougall, who in 1965 was the first black student to enroll at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, received an honorary degree from the institution at this spring’s commencement ceremony. McDougall left the college after two years. She recalled, “They weren’t ready for me and I wasn’t ready for them.”

McDougall transferred to Bennington College where she earned a bachelor’s degree. She holds law degrees from the London School of Economics and Political Science and Yale Law School.

• Nikki Giovanni, poet and Distinguished University Professor at Virginia Tech, received the Presidential Medal of Honor from Dillard University in New Orleans.

• M. Renee Baker, executive director of faculty recruitment and retention at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York, received the university’s Isaac L. Jordan Faculty/Staff Pluralism Award. Baker has been an administrator at the university since 2002.

• Tracey Hunter Hayes, associate professor and director of the Langston Hughes Memorial Library at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, received the university’s Soraya M. Coley Distinguished Service Award.

Hayes is a graduate of Lincoln University and holds master’s degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and Virginia Union University.



Copyright © 2010. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.