April 12, 2012, 11:39 am
Last time I counted there were 16 open HBCU presidencies throughout the nation, including Central State University (Wilberforce, Ohio), Bennett College for Women (Greensboro, N.C.), and Fisk University (Nashville). Many alumni are wondering if there is a crisis in HBCU leadership. There is concern that too many presidents are leaving their positions at the same time. Alumni and HBCU supporters are questioning whether these departures are a trend and asking what is causing them. They wonder if there will be more departures.
I write quite a bit about HBCU leadership and have been watching the changing of the guard in the HBCU presidency for the past 13 years. To me the openings in the HBCU presidency seem quite normal, as most of the presidents who are leaving have served at least 5-7 years—the norm for college presidents. But to others, 16 is a large number of vacancies and it gives …
March 30, 2012, 10:45 am
Whenever someone asks me what I do for a living, I give him or her the long version of “professor.” I find that most people assume professors only teach and are unaware of all the other things we do.
David C. Levy, a former university administrator, recently wrote an essay in The Washington Post titled “Do College Professors Work Hard Enough?” In his essay, Levy claims that faculty members are paid at a rate that is equal to other positions that require advanced degrees. I’m going to assume that he means doctors, lawyers, and business people. He concludes that the higher salaries of faculty members are a positive change in comparison to the past, but thinks that faculty members don’t work hard enough to deserve these salaries. Of note, Levy does spare those faculty members at research institutions from his critique. Faculty members like me. Regardless, there are several…
March 28, 2012, 6:33 am
This post is co-authored by Nelson Bowman III, director of development at Prairie View A&M University.
Recently, Claflin University, located in Orangeburg, South Carolina, reported that 45 percent of its living alumni had given to the institution. Not only is this the highest giving rate recorded by Claflin, it is one of the highest among all colleges and universities. The institution is determined to reach the 50-percent mark in the near future, which would make it the first HBCU to boast an alumni giving rate of 50 percent.
Other HBCU’s, as well as colleges and universities overall, are probably wondering how Claflin achieved its success. We have outlined the institution’s strategy below:
First, Claflin received a $1.5-million grant from the United Negro College Fund’s Institute for Capacity Building (ICB). The ICB has a proven track record for strengthening various as…
March 14, 2012, 1:43 pm
The day after Derrick Bell passed away, I wrote a tribute to him for the Chronicle of Higher Education. Bell has been a hero of mine since I was in graduate school. Having met him many times, I can tell you he was a beautiful soul. He was intelligent, eloquent, caring, and reflective. I find it deeply disturbing that hate-filled and uninformed individuals are dragging his name through the mud in order to disparage President Obama. What is truly sad is that these individuals don’t understand Bell’s work or his intellectual capacity and wit.
Breitbart.com has led this smear campaign with others piggy backing on it. Instead of reading Bell’s work, these individuals are merely taking his words out of context and using them as sound bites to incite racial hatred and fear.
I’d like to point out a few of the issues involved in this smear:
Issue one: The smear of Bell is …
March 4, 2012, 8:25 pm
“I can tell you that the days of white, wealthy, upper-class students from prep schools in cashmere coats and pearls who marry Amherst men are over. This is unfortunate because it is this demographic that puts their name on buildings, donates great art and subsidizes scholarships.”
This is a quote from a letter to the editor of Smith College’s Sophian. The author of the letter is Anne Spurzem. She was reacting to statistics related to diversity, which were recently published in the Sophian. Ms. Spurzem, like many older white alumni, is unhappy with the direction that her alma mater is taking in terms of reaching out to students of color and increasing diversity on campus. Her assumption is that the presence of students of color has lowered the quality of Smith and she states this quite clearly in her letter: “As someone who has followed admissions for many years, I can tell…
February 27, 2012, 7:55 am
Shaun Harper, my colleague here at the University of Pennsylvania, recently released a major report on black male student success. He has been working on this report and collecting data on black male achievers for years now and this report is the most comprehensive information we have on the topic. Harper pushes back against the deficit model typically applied to black men and most minorities and shows us how these young men achieve success academically, socially, and personally. The report should be read by faculty and administrators across the country and should also be given to students as it offers a sense of inspiration and empowerment.
As someone interested in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) and student success at these institutions, I read the report with an eye toward what it could tell us about black male success at HBCU’s. The black men featured in …
February 14, 2012, 11:23 am
I’ve been thinking about constructive criticism–the kind we give to graduate students or mentees–and how they receive it. Over the past few years I’ve noticed a bit of push back from students and mentees. My faculty friends and colleagues have told me they get the same kind of push back. Now, don’t misunderstand me, there is nothing wrong with push back–you have to stand up for what you believe. However, I’ve watched individuals struggle and have difficulty with their job search while neglecting to follow any of the advice their mentors have given them. Sometimes these students are headstrong. Other times they are convinced that they know what is best and that they know how to build a faculty career. Here are a few examples:
I have had students and mentees who present at academic conferences on a regular basis but they don’t publish the resulting papers. Many time…
February 12, 2012, 9:57 pm
The Obama administration has been bold in its pursuit of higher-education goals. Most of us are familiar with President Obama’s 2020 goals – by 2020 he wants the United States to be first in the world in higher education. He wants every adult American to have at least one year of college or career training.
In order to meet the goal, the Obama administration has issued a Request for Information (RIF) aimed at gathering and disseminating strategies for improving retention and degree attainment. Throughout the country at myriad colleges and universities, there are superb practices for engaging students and ensuring their success. We often know what works but we fail to replicate positive approaches and strategies.
As most of the traction to meet the 2020 goals must take place at community colleges, historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions,…
January 30, 2012, 7:22 am
In Arizona, textbooks that are inclusive of all Americans’ experiences are being banned because racists are afraid that when Latino students learn positive things about their culture and history, these students will feel empowered. Don’t we want all of our students to be empowered? Don’t we want our students to have the confidence to do their very best in school and in life? Don’t we want all of our children to learn the positive attributes of their ancestors? I know that my 12-year-old daughter is more respectful of individuals of other racial and ethnic backgrounds because she is familiar with their cultures and histories. She once proclaimed to me after reading a book about African cultures, “Children need to realize that the world isn’t merely about them. We are all connected and part of something larger than us.”
In Georgia, third-grade teachers assigned math…