Flaws in Fellowships: Institutional Support Essential to Boosting Number of African American Doctoral Students

By Manzo, Kathleen Kennedy | Black Issues in Higher Education, July 14, 1994 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Flaws in Fellowships: Institutional Support Essential to Boosting Number of African American Doctoral Students


Manzo, Kathleen Kennedy, Black Issues in Higher Education


Flaws In Fellowships: Institutional Support Essential to Boosting. Number of African American Doctoral Students

by Kathleen Kennedy Manzo

Despite a growing pool of Black college graduates and an increasing number of graduate programs targeting them for advanced study, American colleges and universities have failed to increase significantly the number of African Americans holding doctorates.

Although there are dozens of federal, corporate and institutional programs dedicated to boosting the number of minority doctoral students, colleges and universities have not focused enough resources on supporting promising Black graduate students through the lengthy doctoral process, some observers say.

Many of the programs are piecemeal and rely too heavily on funding from fellowships, instead of more desirable teaching and research assistantships, according to Dr. Frank L. Morris, dean of the graduate school at Morgan State University in Baltimore.

"The whole approach of some of the major programs is from the standpoint that the major problem of low minority doctorates is the [limited number of candidates in the] pipeline," Morris said. "Clearly there are two things which really account for the lack of doctorates. One is the way the financing works that forces African Americans and Hispanics to go into debt. The second explanation is the departmental practices that" limit opportunities for minority students.

Drop in Degrees

The number of African American students earning bachelor's degrees rose from 58,636 in 1976-77 to more than 71,000 in 1991-92, according to preliminary U.S. Department of Education statistics. Although the number of master's degrees conferred on Black students dropped from 21,037 to 17,379 during that same period, the number has gradually increased from a low of almost 14,000 in 1986-87. Doctorates have not recovered. Only 951 of the more than 25,759 doctoral degrees awarded in 1992 went to Blacks, a 9-percent decline from 10 years earlier. The number of Black males earning doctorates declined more than 20 percent during that same period.

The number of doctoral degrees awarded to Hispanics and Native Americans rose in recent years. According to preliminary statistics, nearly 800 Hispanics earned doctorates in 1991-92, compared to 522 in 1976-77. During that same period, the number of Native Americans earning doctorates rose from 95 to 118.

"We just did a very bad job of increasing the number of students we steered toward post-baccalaureate study. The programs [to increase the number of Black Ph.D.s] have not been particularly effective," said Dr. Ansley Abraham, a senior associate with the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB). "There are some very good programs out there, but overall we just haven't made an impact."

Some of the programs have concentrated on traditional recruitment standards that often exclude potential Black students, according to Dr. Robert Ibarra, an assistant dean of minority programs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Institutions need to restructure admissions criteria to better evaluate a student's potential for success at the graduate level.

"There are students available to get into the pipeline. We have to re-evaluate those systems of evaluation," he said. "That doesn't mean to diminish our standards. We need to look for factors for predicting success we haven't used in the past."

Graduate admissions officials should look at a student's overall academic performance, letters of recommendation and extracurricular activities, Ibarra said.

Broadening criteria is the only way to increase the pool from which graduate students are selected, said Deborah J. Carter of the American Council on Education.

"Very often what we see are programs that only look at a certain profile of students...they graduated in the top 10 percent of their class, they went to Ivy League institutions, they have all the indicators of success for graduate school," she said.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Flaws in Fellowships: Institutional Support Essential to Boosting Number of African American Doctoral Students
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?