Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Dear BI Career Consultants

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Dear BI Career Consultants

Article excerpt

With colleges and universities increasingly changing many of their retention, scholarship and other programs from targeting only African American students, what can I do as an administrator to keep my university committed to increasing their Black student enrollment and graduation rates?

DR. DONNIE PERKINS,
Dean and Director
Office of Affirmative Action
and Diversity
Northeastern University
Boston

If not you, then who? What better person than you to maintain the commitment to equity and social justice for Black students and society at large?

Become familiar with the standards of Regents of the University of California v. Bakke and other relevant rulings. In Bakke, the Supreme Court ruled that colleges and universities may take race and ethnicity into consideration to foster the diversity of their student body. Quotas and set-asides in admissions were deemed illegal. Check with legal counsel to assess the status of Bakke in your state. Develop and implement a plan of action that is consistent with your mission and complies with current state and federal law.

Explain to parents and students how your admissions policies support Black student enrollment and diversity. They want and need to know. Inform students and parents of the academic and social expectations throughout the recruitment process. Students need to know that excellence leads to graduation.

Continue to develop, fund and operate college preparation, early awareness and intervention programs that prepare Black and diverse middle- and high-school students for success in college. Federal TRIO programs and programs such as Connecticut's Collegiate Awareness Preparation Programs (ConnCAP) should be expanded.

Provide students and parents a sense of the campus climate for African American students, faculty and staff. What is the status of African Americans in professional and faculty ranks? What are the perceptions of African Americans on campus?

Dialogue sessions with students, faculty and administrators foster communication and build a sense of community. Encourage students to participate in study groups that promote cross-racial and cultural dialogue and learning.

Support participation in co-op and study-abroad programs, internships, work-study, and leadership development and community service opportunities to increase confidence, self-esteem and cultural awareness.

To serve Black students well, administrators must share our history, struggle and achievements. …

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