Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

SEF Report Finds Black Colleges Helping to Meet Nation's Science Imperatives

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

SEF Report Finds Black Colleges Helping to Meet Nation's Science Imperatives

Article excerpt

ATLANTA

Black colleges in the South are producing close to one-fourth of the nation's African-American college graduates in the sciences at a time of a rising shortage of scientists and science professionals in the United States, according to a report released by the Southern Education Foundation (SEF).

The report, "Igniting Potential," finds that Black colleges are playing an even larger role in some areas of study. The publication notes, for example, that almost 40 percent of all African-Americans earning bachelor's degrees in the natural sciences in 2000 graduated from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

The SEF report highlights the role of Black colleges in meeting the nation's imperative to increase and diversify science professionals. According to the report, America is experiencing a declining number of bachelor's degrees awarded in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), including a 22 percent decline in computer science degrees during the 1990s. This trend makes it especially important to attract America's minority youth, the fastest growing college-eligible population, to the sciences in order to meet the growing shortage.

"In almost every STEM field, HBCUs are ahead of the nation's larger, wealthier and traditionally White colleges in producing graduates" to diversify and enlarge the nation's science professionals, SEF finds, despite the fact that HBCUs receive less than 2 percent of federal support to higher education institutions for support of science and engineering programs. According to the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, today there are 105 HBCUs.

SEF's 36-page report also provides data about the creative ways in which HBCUs are working to enhance the number of students in the STEM fields and features brief portraits of STEM graduate students who earned their bachelor degrees from one of six HBCUs: Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morgan State University, Spelman College, Tennessee State University and Xavier University of Louisiana. …

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