All Articles Tagged "education"
Last week, we reported on an in-depth interview with the new president of Morehouse, John Silvanus Wilson, and NPR host Michel Martin. The big topic — maintaining the relevance of HBCUs. From Wilson’s point of view, colleges in general need to update their business model. HBCUs specifically need to work on things like alumni giving and financial aid.
Madame Noire readers have some suggestions also.
Since that story was published, we’ve heard from readers on Facebook and Twitter, who’ve shared their suggestions for improving HBCUs.
“[HBCUs] need more online classses & degrees. To keep up w/ the other colleges who offer it,” Ms Melody said on Twitter. @BigAppleInnATL agrees, and says, “…[A]lso they can make [registration] online for current students instead of long lines.”
A couple of Facebook commenters tackled the issues with the course offerings directly. @Chase Ross commented on Facebook: “There’s a disconnect between liberal arts education and work-ready skills. There should be a series of free online tutorials and proficiency tests/certifications that students should have to complete before graduation in programs such as excel, photshop, prezi, etc. They should also provide personal finance tutorials.” And @Tanisha Waggoner says she actually decided against an HBCU because of a lack of computer courses.
Once again, this by no means implies that issues with higher education only exist at HBCUs. Across the college spectrum, educators are looking for ways to modernize their schools and programs in order to keep up with the needs of students and the jobs marketplace.
And all that said, one of the commenters on that previous story, a Spelman grad who thinks there needs to be a focus on areas of study other than liberal arts, took a moment to discuss why HBCUs are very necessary. “What makes HBCUs so great is the deep tradition that most of them still hold to today. HBCUs break the stigma that ‘all Black people are alike,’ Tiffaney Graham writes. “It allows you to get to not only know yourself as you’re becoming an independent adult but as a person of color too.”
At this point in your life, graduate school might look pretty appealing. But not every reason is the right reason to enroll.
Black Enterprise takes a look at four reasons why you shouldn’t go back to school, and why you won’t get your money’s worth if you do.
“You’re unsure of the career path you want to pursue, so you go to graduate school instead. Hey, you might get lucky and really enjoy your graduate school courses and find your way as a result,” writes Jamie Harrison. But you could end up with a lot of college credits and little else.
If graduate school might be in your future, you ought to make sure you’re in the right frame of mind before you make the commitment of time and money. Click through to read more at BlackEnterprise.com.
The answer to this question is no. I’d dare to say you don’t need a college degree to wait tables, deliver pizzas, mop floors or answer phones. However, according to CNN and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, college graduates of various backgrounds are finding themselves working all sorts of gigs just to make ends meet.
Underemployment has plagued the US over the past few years and although the unemployment rate is getting better the underemployment rate seems to be getting worse. We hear about the US unemployment rate of around eight percent (for the end of 2012), and don’t highlight the number of underemployed working jobs that in no way relate to what they have studied in college and have racked up debt for.
To put things in perspective, BLS data says about 15 percent or more taxi drivers have a college degree compared to one percent in the 1970s. They have also documented that 1 in 6 bartenders, 1 in 5 telemarketers, and 1 in 4 retail workers have a college degree in their back pocket.
A study released by The Center for College Affordability and Productivity says that about 37 percent of employed U.S. college graduates are working jobs that require no more than a high school diploma. Yes, you read that correctly!
After, going through undergraduate school and/or graduate school we all walk across the stage on commencement day with thoughts of a bright future and a great job. But given this economy, it might take a little longer to get to the higher rungs on that ladder.
We discussed the issue of colleges meeting the needs of an evolved student body and the modern day jobs landscape. Students should also take time to think about the career path they’d like to take and how best to craft an educational experience that will get them there.
Colleges and universities are standalone institutions. When you graduate, your diploma says you went to one particular school. But colleges also tend to fall into categories that group them into a special place in higher education. For example, the party schools. The liberal arts schools. The Ivy League. The colleges with great sports programs.
And the HBCUs.
Last week, we tweeted this NPR interview between John Silvanus Wilson, the new president of Morehouse, and “Tell Me More” host Michel Martin. The interview covered a wide range of topics — from the financial struggles that HBCUs face to the low level of alumni giving to the need for operational improvement at black colleges where the financial aid office gets the most criticism from alums.
But the big question is this: Do we still need HBCUs?
A former executive director for an Obama initiative on historically black colleges and universities, Wilson said this about the continued need for these institutions: “They continue to serve a special function. We have a better time graduating students. It is a more nurturing environment, in some cases.”
But, he said, “It is because, as many people are recognizing across higher education, black and white, the value proposition and the financial model, particularly for liberal arts institutions – they are under a lot of stress.”
HBCUs at one point provided an opportunity for African Americans to go to college when other schools wouldn’t allow it. Now that the options are broad, students still choose the HBCUs for the unique experience they offer.
But, according to Wilson, HBCUs haven’t done, what women’s colleges have done. Women’s colleges, at one point,offered opportunity to a group that wouldn’t otherwise have had a chance at a college education. But today women’s colleges are thriving where HBCUs struggle.
“So you see Wellesley and Smith and Mount Holyoke doing major capital campaigns, just like … the more sophisticated institutions in higher education,” said Wilson. “You have to remain sophisticated, and you have to remain up-to-date with the current definition of institutional strength in higher education. That has not happened to the same degree with HBCUs, and I would say that with the all-male institutions we lag in that respect as well.”
According to one reader, Tiarra Currie, who talked with us on Twitter about this topic, she chose Syracuse and Columbia’s Teacher’s College, in part, because what she heard from HBCU alumni convinced her it wasn’t the right environment for her.
“When I hear tales from HBCU students, the most common commentary is unorganized, lack of financial aid, and homecoming,” she told us in an email.
As a women’s college grad, my personal experience was one that was, to use Wilson’s word, current. The roles and needs of women have evolved, both individually and in society. Women’s colleges, in my experience, have tried and — in many ways — succeeded in keeping up with that.
If you went to an HBCU, I’d be curious to hear if you think black colleges have done a good job of keeping up with their evolving student body.
But by no means, does that imply that women’s colleges, or any college, for that matter, has it figured out completely. The New York Times reported just a few days ago that colleges and higher education associations are making it a “priority” to better meet the needs of a student population that’s a little older and more interested in part-time coursework, online classes, and other untraditional options. By taking these steps, they hope that graduation rates will rise.
Moreover, the job market is making a college education seem extraneous. New Labor Department research shows that nearly half — 48 percent — of people with a four-year degree are doing a job that doesn’t require one. However, The Christian Science Monitor points out that people who have a college degree make more money.
“At the same time, the story of economic progress is one of continuous development of new tools and the skills to use them – and good jobs will flow to nations that can keep pushing further down this path,” writes the article.
So the issue isn’t whether we need higher education. It’s whether that education is meeting modern needs. Which has less to do with HBCUs or women’s colleges or party schools. It’s a transformation that all schools of every stripe have to make to meet the challenges of the modern world.
With so many adults (people over the age of 25) going back to school, Black Enterprise has four things you should keep in mind if this is a step you’re considering. Besides cost, there are lifestyle issues to consider.
“Family members will need to understand your absence from their activities, like football, basketball, dance, etc. Timing is important before making a decision like this, because support is crucial to achieving success in all areas, including the home, work and school,” the article says.
In other words, deciding to go back to school is a life-altering decision. For more about what you should be thinking about before taking the plunge, click through to BlackEnterprise.com.
Top Graduate: University of Michigan Celebrates The First African-American Woman to Earn Ph.D. in Computer Science
Kyla McMullen isn’t merely graduating from the University at Michigan. She is actually the first African-American woman Ph.D. graduate in computer science at the university.
But McMullen isn’t fully celebrating. According to McMullen, the experience is “bittersweet” because of the low number of women and minorities pursuing advanced degrees in computer science. In fact, out of the more than 1,400 Americans who received Ph.D.s in computer science from 2010 to 2011, less than a quarter were female, and a mere 1.2 percent – 16 people – were African-American, according to the latest Computing Research Association Taulbee Survey.
Intrigued by computer science as a young girl, McMullen was selected to participate in The University of Maryland, Baltimore County´s (UMBC) Meyerhoff Scholarship Program. After that, she thrived at The University of Michigan, where she was president of The Society of Minority Engineers and Scientists and the vice president of the Movement of Underrepresented Sisters in Engineering and Science.
McMullen should have many doors open for her. As we reported recently STEM majors are greatly deserved on the job market, And there are few women in these fields. And according to a 2012 report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, “the demand will far outstrip the supply for these coveted graduates;” reports The Washington Post.
More evidence of the browning of America. The eighth edition of Knocking at the College Door: Projections of High School Graduates, released by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), found that the population of U.S. high school graduates is rapidly growing more racially and ethnically diverse. There was also a modest decline in the number of graduates after almost two decades of sustained growth. The former means that the pool of potential college students will be more diverse.
“These two trends will define the ‘new normal’ for our colleges and universities—and will require those of us working in higher education to change the way we do business,” said David Longanecker, president of WICHE, which published Knocking at the College Door with support from ACT and the College Board, in a press statement.
This shift in the demographics of high school students will require policymakers and practitioners to address the needs of traditionally underrepresented groups.
“Institutions will no longer be able to rely on growth in the number of traditional-aged students to boost funding. At the same time, the changing demographics of our high school graduating classes will mean greater demand for a college education from students we traditionally have not served well,” stated Longanecker. “Higher education must commit to finding innovative, cost-effective ways to prepare those students to succeed in our 21st century global economy.”
According to the study, The District of Columbia, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont all saw declines in high school enrollment (losses of 15 percent or more). And the new stats in the press release indicate that by 2019/2020, 45 percent of the nation’s public high school graduates are projected to be non-white, up by more than seven percent over the class of 2009.
Driving this trend is the rapid increase in the number of Hispanics completing high school — between the 2008/2009 and 2019/2020 school years, the number of white public high school grads will drop by 228,000, while Hispanic graduates will increase by 197,000. However, there is a disturbing drop among African-American enrollment and completion. The number of black non-Hispanics is expected to drop by 41,000.
Also expected to drop are the number of people enrolled in college. Moody’s Investors Service says the income crush and uncertain job landscape is keeping students away.
“Before the financial crisis of 2008, colleges and universities routinely raised tuition and saw little impact on the number of prospective students who applied. Indeed, some private colleges said that applications actually increased when they bolstered prices, apparently because families equated higher prices with quality,” The New York Times reports.
What do we need to do to raise educational interest from black students?
On Tuesday evening, Teach for American Outreach hosted an online discussion about race and education, looking at the historical context as well as the implications of current issues including No Child Left Behind and the Franklin v. University of Texas Supreme Court case.
Moderated by Teach for America manager of professional recruitment Christie Clark, “Civil Rights in the Classroom: The Past, Present, and Future of Race and Education in the U.S.” featured Dr. Sheneka Williams, assistant professor of educational administration and policy at the University of Georgia, Saba Bireda, policy and legal advisor for EducationCounsel LLC, and Justin Reid, associate director at the Civil Rights Movement-related Moton Museum in Virginia.
The event was part educational and part for recruitment, as Teach for America is still accepting applications for fall of 2013, with the final rounds of deadlines on January 11 and February 13.
“Start with Plessy and think about how segregation in public facilities was seen as an OK practice at that time,” Williams explained. That led to ”separate but equal” in the education system, which eventually led to Brown v. Board of Education.
Reid discussed how the NAACP spent years filing suits against “separate but equal” in schools. However, they realized that “in order to really make American schools equal, they had to be integrated.” Brown v. Board of Education was an “integration suit, which was at first a class action suit involving hundreds of plaintiffs saying we want integrated schools.”
“Brown really informed our whole understanding of what equal opportunities in education really means,” said Bireda. “After Brown, there was a transformative movement in education and Civil Rights. While progress to integrate was slow, there was a transformative effect on education.”
With the background laid out, the trio also discussed the recent achievement goals in Florida and Virginia, which seemed to include lower goals for black and Latino students compared to their white and Asian counterparts. Virginia has since revised its goals.
“If you set the bar differently for different races, are we saying that for poor little Johnny who is black or Latino, that this is the best he’s going to do? Let’s set the bar where he is and keep it there because it’s not likely he’ll get farther?” Williams said. “It’s the perpetuation of the achievement gap that we have. We need to think about how this would translate in the classroom. How will people respond to these students? There is a trickle-down element here.”
And the panel looked at the current Supreme Court case on race-based admissions, Fisher v. University of Texas, highlighting that Teach for America has joined with 100 other organizations to sign an amicus brief in support of the University.
“What is at stake here is the future of our economy and the future of the opportunities in this country,” Bireda said. “That has implications for what our workforce looks like and whether or not we’re going to be competitive globally.”
The panelists also answered attendee questions, including advice for first-time teachers. Answer: check your biases at the door and get to know the students without pre-judging.
“If we don’t get education right, we enter a new generation of slavery of sorts,” Williams said. “I know everybody cringes at that word, but we have to understand that we are a diverse country and what has been the norm is no longer. We have to embrace that and start there. Everyone deserves a chance at equal educational opportunities. If we don’t get this right, long-term, there is a trickle-down effect and we might never get out of this economic situation in this country.”
With New Year’s still fresh in our minds, self-improvement is important to everyone. But, it’s easy to be dedicated in January. The true test is honoring those resolutions for 365 days. That’s 52 weeks of discipline! Dropping the cash to lock yourself into a year-long commitment and making good habits a part of your daily routine are two easy ways to preserve that “new you” you told all of social media would debut in 2013. Here are nine ideas, some for free and others with a cost incentive, to keep you on track.
There’s still a little more time before college students head back to class. And while the holidays are a time for rest and catching up with family and friends, Black Enterprise suggests that it’s also a good time to work on building that post-graduate career.
“To fully benefit from your vacation, you must come up with a winter break game plan that will keep you on track with your socialization AND career goals,” the site writes. Among the things you could be doing are preparing for the next semester and look for internships.
Don’t worry! There’s time for some fun too. But keeping your eye on the prize will help you stand out from those who simply lounged around during their time off. For more, visit BlackEnterprise.com.