Va. Tech Receives Grant to Study Black IT Recruitment
A research team led by faculty members from Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business has received a National Science Foundation grant of $617,000 to study the recruitment and retention of African Americans in information technology-related graduate studies and jobs.
Wanda Smith, associate professor of management, will direct the three-year study. Project members include Dr. France Belanger, associate professor of accounting and information systems and director of the Center for Global E-Commerce, Dr. Vernard Harrington of Radford University, Dr. George Kasper of Virginia Commonwealth University, industry consultants and student research assistants.
Smith said the project will study the factors behind an encouraging development in the 1990s — the number of African Americans enrolling in and graduating from graduate and undergraduate IT programs rose significantly.
Citing NSF figures, she said the number of undergraduate computer science degrees awarded to African Americans, for example, rose 67 percent from 1,997 to 3,330 between 1991 and 2000 (the latest year for which these figures are available).
“This good news, however, should not obscure the fact that we need continuous improvement in the attraction and retention of African Americans in IT,” Smith said.
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