Some Top 100 Perspective

Some Top 100 Perspective

Publishing these Top 100 editions each year is a daunting undertaking: Proofing and correcting the charts is an overwhelming task. School names have to be double checked and sometimes cut for space.When more than one institution graduates the same amount of students, we have to go in and break the ties.
But the staff around here gets a slight break when it comes to this second edition, where we  look beyond the baccalaureate degrees and present the Top 100 institutions matriculating students of color with doctoral, master’s and first professional degrees in various disciplines.
The most disturbing observation from the compilation is that while there may be more degree levels to compile in the post-baccalaureate issue, suddenly the individual charts get smaller. Often there aren’t even 50 institutions — the number we cap each chart at — that grant discipline-specific doctorates to African Americans. In many cases, there aren’t even 10. And for American Indian students? Well, those charts — and sometimes the lack thereof — are even more pitiful.
Yes, that makes part of our job here a little easier. But at the same time, it makes things harder —  for us and our concerned readers. Throughout the rest of the publishing year, we are charged with identifying people, practices and programs that elevate the number of students of color who go on to pursue and complete post-baccalaureate degrees. And in this era of anti-affirmative action fervor, it’s not gonna get any easier for advocates of minority graduate and professional education.
We also are charged with providing the perspective: First, increasing the number of Blacks who further their education leads to an improvement in Blacks’ overall economic status; thus increasing the likelihood that we have good secondary schools, and thus increasing the chance we go to — and succeed in — college. Second, increasing the number of Blacks who further their education means more qualified Blacks go on to be professors, which increases the number of Black role models and support networks for Black students on campus, thus increasing the number of Black students who succeed.
It’s a vicious cycle. But that’s why we do what we do here.
Each year, the Top 100 editions provide many institutions with bragging rights and a chance to see where they fall on higher education’s pecking order. We hope they also provide a challenge for every American college or university to do better the next year.
For us — perhaps more than anything else throughout the year — they provide a reminder of why we are in business. They renew our commitment to telling the stories of those who are breaking their backs to augment their recruitment efforts, increase their retention programs and provide greater access for minorities.
In this edition, Michele N-K Collison reports on African Americans who earn doctorates in education, historically our strongest discipline. What she found was that pay and status may be luring Blacks away from the profession.Ronald Roach takes a peek at two new graduate programs in public health at Morgan State and Jackson State universities, which aim to ultimately produce minority graduates who will work on the critical need for aggressive health initiatives in poor and minority communities.And Eric St. John takes a look behind the numbers and finds out what some institutions did to climb in this year’s rankings. As always, we hope that these stories encourage, enrage and dare our readers to continue the struggle to include more students of color in higher education’s wonderful offerings.
Now that’s a daunting undertaking. But somebody’s got to do it.                  



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