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Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

One of the questions that we can count on getting when we release our Top 100 undergraduate degree producers edition centers on the basic notion that the tabulations are inherently biased and favor the large state universities. Our response has always been not to shoot the messenger but to look at the message. We readily acknowledge that our tabulations can be used for noble and not so noble purposes. However, the truth of the matter is that while some schools do benefit from their size, others are ranked high in the graduating of minority and disadvantaged students because they chose to do so. That is why you’ll see some states with large minority populations near the bottom of our rankings, while others with nearly the same demographics are consistently at the top.
One of the reasons we categorize the graduation rates by discipline is to show that this will to succeed can vary found from department to department and discipline to discipline. That’s why as you carefully review the charts you’ll note that some departments have stellar records, while others, for reasons that only they can defend, have horrendous records. It would be foolish to underestimate the will of an individual department’s leadership and faculty to distinguish itself. These departments have made a conscientious decision to be good at supporting all of their students with special attention to the needs of students of color. The results? These leaders have the great satisfaction of knowing that by exerting themselves they have influenced the career paths of many young men and women.  
On the following pages are the rankings of individual disciplines by minority group, but below are a few quick highlights:   
For the second year in a row, Florida A&M, Howard and Southern universities occupy the top three slots in conferring the most bachelor’s degrees (all disciplines combined) on African American students at HBCUs.
Also for the second consecutive year, Georgia State, Temple and Florida State universities graduated the most African American undergraduate students (all disciplines combined) for a Traditionally White Institution (TWI); and
The No. 1 spot for graduating the most Black engineering students has been occupied by either North Carolina A&T or Georgia Tech for the last few years. This time, A&T surpassed Georgia Tech by just a few students — 143 vs. 141 respectively.
See Dr. Victor Borden and Pamela C. Brown’s “Interpreting the Data” for a more in-depth analysis of this year’s Top 100 trends.
Our July 29th edition covers the Top 100 Graduate/Professional degree producers. And as many of you know, we are just a few weeks away from officially celebrating our 20th anniversary. Our June 17th edition will look back over 20 years of Black Issues In Higher Education as the magazine commemorates this special publishing milestone.  

Frank L. Matthews

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