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Chasing a Degree — Dash or Marathon?

Chasing a Degree — Dash or Marathon?

It’s that time of year again, when we present the colleges and universities that confer the most undergraduate degrees to students of color in a variety of disciplines. Be sure to read Dr. Victor Borden’s
“Interpreting the Data” to get a better sense of how the colleges and universities are ranked, along with any trends that emerged from the 2004-2005 data.

I should point out, however, that schools affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita did not have to report their numbers this year. So you won’t see the traditional recipients, such as Xavier University of Louisiana as a top producer of Black degree-holders in the biological sciences. In addition, don’t forget to check out our Top 100 graduate and professional edition, which comes out July 13.

When Diverse senior editor Christina Asquith suggested attending the Innovations in Education Symposium in Doha, Qatar, we all thought it was a great opportunity. Christina, who is no stranger to the Middle East after reporting on the Iraq War for two years, was struck by the differences between the two Arab countries.

“You haven’t experienced the Middle East without visiting the Gulf Arab states,” she says. “While Iraq and Iran are reeling backwards, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are moving into the future at a phenomenal speed. They see themselves as the Hong Kong of the Arab world.” 

What the Qatari royal family is doing with their immense wealth is fascinating. They have assembled five top U.S. universities, which together comprise a 2,500-acre compound called “Education City.” There are also plans underway to bring over an American journalism school, business school and teaching hospital. The foundation that oversees Education City covers the salaries and living expenses of U.S. faculty, including housing and a car allowance. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most of the professors, not to mention for the Qatari students who are able to receive an American-style education without leaving their home countries. 

As higher education professionals, many of you know students that are on the “six-year plan” to graduation, and it is becoming increasingly common. In “Is Six the New Four-Year Plan?” Diverse correspondent Marlon A. Walker profiles two students, one who recently graduated, and one who is on track to graduate in December. Most commonly, students tend to stretch out their stay in the undergrad ranks because of academic, personal or financial problems, or a combination thereof.

On the flip side, students and faculty are not eager to devote themselves to a campus when the climate is toxic. Assistant editor Kendra Hamilton reports that this has been a dismal year for racial harmony on campus. Duke University has probably received the most media attention in the wake of the rape allegations against members of the men’s lacrosse team. However, incidents at a number of schools have caused heightened racial tensions. Though uncomfortable for the entire campus, some scholars say going through such experiences may actually serve as a learning experience for the college community. 

Hilary Hurd Anyaso

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