Slow and Steady

Slow and SteadySurmounting difficult terrain to achieve meaningful success — whether one pursues a Ph.D. or takes a leadership position at a college or university — represents an underlying theme of our annual Top 100 graduate school issue. In this year’s edition, we capture compelling portraits of both struggle and accomplishment as we present the ranked lists of institutions at which minority students have achieved significant measures of graduate and professional degree completion.
 Senior writer Ronald Roach elicited compelling comments from Christopher Edley Jr., the newly appointed dean of the University of California-Berkeley law school, about the direction he foresees taking California’s and, some say, the nation’s most prestigious public law school. Previously as a Harvard Law School professor and a co-founder of the Harvard-based Civil Rights Project think tank, Edley has crafted a career that artfully balanced teaching, research and high-profile jobs in the federal government and national political campaigns. His wide-ranging accomplishments have clearly set the stage for what we anticipate to be a creative and dynamic deanship by Edley.
 Edley says he is eager to bring the Civil Rights Project to the Berkeley campus to better explore the unique challenges that California and the West Coast pose with regard to racial justice. With Proposition 209 imposing serious constraints on diversity efforts and state financial burdens weighing heavily on the higher education system, California may prove the ultimate test of an academic administrator.  
 Kendra Hamilton’s “Is There a Doctorate in the House?” explores the emerging role that the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are having in producing African American Ph.D.s. Though few HBCUs have doctoral programs, Hamilton, a doctoral candidate as well as a journalist, writes that the ones that do have them are leaving some majority White institutions “in the dust” in the comparative numbers of African Americans attaining the Ph.D. “Bridging the Gap” by Crystal L. Keels, Black Issues assistant editor and a Ph.D. in English, describes in considerable detail the “Bridge to the Doctorate” project, a National Science Foundation initiative that “eases the transition from undergraduate to graduate study” among students from underrepresented groups.
 Of course, the numbers in our charts, provided by Dr. Victor Borden, tell a story of both struggle and progress. For every increase in the number of minority graduates, whatever their discipline and degree attainment, there’s renewed hope that the commitment to academic excellence and tradition deepens within a respective racial and ethnic community, and throughout society as a whole. And though our charts don’t always reveal progress from year-to-year in every discipline and for every group, we recognize that an informed accounting of graduate degree attainment by minorities is a vital part of the struggle that must be waged to have a fully productive and educated community.   Hilary Hurd Anyaso
Editor



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