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Are HBCU's producing less qualified black graduates than PWI’s?

Are HBCU
Posted By: torin ellis on June 28, 2010

This is one of those pieces that visibly pushed me back in my chair and brought about a sigh of disappointment. As a career coach, diversity marketing professional and top notch sales recruiter, I interact with candidates and employers everyday. I'll insert my personal comment by weeks end.



I want to challenge this audience to do three things: 1) read the article paying close attention to the comments WITHIN the article, 2) return to HBCU Connect to post YOUR comment, and 3) FORWARD the article to friends. Encourage them to create a profile and/or comment right here!

It is important for others to read your thoughts. This story is just another example that while we may be in summer, we are not on break. Here's the link: http://writingwhileblack.wordpress.com/201...

Read and then COMMENT!
If you enjoyed this article, Join HBCU CONNECT today for similar content and opportunities via email!
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Michael Armstrong
Central State University class of 1982
read the original article and wasn't moved one way or the other by the content; however, it just replicates the climate in America that has resonated since the slave trade. One thing that we as a people have to realize, racism, xenophobic behavior, & predjudice are deeply rooted psychological disorders and are justified by systems and processes that were established to support it's existence. Therefore we should not be shocked or surprised when we read articles llke this; furthermore, we should feel as if the war still exist and the accomplishments over the past 50 years don't mean anything and we have even further to go in an effort to achieve some hope of parity. John Legend said it best as he accepted his Humanitarian Award from BET, what he has accomplished means nothing if poverty, lack of education, and strife still exist in the world. In other words, we must continue to strive and continue to fight because the enemy is alive and well ! In closing, education has to be taken more seriously because that is the gateway to scientific inquiry, research methodologies, publication in journals, and establishing a real contribution to society and our community, because as long as we contiue to allow the enemy to establish parameters to govern our neighborhoods we will always be behind in the stats.....in other words we must define ourselves and the world we live in !
Monday, June 28th 2010 at 1:49PM
HEAR, HEAR!!! Thank you Michael Armstrong for you words. But let us not forget the importance of having control (or lack thereof) of our children's education. If we are to not only continue but compete as a race we need to control what it is our children are learning. I too am not surprised at some of the miss-information that is constantly regurgitated from the so-called "thinkers" of this country. We are fools if we believe half the things that are attributed to us in the guise of defining who we are and what we know. I do appreciate this forum because if continues to reinforce for me the notion that we are a thoughtful, knowledgeable people.
Monday, June 28th 2010 at 3:30PM
I had the best of both worlds, not only attending Morgan State University, but also attending F.I.T. in NYC, a predominately, White/Jewish College. Two different experiences, both vital to my development. I believe this is just a ploy to discredit Brown people who have taken the time to educate themselves in order to improve their quality of life. Many White folks never thought they would see the day when they would have to compete with an educated Brown person, having no higher education themselves. Remember, many thought they had jobs for life, no matter that they weren't qualifed in the first place. WHAT A CROCK!!!
Monday, June 28th 2010 at 8:19PM
Larry Menyweather-Woods
University of Nebraska, Lincoln class of 2008
I was not planning to comment on this article for several reasons. First, though an excellent article, I cannot help but wonder why as Blackamericans we are so constantly concerned with other folk agendas for our youth in a society which does not even desire to admit that the reason other nations may appear to be more than conquerors in education than we, is because we are comparing ourselves to countries which unike America are homogenic not heterogenic? Even when Americans are stationed in those countries, e.g., Germany, Japan, China, the America MUST assimilate or fail. Here in America, a Nation, a country founded not on class but race, not necessarily religious faith but definitely an ideology based on enlightenment, the question should be not why HBCU's need to set an agenda when prior to integration these same schools were producing in spite of lack of funding as Booker T. Washington discovered, but now our historical institutions must fit someone else's agenda (and this is the essence of the recent conference at the historically Black College in Durham and the report of the Chronicles for Higher Ed previously mentioned). The agenda ideal came from those who find themselves attempting to convince a government whose apponted individuals give the appearance of "Caring" but are daring to say for HBCU's to succeed in America's 21st Century and beyond, they must change their historical mission, purpose, design, and become like "Mike," PWIs who are attempting to present themself as "Saviors" the very point of agitation of those who have manifested resentment, disrespect, lack of true historical knowledge of our Culture and our faith. And by saying faith for those who love to make the foolish assumption that my use of the term faith only references belief in a religion, for their information and knowledge, there are many who I am aware don't like the comment, but I will not use the term comprised by the enemy to disconnect Blackamerican and drive the wedge of division, political correctness, for the term to disrespect Blackamericans and now they throw their rocks and hide their hands. As my profile will demonstrate fate would have it that I attended PWIs from the Bachelor to the Doctorate, but I have never sound an alarm of disrespect as if the PWI was better than.As a Blackamerican Pastor not foolishly drawn into the late 1980s and 1990s game of "mega-churchism" I continued to support Blackamerican youth where they should give a chance. HBCUs need to ask one question, are we fulfilling our historical mission and purpose or have we forgotten the rock from which we have been hewned? Until that question is answered, the real agenda concerning funds and greater commitment from those of us who have fought for more than mere survival contrary to the Education Secretary and the advisor to the 1890s or 1895s, some titles slip my mind. How about asking the question, name specific steps to recapture our lost missioni and purpose! We are not a nation of immigrants, we are a nation of people some who came from religious freedom, some who were kidnapped and sold like Joseph to the enemy out of concern for who would sell first, some who came for a better life, some running. That's why Woodrow Wilson acceptance of our being a melting pot was so wrong - and based on the arrogance maybe salad bowl stand in need of renewal?
Monday, June 28th 2010 at 11:05PM
no thankyou
N Carolina St Univ class of 2013
Why must any conversation about HBCUs devolve into the cliched extremes?

It is possible to believe in the historical mission of HBCUs AND to question how they function and manage in the present. Love isn't supposed to blind to faults; it's supposed to challenged the beloved to live up to its full potential.

The fact is, far too many of our most vulnerable students find themselves in schools hamstrung by historical and contemporary baggage that demands a level of proficiency at negotiating bureaucracies that isn't natural to many of our students. The least of us deserve the MOST support, not the least.


How about some factual, realistic, unemotional research about what HBCUs do well and what we could do better and let all the useless measuring up and preening and inferiority complexes go?
Tuesday, June 29th 2010 at 12:34AM
Derrick Homesley
Dept. Director at PG Schools
I agree with the points stated in a lot of the comments already. American was founded on the backs of African-Americans, and it has been one issue after another to hold us down from being seen as equal , as qualified, and as capable. Some of the greatest minds have evolved from the HBCU's and we need to state that aloud and be duly noted for that despite anybody elses agenda to deviate from the facts. As far as producing qualified graduates as opposed to PWI's, I do not agree with that, but I do believe we have lost the focus and importance of our HBCU's educational foundations and why we had to found them, and replaced them with power hungry and status qouish black people. If we continued to realize even though we have an Afro-American President, our struggle for equality still exist, despite the accolades, the BMW's, mercedes and 1 million dollar homes we sould keep the eyes on the priae for all afro-americans, and stop having the "I got mine sydrome, you need to get yours". Our HBCU's must concentrate on competing with Ivy leagers, Big 10, Pac 10 and sos on and so on in the job market. I am not here to down PWI's, but if we are doing what we need to due in the HBCU's as far as education, no one including PWI's should oversee us outside of just flat out racism and "hateration".
Tuesday, June 29th 2010 at 12:45PM
Audrey Prim
Assistant Support Services Coordinator at Youth Connections Inc.
Good afternoon to each of you reading this post and those moved enough to respond. The attitudes expressed in the previous articles are of true beliefs and feelings. I for one appreciate those people not being ashamed or afraid to post how they think and feel, because it gives me motivation to continue to push forward for the reward that is beyond the social limitations of this world. People, Black People, we have to stop trying to reach this artificial status or level of success that other cultures measure their worth. How could we possibly begin to compare ourselves with them? Look at our legacy and the many things we as a nation of people have contributed to this world. Everything we have stood for since the beginning of time is forward movement. We've never invented evil materials for mankind, we've never invaded countries for individual capitalist gain, we've never used religion as a means to obtain administration over other ethnic backgrounds. We are educators who seek a common goal of peace. Unfortunately, there are those among us who bend to outside pressure and conform our morals and values to obtain that "success lifestyle" of grand ambience and acceptance. For them, we pray. We must invest in ourselves; spiritually, financially, educationally, medically and socially. We have to become more responsible ambassadors for our community (speaking to those of us who have obtained BAs and higher) there is nothing wrong with being appreciative of where you come from and who you are. There is nothing wrong with us educating our young Black boys and girls about the importance of self love and love for each other. It makes it easier for them to love those that despise them. We must show that in order to overcome we must press forward and continue the greatness that has been instilled within us since the beginning of time. All we need has been there all along. God is the answer to every problem. Pray about everything my brothers and sisters and worry about nothing. Negative comments such as those, are needed to keep the focus constant.
Tuesday, June 29th 2010 at 12:50PM
Larry Menyweather-Woods
University of Nebraska, Lincoln class of 2008
The interesting thing about data is who is doing the interpretation of the data. GT you asked me once what steps should be taken. Your comment reflected what I have taught. HBCU's must be true to the historical and the reality of the now. The problem I have is simple, who should they allow to define that reality? You mentioned the top three, but I ask you this, even if you have graduated from any of these, at what cost were alumnus willing to pay? Howard success did not come simply because of the philantrophy of good folk, it took the Alumnees who were willing to step up to the plate as well. All that you stated, I can find agreement, yet, as I shared with you before, I have a hermeneutical point of departure which has led me to see what is not seen. Someone stated my previous was clichish, only Church folk uses cliches to get their point across. Each HBCU in spite of the obstacles real or perceived they find working against, first they must be able to pay attention and try to understand, by the way, those are the words of Scripture, whether you believe or not it doesn't sink my thoughts. I am in agreement with you but from a different perspective which many cannot handle. Doesn't matter, HBCU's cannot get out of the fog if they are not conscious of what you call "fog." All the glitter you spoke of - to use a cliche - is not as golden. It's like what Malcolm X was told after his debate with the Brother of CORE he considered a "sell-out" or "nappy head," if you don't know the rock from which you were hewn, how can you provide a proper defense? Remember, not everyone see the glass as half-empty, some half-full. There is a problem, all I say is, we can solve it. What's wrong with keeping a spirit and vision, agreeing and disagreeing without being so disagreeable? You may have been kidding me when you stated my Doctorate was showing, we LOL, but now, after experiencing both sides of the coin, I must believe in myself even when others are saying otherwise. I decided to respect everyone's thought, disagree but discover grounds for agreement. Alumus of HBCUs and all who are concerned, should do their part, then philanthropist will do theirs. The Presidents of HBCUs were chosen to lead, now they must lead, we who are so interested in shared governance must redefined our terms for the sake of the young minds and old minds who stand waiting for leadership. And for those who consider themselves having already arrived, more power to you as well, but chvck, triple check your data you believe is so right, or pay attention to the Moynihans. Peace, Grace, and Power!
Tuesday, June 29th 2010 at 3:47PM
no thankyou
N Carolina St Univ class of 2013
No one else sees a problem with the most cited research on HBCUs being over 30 years old? Most HBCUs have no research agendas as they are not, for the most part, doctoral granting institutions. Therefore, the only ones with the ability to conduct research on HBCUs are non-HBCUs. That is problematic. HBCUs are allowing themselves to be defined by those who have no vested interest in them.

What can be done? HBCUs could forge a shared research pool and agenda that across institutions, commission their own research, apply for grants and federal research investment and begin to build a body of research that shows what HBCUs do and don't do. Without facts all of this is pontificating.

Now, why HBCUs haven't done something similar is another story altogether...

Oh, and someone should tell the writer of the blog in question that her own writing and logic don't exactly support her thesis of HBCUs producing solid writers and researchers. :/ I could barely read some of it.
Tuesday, June 29th 2010 at 4:27PM
charlie jackson
psu officer at state of tennessee
GT------ why are you so harsh? hopefully the purpose of going to any college is to graduate. get a job relating to your major. push comes to shove get a law abiding job to support your family. where i think HBCU'S graduates fell is giving back to those institutions. how do you measure sucess, is the car you drive, the amount of money you paid for your house or the section of town you live in. i graduated in 1977 and few years later i was the adviser for my fraternity on campus for nine years. every homecoming i see those guys and others who graduated and attended my HBCU. they have jobs and good paying jobs. now only if they would give back to the school.( in most cases)
Tuesday, June 29th 2010 at 6:13PM
Kennette Burgess
International Product Marketing Manager at Market America Inc/ SHOP.COM
Let's be for real this is not really about 'HBCU's producing less qualified black graduates than PWI’s' it is based on RACISM. White anything is always considered better than blacks! I have so many personal experiences and things to say about this subject both in my country and having experienced it in the USA.
1) Through my research in grad school, you all probably already know this but, I found that the rankings of Institutions that place PWI institutions higher in almost every category are mostly based on fame, wealth, and finance. NOT FAIR
2) I agree with the author "my education at an HBCU was not inferior to my education at a PWI" I am experiencing both and I am competing with students at my PWI ho attended other top PWIs around NC and some other states and I am doing just as good or better.

3)I also miss my HBCU and visit time to time to help them out. My professors were awesome and currently I do not have any black professors. Also, most of my professors at WSSU I had held a PhD at my HBCU. "In my graduate program I had white professors who only had a Bachelor’s or Master’s. They were hired based on their “professional experience." I can attest to that too. By the way, the level of degrees DOES NOT make a better teacher!

4) The author said "sounding like Becky and using ‘like’ after every three words" is so true. I have (have had) many white classmates and coworkers and they are not any more articulate than me. That is also a racial thing because of how different some races communicate with each other, ethnocentrism comes in and we consider our speech (tone, phrases) as the only right way.

This issue or supremacy always get to me because I have heard it all my life. I always have to prove myself to people, which I actually LOVE to do because I love to have their preconceived notions about me and my race (HBCU) broken with my success. All i can say is that this stereotype is not true, because there are plenty of my HBCU friends that are exceptional and have god jobs and are also facing this racism because of FEAR (false evidence appearing real).
Wednesday, June 30th 2010 at 10:06PM
Kennette Burgess
International Product Marketing Manager at Market America Inc/ SHOP.COM
@ Michael Armstrong I agree especially with "we must continue to strive and continue to fight because the enemy is alive and well" I am never shocked to read articles like this because it is not new to me and they will always exist b/c racism and the lack of knowledge and facts exist.

@Woods I agree that "we are so constantly concerned with other folk agendas"
We needs to worry about ourselves and what NEED to do and then we can prove those 'other folks' wrong or at least try.

@GT "Are they providing REAL and MARKETABLE value to their graduates, allowing them to truly compete in this challenging new world?" I can only speak for my HBCU and of those who I have held deep conversations with, but WSSU prepared me for the real world! Career services was excellent, my adviser was THE BEST, Internships unlimited, organization participation, key note speakers, etc etc and also more important it was straight with me and we discussed articles like this and racism and discussed how as a black person, I can be successful in a white world.

And as far as giving back to our HBCUs, how can we give back when we don't have jobs or make the money to support our key functions in life. You have many alumni who as adults are still paying off loans and some who die paying them off. If we do not get the GOOD JOBS with the GOOD SALARIES because of racism and the perception that or HBCU degree is not acceptable, then how can we give back? Of course, some people can and do not, but we will never be as financially sound as PWIs b/c of those special discriminative circumstances. PWIs also b/ of high rankings and b/c their white alumni get the best jobs and donate back.

Wednesday, June 30th 2010 at 10:26PM
Kennette Burgess
International Product Marketing Manager at Market America Inc/ SHOP.COM
We have heard over and over of the PWIs having better RANKINGS, better SAT scores, better graduate rates, etc then HBCUs right? But have many of us actually thought about why and really analyzed it? i looked at this in one of my MBA classes and the following is an excerpt from my thesis: (Note this was an economic based paper hence the X variables and such)

... the university ranking publications like US News & World Report, Forbes, The Washington Monthly's, among the many others. They all use various criteria to rank institutions in the US and worldwide, however, there has always been much criticism around these college rankings because some feel that the criteria used (independent variables for example) to judge each institution is not reliable and are biased to more elite institutions. The following is an excerpt that explains how some experts feel on this subject which is similar to how I have always felt about college rankings:
“Some higher education experts, like Kevin Carey of Education Sector, have argued that U.S. News and World Report’s college rankings system is merely a list of criteria that mirrors the superficial characteristics of elite colleges and universities. According to Carey, "[The] U.S. News ranking system is deeply flawed. Instead of focusing on the fundamental issues of how well colleges and universities educate their students and how well they prepare them to be successful after college, the magazine's rankings are almost entirely a function of three factors: fame, wealth, and exclusivity." He suggests that there are more important characteristics parents and students should research to select colleges, such as how well students are learning and how likely students are to earn a degree” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._News_%26_World_Report).


future researchers may want to explore the relationships between HBCUs and PWIs (Predominately White Institutions) and their Undergraduate graduation rates with respect to the X variables. A June 2009 article in Essence Magazine compiled by Cynthia Gordy stated that “HBCUs provide opportunities for blacks but have trouble graduating their students. According to an Associated Press survey, 37% of black HBCU attendees graduate in 6-years, 4% lower than black students at other colleges ” (p.90). I have read numerous articles, heard numerous speakers, and watched numerous TV programs that claim this to be true as well.
However, even if this is true, we must look at the reason why and at the bigger pictures. An HBCU population is made up of averagely over 80% black students while other non-HBCUs are made up of less than 30% of black students (Percentage of black students: Harvard 7%, Wake Forest 23%, NYU 3%). Not only are the percentages smaller , but the total amounts of blacks at other colleges are smaller than those at most HBCUs. With this being said, I think future research will prove that the reason for HBCUs having a lower graduation rate then other colleges is not a bad thing but due to the fact that they are have a higher population of blacks, the HBCUs are economically disadvantaged then other colleges, and that their population of blacks (including African-American, Caribbean, African, other blacks) are more financially and academically disadvantaged then the blacks at other non-HBCUs which tend to be of a higher economic and academic level due to their highly selective processes.
According to an article in The Journal for Blacks in Higher Education entitled Most Black Students at Harvard Are From High-Income Families states that “In his 2005 book The Chosen, Professor Jerome Karabel of the University of California at Berkeley has produced credible research showing that most minority students at Harvard, Princeton, and Yale come from high-income families” (http://www.jbhe.com/news_views/52_harvard-blackstudents.html). With this being said, there is no way one can compare blacks at Harvard to Winston-Salem State University who come from low-middle class working families on average. In conclusion, there is no challenge for PWIs to graduate their black students like there is for HBCUs to do the same.

Wednesday, June 30th 2010 at 10:35PM
Kennette Burgess
International Product Marketing Manager at Market America Inc/ SHOP.COM
I would love if people who hide behind their identity were bolder individuals!
Bless
Thursday, July 1st 2010 at 10:23PM
So to answer the question, I would say this:

1) I would not submit an overwhelming "yes" based on what I've heard and seen from those (I know) that have attended an HBCU. I'd also say with reasonable confidence that a number of our HBCU's are delivering an experience that is not of the standard most of you would seek for yourself and/or one that you care for.

2) My thought is that the short term goal of attending an educational institution is to someday - in someway - apply the learning professionally. Be it in academia, employment, entrepreneurship, research, philanthropy or some other route,one usually goes to school to eventually earn and make a difference. If that be the case, all involved should ask "will attending/working (at) THIS institution further my short term goal?

3) My final point is this: an HBCU, PWI, TWI, Community College, and/or Trade School serve as a foundation - some definitely stronger than others. My opinion is that the results of ATTENDING have more to do with the person carrying out the (real time) conversation than it has to do with the logo stamped on their accreditation or degree. For society to cast a doubt on the value HBCU's have within our system is ridiculous, real, and sometimes warranted.

It is our responsibility to thwart that argument whenever we have a chance. We do that when interviewing as a recent graduate or seasoned professional, when applying for bank loans, when starting businesses or seeking joint ventures, when looking to round up a team of diverse network marketers, when selecting staff as a Department Head, big time Executive or Line Manager in a manufacturing plant - we MUST always deliver a powerful conversation.

After all, (almost) every move or scenario starts with a conversation. Rarely does the opening have anything to do with "where one graduated from." When it does or when it comes up, your conversation will hopefully support your presence.

Thank you all for joining the discussion. Let's do it again next week!
Monday, July 5th 2010 at 9:57AM
Dr,George Koonce
Retired at Miami-Dade County Public Schools
And ?
Monday, June 15th 2015 at 3:15PM
Will Moss
Hampton University class of 1995
This was an excellent post Torin. Appreciate the post!
Monday, June 8th 2020 at 9:54PM
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