Black Degree Attainments in Engineering

A new report by Brian Yoder for the American Society for Engineering Education finds that in 2011, Blacks earned 4.2 percent of all bachelor’s degrees awarded in engineering. This was down slightly from 4.5 percent in 2010. A decade ago in 2002, Blacks earned 5.4 percent of bachelor’s degrees in engineering.

Historically Black North Carolina A&T State University awarded the most bachelor’s degrees in engineering to Blacks in 2011 with 135. Georgia Tech awarded 103 bachelor’s degrees in engineering to Blacks in 2011. Prairie View A&M University in Texas ranked third with 90 bachelor’s degrees in engineering awarded to Blacks. Other universities that awarded at least 55 bachelor’s degrees in engineering to Black in 2011 were North Carolina State University, Alabama A&M University, the University of Florida, and Tuskegee University.

In master’s degree awards, Blacks earned 4.9 percent of all engineering degrees in 2011. This was slightly lower than as the year before but slightly higher than a decade ago.

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  1. The undergraduate and graduate ‘Black-degree- attainment’ in engineering has always been an atrocious systemic problem. Instead of the Black degree numbers in engineering increasing over the last decade we have witnessed a precipitous decline.

    Wherein most systemic lingering educational achievement problems in the Black community coupled with the lack of successful outcomes involving African Americans are very complex and complicated.

    However, most of the responsibility for the horrible poor ‘Black-degree-attainment’ rates rests with Black parents, the Black community, insensitive dominant culture educational institutions who in concert haven’t seen the need or lack the vision and foresight to address the on-going dilemma.

    There has to be a revolutionary renaissance within the mindset of each African adult thereby placing a high premium on learning from early childhood to adulthood.

    We have to provide our children with an environment in the home and in their external environment that is conducive to learning even under harsh and brutal conditions. We have to teach our children to love all learning, themselves, and others. This is our charge as responsible parents and non-parent adults to instill in our children the positive values that can make them rise above what may be wretched circumstances and conditions.

    Until the culture and values change in the Black community, we will continue to read about poor academic performance, the gross lack of college undergraduate degrees in all the academic disciplines and a whole host of other deeply entrenched systemic problems.

    The culture of destructive incessant materialism along with the other negative pathologies one of which is self-hate has to change in the Black community in order for us to survive in a rapidly changing America and world.

    African American parents have to demand from the educational system that an Early Childhood Curriculum be developed that will begin the process of integrating viable meaningful elementary engineering and math concepts into the curriculum at age three and four.
    African American parents must make relevant demands for Magnet Engineering/Science Schools in each community. We need to continue to place an emphasis on engineering and science in all grades from K through 12.

    We need to utilize every available church in the Black community to serve as an after school learning vehicle staffed with highly qualified people who would augment and supplement the work of the regular schools.
    We have to encourage the few Black engineers and science teachers to participate and partner in viable tutorial programs with our students at a very early age. If I could get every Black engineer in the country and others who are sensitive to our interests to partner with two students from grades four to adulthood, that would go a long way in increasing the number of Blacks who go into engineering and thus the grad numbers are bound to increase on all levels.

    These engineering Big Brother and Big Sister type of partnerships should work in conjunction with the local school districts in addressing the need for more Blacks to go into the fields of engineering, science and math.

    Each teacher in the Black community has to understand that their job does not end when the final bell rings.
    We need to have dedicated committed caring teachers and common people who are willing to tutor some of our students before and after school regardless of the collective bargaining agreements. Black parents and teachers must have sky high expectations for our children. It is imperative that the community become involved in every aspect of their children’s education from early childhood throughout high school to insure that the educational system is meeting all the measurements, standards and requirements in determining successful outcomes.

    We have extreme monumental educational learning problems in the Black community which requires fiercely dedicated extraordinary people to help in solving these vast problems.

    We need to have just as many engineering and science fairs in the Black community as we have basketball tournaments.

    It is also important to give our young people an accurate dose of the ancient Black historical achievements/advancements in math and science beginning with Kemetians to the modern day inventing, designing of the wheels on the Moon Buggie by Robert E. Shurney which was used in the moon landing and with George Carruthers’ invention of the Ultra Violet Camera which was used for the Apollo 16 landing on the moon.

    Black parents must demand that the various firms in corporate America set up viable student internships beginning in high school through college in an effort to understand and apply basic engineering concepts and to give them practical work experiences.

    Engineering firms and corporations must accept the responsibility to provide viable internships that utilize a significant number of Black high school and college students with the goal of eventual employment of Black engineers and scientists and the diversification of the work force.

    Corporations and engineering firms must develop partnerships which include internships, more scholarships and other financial assistance with the HBCU schools that have applied engineering, math and science programs. These corporations and engineering firms must also partner with such universities as MIT, Cal Poly, Georgia Tech, Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, Dartmouth, University of Virginia and other institutions of higher learning that have a concentration in engineering, science, math that will increase the number of internships, scholarships for Black students in those respective academic disciplines.

    • I agree with much of what you said, except for the statements about a Black teacher’s job not ending at the last bell. A Black teacher must neglect his/her own family to improve the lot of Black students. Wouldn’t that make him/her one of these bad parents that you speak about? Aren’t teacher’s already purchasing supplies for many students’ who come to school without said supplies? Teacher’s cannot give homework, correct it, and tutor regarding said homework. The teacher’s would be doing all of the work. Tutoring should only come into play after students have tried to do homework and found themselves lacking in some way. If I were a teacher, I would not want to have to tutor the same child who disrupted my classroom while I was trying to teach the same lesson he needs tutoring in.

      • Mr Gentry, nowhere did I state in my above critique that Black teachers must neglect their own families and to infer that I stated that is factually incorrect.
        Educators/teachers must have the unique ability to manage their time more effectively that would give them more time to devote to the education of our students which goes way beyond the normal classroom structure.
        No teacher should have to purchase school supplies for his/her classroom. That burden should be shifted to the school district by teachers in concert with said union. Unless it’s in your union contract, teachers should not have that responsibility to purchase school supplies and the teachers performing this practice have the effect of undermining the teachers’ contract with said school district.
        It is incumbent upon all teachers who have teacher contracts with said employers to make the employers responsible to their needs and to the needs of the the students in consultation with the school district and parents.
        Most teachers are not paid enough to have to share the burden of purchasing school supplies.
        Teachers doing that need to Take the Bull by the Horn by stopping and shift that burden on to the said school districts in question.
        Great teachers can teach/ instruct any type of student in any kind of environment and as long as they have a caring attitude, extreme dedication, commitment to excellence, and fierce compassion for the students under their charge.
        Successful highly skilled teachers who have incorporated the three C’s in their every day lesson plans know how to handle disruptive students.

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