By Alexis Teasdell
It is a true blessing to be able to attend an institution as great as North Carolina State University, but what about students who wish to also attend our university, or staff who wish to work here. The 2011 African American Status report for our university has just been released and holds some interesting information.
Many of us encourage family and friends to apply to this school in which we love, and yes, it shows. The amount of African American freshman applications is on the rise and has been for a few years. Now one may wonder, if this is true, than why are there so few African-Americans walking across NC State’s campus? The reason that there are only a percentage of eight African Americans at NC State is because the amount of freshman enrolled and accepted into NC State has not grown. This does not mean that it is dropping though. Fortunately, the amount of African- American students has stayed constant but eight percent is still not enough.
It has been said that the reason why these numbers are staying constant is because many African Americans are not prepared for college and therefore aren’t accepted. African Americans only account for 6.5 percent of students to achieve a 3 or higher on Advanced Placement exams and only 24 percent of African Americans take the S.A.T. An institution like ours pays attention to this.
Thankfully, our school is taking some initiative to help African Americans into our university. Due to the Regents of University of California vs Bakke Case, NC State is not allowed to admit students who aren’t qualified into the university. All students at our school deserve to be here and race has no influence, so NC State has produced programs in order to help prepare students for applying to college as early as kindergarten. From K-12 outreach to hosting high school and middle school groups, CALI grant, SPACE program; Science House, and TRIO, NC State is honestly trying to increase the amount of African Americans. NC State also looks at applications in a more holistic way. Grades aren’t the only thing that get you in. Extracurricular activities and school involvement are also considered in the admissions process. Some may say that there is a gap in which schools NC State is visiting and talking to. Others may argue that NC State isn’t putting enough effort into the programs.
Personally, I would ask what we can do to help. As it has been said many times before, it is our duty as African Americans to save ourselves and help one another. When asked what we can do, as students, to help it was said that we can get involved in the programs that NC State has in place, such as SPACE or TRIO. There is also a lot of help in students going back to their old high schools and middles schools to talk about college. Mentoring is also a great way to help students prepare for college. Middle school is so important to make sure that students understand what needs to be done to get into college because colleges see grades from ninth grade and higher. Therefore, as the academic world becomes more competitive students will need to work harder to ensure an opportunity to go to our institution.
NC State is also trying to increase the amount of students who choose to enroll here. That number has remained constant as well. State is trying to increase these numbers through letters to admitted students of color and programs throughout their senior year. One of the programs is Embrace NC State, formerly known as African American visitation day for us. Before it was a program divided into three parts for African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans but now it is one. Students still get the opportunity to see that NC State does place a focus on diversity and also get an opportunity to see students of their race involved on campus as they learn how to get involved as well.
Okay, so we have our eight percent accepted and enrolled, but what happens when we get here? There are so many factors put in place to make sure African Americans stay at NC State and graduate from NC State. From the supportive environment, African American Symposium, USC courses, the peer mentor program, organizations and clubs, the list goes on. Many students at NC State love the atmosphere and environment.
Alright, so what if I work here? African Americans account for 16 percent of staff and the distribution across job categories is very uneven. Merely eight percent of new African American staff are hired. This amounts to 28 new African American professors. The African American turnover rate is 11% compared to 12% for all employees. Unfortunately, a higher proportion of African American EPA professional, clerical, service/ maintenance were dismissed that other staff and a higher proportion of African American SPA professional staff resigned than other SPA professionals. It was highlighted that one of the reasons why it “seems” that there are fewer African American professors on campus is because they are reclassifying themselves under other races.
Another factor of employment as a professor at State is tenure. In 2009 no tenured or tenure track faculty left NC State, three were then classified as Hispanic or international, one was hired for tenure track and six were awarded tenure. In 2010, the statistics changed a little. While one tenure teacher was hired, one tenure teacher resigned and another retired. Two tenure track teachers resigned and only one tenure track teacher left for another position. But after all of this three more teachers were awarded tenure. This keeps a balance of African American professors at NC State. Some say that that isn’t a good thing because there should be more African American professors at NC State, while others applaud NC State for not losing African American professors.
These are the interesting statistics that affect us school as well as our community. To find more information on the topic you can go to www.ncsu.edu/diversity/outcomes and brainstorms things that we can do as a community to help as well as things that we can praise NC State for doing.