June 27, 2006

SIUC a leader in graduating minority students

by Tom Woolf

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale ranks second nationally – up two spots compared to a year ago – in the number of bachelor's degrees awarded to African-American education majors.

Diverse: Issues in Higher Education identified the Top 100 minority degree producers among undergraduate institutions of higher education in its June 1 edition. The survey also ranks SIUC sixth in the number of bachelor's degrees in education awarded to all minority groups. SIUC ranked 10th last year.

The magazine's Top 100 is the only national analysis to use the most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Education, which reflects the 2004-05 academic year. This is the 15th consecutive year that Diverse (formerly Black Issues in Higher Education) produced the rankings.

"Our rankings reflect the value we place on inclusiveness," Chancellor Walter V. Wendler said. "That commitment is a core value of our strategic plan, Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, and also is demonstrated through our Reflective, Responsive Initiative. Enhancing diversity among our faculty, staff and students is a critical part of our obligation to society."

Seymour Bryson, associate chancellor for diversity, said that after attending several recent national conferences, he believes SIUC's work on diversity initiatives is 15 years ahead of most institutions of similar size.

"We will continue our efforts to provide opportunity and support to all students, particularly minority students," he said.

Other highlights from the magazine:

• SIUC ranks 24th among traditionally white institutions and 44th when statistics from historically black and traditionally white schools are combined in the total number of bachelor degrees awarded to African Americans.

• The University ranks 26th in the number of bachelor's degrees in education awarded to Hispanic Americans.

• It also ranks 26th – compared to last year's ranking of 47th – in the number of bachelor's degrees in education awarded to Native Americans.

• The University ranks 33rd in the number of bachelor's degrees in health professions awarded to African Americans.

• SIUC ranks 40th for the number of bachelor's degrees in education awarded to Asian Americans.