June 22, 2007

Rankings reflect SIUC's commitment to diversity

by Tom Woolf

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University Carbondale continues to rank among the nation's elite in the total number of bachelor's degrees awarded to African Americans.

Diverse: Issues in Higher Education annually identifies the Top 100 minority degree producers among undergraduate institutions of higher education. SIUC ranks 42nd in awarding undergraduate degrees to African-American students.

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 2005-06 academic year. This is the 16th consecutive year that Diverse (formerly Black Issues in Higher Education) produced the rankings.

In Illinois, only American Intercontinental University Online and Chicago State University ranked higher than SIUC. Among other Illinois institutions, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ranked 69th; DeVry, 84th; and Robert Morris College, 98th.

Among traditionally white institutions, SIUC ranks 27th for awarding undergraduate degrees to African Americans.

For the second straight year, SIUC ranked second nationally for awarding bachelor's degrees in education to African-American students. Jackson State University ranked first in this category.

In addition, SIUC ranked 50th for English degrees and 31st for health professions degrees awarded to African Americans.

Seymour Bryson, associate chancellor for diversity, said the rankings re-affirm SIUC's standing nationally, not just in Illinois, as a top producer of bachelor's degrees awarded to African Americans.

"The rankings reflect our University's historical tradition of being committed to diversity," he said. "It is more than PR; we value accessibility and student achievement."

Bryson also emphasized that SIUC's continued success reflects a total campus commitment.

"The students are receiving excellent instruction in the classroom," he said. "Our faculty should view this as reflective of their contribution to our students' success."

The challenge for the campus community, Bryson said, is to continue to improve.

"I'm confident that with the leadership of SIU President Glenn Poshard and Chancellor Fernando Treviño, we will continue to show improvement," he added.