June 25, 2008

Rankings reflect SIUC’s commitment to diversity

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s longstanding commitment to diversity continues to earn recognition at the national level.

The magazine Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, each year names the Top 100 colleges and universities in awarding minority undergraduate degrees. The newest rankings were released this month.

SIUC ranks 24th among traditionally white institutions for total bachelor degrees awarded to African-American students; last year, the University came in 27th in this category. Among all institutions, including historically black colleges and universities, SIUC ranks 38th, compared to 42nd a year ago.

“The annual recognition by Diverse documents SIUC’s national reputation in higher education for its long tradition of inclusion and diversity, particularly racial and ethnic diversity,” said Seymour L. Bryson, associate chancellor for diversity. “Inclusion is one of the founding, long-term principles of this institution. We’ve been inclusive internationally and domestically. Racial and ethnic diversity is one aspect of that inclusion. It starts with the whole principle of inclusion, which has been our cornerstone. These rankings are evidence of that commitment.”

As was the case last year, SIUC ranks second overall in education degrees awarded to African-American students. The University has ranked among the top five universities in the country in this category since 1997. In addition, SIUC is second in education degrees earned by all minority students. The University ranks 17th for education degrees awarded to Asian-American students, 19th for Hispanic and 48th for Native American students.

Other top 100 rankings include: 28th among traditionally white institutions for the number of degrees awarded to African-American students in health professions and related clinical sciences, and 40th in total minority health professions and related clinical sciences degrees. SIUC ranks 35th among all universities for the number of degrees awarded to African-American students in English language and literature/letters. And, the University logged in at 100th in the rankings on total minority degrees awarded in all academic disciplines.

The Top 100 rankings within the various categories are in the June 12 edition of the magazine or online at www.diverseeducation.com. The magazine will publish its Top 100 graduate program rankings later this summer, Bryson said.

SIUC has much to be proud of but maintains its focus on diversity, Bryson said. Indeed, the University has improved over last year’s listings in virtually every category in which it is ranked. Diverse’s Top 100 is a national analysis utilizing the most recent numbers available from the U.S. Department of Education. The current rankings, the 17th annual, are based on the 2006-07 academic year.

“The current rankings reflect that racial and ethnic diversity remains a priority at this institution,” Bryson said. “The current leadership is not only proud of the legacy but is making its own contribution to this legacy. It’s important that we make headway not only with African Americans but also with other ethnic groups including Hispanics, Asian Americans and Native Americans. We’re continuing to improve. SIUC is listed in several categories. But it’s important that we continue to build on the legacy and not be complacent.”