Georgia Tech Named One of the Nation's Top Producers of African-American Engineers

Georgia Tech is the number one producer of African-American engineers at the bachelor's and master's degree levels, according to Black Issues in Higher Education magazine's annual college rankings report.

Georgia Tech awarded more bachelor's and master's degrees to African-American engineering students during the 2001-2002 academic year than any other university or college in the country, according to the report. Georgia Tech ranked #4 (tied with Pennsylvania State University) for the number of African-American engineers who received a doctorate that year.

The Black Issues rankings, considered by Georgia Tech to be an important tool to measure the success of campus diversity endeavors, underscore Tech's efforts to create a diverse campus through strong recruitment and retention practices, rather than relying on affirmative action quotas.

"Georgia Tech is proud of its long-standing success with our minority recruitment efforts, but more importantly, we are proud of the successes of our minority graduates," said Provost Jean Lou Chameau.

Georgia Tech awarded 125 bachelor's degrees in engineering to African-American students for the 2001-2002 academic year, which accounted for 10 percent of the total number of undergraduate engineering degrees awarded at Tech that year. Among the top five universities to rank in this category, Tech is the only institution that does not have a predominantly black student population. Rounding out the top five are: North Carolina A&T State University with 124; Florida A&M University with 76; Morgan State University with 72; and Tuskegee University with 70.

Georgia Tech awarded 37 master's degrees in engineering to African-Americans, which accounted for six percent of the total number of master's degrees in engineering awarded at Tech during the 2001-2002 academic year. The Institute also awarded African-American students with four doctoral degrees in engineering, which accounted for two percent.

This year's Black Issues report saw Georgia Tech regain its spot as the leading producer of African-American engineers at the bachelor's level after slipping from that spot to #2 in the 2000-2001 academic year, behind North Carolina A&T State University. During that academic year, North Carolina A&T awarded 120 bachelor's degrees in engineering to African Americans, compared to Georgia Tech's 107.

Tech maintained its top ranking in the master's degree level this year, but slipped from #1 to #4 in the doctorate category. During the 2000-2001 academic year, Tech awarded 10 doctorates to African-American engineers, compared to four during the 2001-2002 academic year.

Black Issues, a publication that covers minorities in American higher education, used statistics collected by the U.S. Department of Education to compile the rankings edition. The special report identifies the top 100 minority degree producers among institutions of higher education and is the only national report of U.S. colleges and universities awarding degrees to African-American, Latino, Asian American and Native American students.

The report was released as a two-part series spotlighting undergraduate and graduate statistics. Graduate and professional degree statistics appear in the July 3 edition of Black Issues. Undergraduate statistics were released in the magazine's June 5 edition.

"Georgia Tech has approached minority recruitment on a number of fronts from elementary to graduate school," said Robert Haley, director of special projects in the College of Engineering. Haley is creator and coordinator of FOCUS, an annual event at Tech designed to attract the country's finest minority undergraduates to its graduate programs.

Each year, approximately 300 African-American students from more than 80 colleges and universities across the nation attend the three-day series of lectures, tours, panel discussions and social events. The program, which is held annually during the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, is now in its twelfth year.

"Through FOCUS and other programs, we are working to create a campus environment of inclusion, respect, and community, where diversity is viewed as a valuable asset in every aspect of campus life," Haley said. "The leadership at Georgia Tech has made a strong commitment toward encouraging and achieving diversity in the academic setting."

In addition, Georgia Tech enjoys a good relationship with the historically-black institutions in the Atlanta area that make up the Atlanta University Center - Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morris Brown College, Spelman College, Morehouse School of Medicine, and the Interdenominational Theological Center.

More than 100 African-American students are currently enrolled in a joint-degree program in which students obtain an undergraduate degree in liberal arts from the Atlanta University Center then move on to obtain an undergraduate degree in engineering from Georgia Tech.

Other programs at Georgia Tech that have been successful at attracting and supporting African-American students are:

SURE (The Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering/Science Program) - a 10-week summer research program designed to attract qualified minority students into graduate school in the fields of engineering and science. Approximately 30 students of at least junior-level undergraduate standing are recruited on a nationwide basis and paired with a faculty member and a graduate student mentor to undertake research projects in the College of Engineering, College of Sciences and the Packaging Research Center.

FACES (Facilitating Academic Careers in Engineering and Sciences) - a collaborative effort of Tech's Colleges of Engineering and Sciences and Morehouse College to increase the number of African-Americans receiving doctoral degrees and encourage them to become faculty members.

The Georgia Tech Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers - an organization that seeks to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community. It hosts activities including academic retreats, study sessions, dinners for future business owners and an annual career fair.