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News Editorial Other Voices Interview

A Legacy to Overcome
The University of Georgia hopes to become a more desirable destination for black students

  In This Issue
 

(Photo by Santa Fabio, Black Star, for CrossTalk)

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm hopes to double the state's college graduates by the year 2015, without sharp increases in higher education spending.
( more)

News
A Legacy to Overcome
The University of Georgia hopes to become a more desirable destination for black students

Oklahoma's Brain Gain
A comprehensive drive to increase the percentage of state residents with college degrees

Battling the Past
Michigan's governor emphasizes education to move the state beyond its industrial roots

Math Emporium
The use of technology has changed the way Virginia Tech's introductory math classes are taught

Is Reading Dead?
University-affiliated literary journals struggle to maintain funding as they compete for a shrinking audience

News From The Center
New Center Associates

Letter To The Editor
More To The Story

Other Voices
Corporate Welfare in disguise
The student loan industry is raking in the profits

Stanford of the Northwest
Could Bill Gates University become the symbol of a new Gilded Age?

   
 
By Don Campbell
Athens, Georgia

Aubrey Johnson knew she wanted to attend the University of Georgia since she was five. "I didn't really know what it was," the black UGA junior recalls, "but I was walking around saying: 'I'm going to UGA.'" Her parents encouraged the notion by buying her UGA T-shirts and stuffed bulldogs, the school mascot.

In her sophomore year at mostly white North Gwinnett High School in suburban Atlanta, Johnson began to draw the interest of colleges and universities around the country. "Michigan was calling me all the time, and sending me letters," she said. "But I didn't want to go to Michigan; I wanted to go to UGA."

So she applied to UGA and received an acceptance letter that arrived at her home in the little town of Sugar Hill, Georgia, on January 22, 2002. She remembers that date as one of the happiest of her life.

Tameisha Moore, also a black UGA junior, grew up in another small town-Shellman, in rural southwest Georgia. She attended the mostly black Randolph Clay High School and applied to UGA the same year as Johnson. Although friends and even her high school counselor advised her to set her sights lower, her ambition was rewarded when she, too, was accepted by UGA.

(Photos by Chris Stanford, Black Star, for CrossTalk)
 

Johnson and Moore share more than skin color and an enthusiasm for the University of Georgia. Despite being the hottest commodity in higher education-high-achieving African Americans-neither was recruited by UGA. That they got in on their own is a good news story that, ironically, illustrates the problems that this university continues to face as it lags behind other flagship public universities in the South in recruiting and enrolling black students.

More than three years after a federal appeals court struck down the school's race-conscious admissions policy, UGA's black enrollment is stuck at 5.3 percent, roughly half the percentage of black enrollment at southern universities with which it likes to compare itself academically, notably the flagship universities of North Carolina and Virginia. (continue)

 

Oklahoma's Brain Gain
A comprehensive drive to increase the percentage of state residents with college degrees

 
   
By Pamela Burdman
Norman, Oklahoma

"Seniors!" You are almost there!" reads the bold caption above the black-and-white image of a female student sprinting toward the ten-yard line, cap balanced on her head, gown billowing in the wind. Smaller print below provides details about deadlines to apply for graduation. The ad, sponsored by the University of Oklahoma, appeared in The Oklahoma Daily last spring.

"Do you want to earn a million dollars?" asked another ad. "Graduate! In the course of their careers, college graduates earn $1 million more than their peers without degrees."

At Rose State College, near Oklahoma City, the campaign goes by the name, "Finish What You Start." Glossy posters underscore the value of receiving an associate's degree: "Don't Stop Short," "Picture You Getting Your Degree!" and "Atta Girl!" are among the slogans sported by smartly dressed mannequins. Another, with the simple caption, "Wow!" shows a wide-eyed young man staring at a wad of cash.

At high schools around the state, young people are greeted by posters ("Can't Afford College? Yes You Can!") offering information about the state's need-based scholarship program, and plugging an 800 line to counsel students about going to college. Another series, targeting middle school students, features space alien Kyra promoting the importance of studying.

Oklahoma education officials hope flashy posters, like this one from Rose State College, will persuade students to complete their degree programs.
 

"Our focus is on making it cool to go to college," said Associate Vice Chancellor Dolores Mize, who oversees K-16 initiatives for Oklahoma. The effort is receiving high marks: In a study of 86 social marketing campaigns targeting high school and middle school students, the Pathways to College Network recognized Oklahoma as "the best overall."

To explain why college hasn't been "cool" in a state where high school graduation rates exceed national averages, analysts look to the state's large rural population, low per-capita income, and populist roots. "The history of the state supports the notion that higher education is not valued," said Jerome Weber, professor of adult and higher education at the University of Oklahoma. "Economic opportunities have not been seen as being linked to higher education." (continue)

 
     

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