The decline of the African-American Computer Science PhD

13Sep08

According to recent research done by the Computing Research Association (CRA) African-Americans and other minority groups still lag behind their white counterparts when it comes to the recipients of PhD’s in Computer Science and Computer Engineering. Even though African-Americans and other minority groups lag behind their white counterparts, the research also reveals a decline in white PhD recipients in Computer Science and Computer Engineering as compared to nonresident aliens who lead everyone with 56%.

Here are some of the facts:

  • Between 2006-2007 African-Americans represented only 1% of PhD recipients in Computer Science and Computer Engineering as compared to 27% of whites during the same time frame.
  • Between 2006-2007 African-Americans represented only 2% of the total PhD enrollment in Computer Science and Computer Engineering as compared to 32% of whites during that same time frame.
  • Between 1970 and 2001 the results show that 8,913 Computer Science and Computer Engineering doctorates were granted to whites, while only 154 were granted to African-Americans.                        

The gentleman Jay Vegso who wrote the article (and presumably did the research) concluded by stating that ‘it seems unlikely that African-Americans, Native Americans, Asian/Pacific Islanders or Hispanics will see a significant improvement in their representation among Ph.D recipients in the near future.’ This research is very troubling given the current predicament of many of our inner city schools that many of our black children attend as well as the lack of funding for our HBCU’s in general and more specific for their Science, Engineering and Technology Departments.

I am still optimistic that the statitics will start to look more favorable in the near future. There are a lot of initiatives that have been put fourth to make sure that this is this case. I also plan to contribute as best I can through this blog as well as through the PhD in Computer Science that I plan to obtain once I complete my Masters at DePaul University in Computer, Information and Network Security.

 Source: 
CRA Taulbee Trends: Ph.D. Programs and Ethnicity

Mike Digital

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