by Claire Miller
Georgia State University is the 10th largest producer in the country of African American graduates in the field of education at the bachelor’s level, according to Diverse: Issues in Higher Education’s 2012 report.
The magazine also ranked the College of Education as the 19th largest producer in master’s graduation of African-Americans nationally, and the largest producer among public universities in the state of Georgia.
The rankings, released in June, incorporate data from 100 different universities across the U.S. to determine which institutions confer the most degrees to minority students.
Joyce Many, COE associate dean for academic programs, said the COE’s rankings reflect its goal to train a diverse teacher population.
“As a college of education, we are devoted to preparing teachers to teach in urban schools, and we try to find ways to recruit and support teachers from a wide range of backgrounds,” Many said.
The COE offers several scholarships and outreach programs to attract underrepresented students to Georgia State, including the Robert Noyce Scholarships in math and science education and the teacher residencies in the college’s Network for Enhancing Teacher Quality (NET-Q) project. These scholarship programs provide field placements in Atlanta-area schools and help students hone their teaching skills, with a particular emphasis on urban, high-need schools.
In addition, the COE’s Alonzo A. Crim Center for Urban Educational Excellence has several student initiatives that prepare students of color for careers serving urban school districts. The center’s Urban Education Freshman Learning Community invites GSU students to reflect on issues facing urban educators and brainstorm solutions through hands-on experiences, group discussions and educational activities. Students are also invited to join Tighter Grip or Softer Touch, sister organizations that strive to increase the recruitment and retention of African-American students at GSU.
Moving forward, the university is looking for ways to support students as they complete their degrees. COE faculty members mentor students as they complete their field experiences and coursework and work with diverse faculty in local schools. These and other student-focused initiatives coincide with Georgia State’s new strategic plan, which lists student retention as a priority.
“We try to consider the hurdles students face when pursuing degrees in education,” Many said. “It’s important to have models in the front of the classroom who represent the growing minority population, and we want to recruit them and find ways to support their education.”
For more information about the rankings, visit http://diverseeducation.com/top100.