Chesnutt Library Blog

“Because it’s all about ‘U,’” the Chesnutt Library Blog is designed to promptly and efficiently provide timely news, inform of library events, books, databases and more for our students, staff and faculty. In our effort to enhance communication, the Chesnutt Library Blog will bring academic resources together in one place, with one click, with one purpose in mind - Educational Excellence - designed to enhance learning, guarantee access and promote scholarship.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fayetteville State University featured in Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Fayetteville State University to Launch College Journalism Program

by Kenneth J. Cooper , July 27, 2010

Dr. Todd S. Frobish, interim chairman of the Department of Communication at Fayetteville State University

The news industry has been shrinking, so much so that some civic leaders worry the country’s democratic future may be threatened if there aren’t enough independent watchdogs to keep an eye on government.

But at Fayetteville State University, media studies are growing. This fall, the historically Black school in North Carolina launches an undergraduate program in journalism, four years after creating one in mass communication.

Fayetteville State appears to be one of the few campuses in the country starting new academic programs in those fields. Nationally, enrollment in journalism and mass communication programs has increased slightly in recent years, mostly because more students are pursuing coursework in public relations and advertising. In 20 years, they have risen from 23 to 42 percent of total enrollment.

The pattern is similar for students of color but the small upticks in their numbers have pushed enrollments to record levels. In 2008, the latest figures available, 31 percent of undergraduates in journalism and mass communication programs were racial or ethnic minorities, the most since University of Georgia researchers started taking an annual survey in 1989. The figure was 40 percent for master’s students and 52 percent for doctoral candidates, both also records.

Black undergraduates made up 13 percent of those preparing for media jobs. Most attended traditionally White schools. About 3.5 percent of all undergraduates enrolled in the programs went to historically Black colleges and universities, according to a Diverse analysis of the 2008 Annual Survey of Journalism & Mass Communication Enrollments.

Fayetteville State decided to establish the new degree programs in journalism and mass communication after lengthy deliberations. As part of the University of North Carolina system, the campus had to submit its plans to state higher education bodies for approval.

Dr. Todd S. Frobish, interim chairman of the Department of Communication, says almost twice as many students are majoring in mass or speech communication as the university had projected. The program’s first graduates, he says, have taken jobs at broadcast or cable television networks or pursued graduate degrees — the last a pragmatic choice often made in a weak economy.

Frobish says future journalism graduates from Fayetteville State could find work in the southeastern section of North Carolina that the school serves, although it’s not a particularly fertile media market, or doing one of many nontraditional journalism jobs, such as Web producers or video production assistants, around the country that he has seen listed on online employment services.

“We still need professionally trained journalists in the world,” he says. “That’s our job — to train these journalists for the new world of journalism.”

The leader of the main accrediting body for media studies agrees there are opportunities, despite the shrinkage and flux in the news business.

“There are still jobs. They [employers] want students with multiple skills,” says Susanne Shaw, executive director of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.

Fayetteville State is making its bold moves into an uncertain media future in part to fix some awkwardness in its academic structure. For more than two decades, the field closest to journalism offered at the school — communication — was placed under theater studies. “That wasn’t working,” Frobish says.

So in 2006, the school began to offer a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in either speech or mass communication. It took a year and a half to gain needed approvals from the University of North Carolina system and its board of governors.

Frobish, a speech communication specialist whose research focuses on computer technology as a tool to persuade the public, was made coordinator of the new communication program. Despite the academic upgrade, the media field initially remained part of the Department of Performing and Fine Arts, along with theater, music and visual art.

Campus surveys had indicated the communication degree program would prove popular with students. Actually, demand was underestimated — without a boost from advertising and public relations tracks, which the school does not offer. Frobish says 80 majors were anticipated but after four years the number has reached 140. Of that total, 90 to 100 are in mass communication, with the rest in speech communication.

The rapid growth led to Frobish’s successful request, a year and a half ago, to create a separate Department of Communication. “We grew so fast and so large. We’re bigger than the other three areas combined,” he says.

It may grow bigger still with the addition of a journalism concentration this fall. Three new professors have been hired: two journalists and an audio-video production specialist. Another journalist is already on the faculty. Initially, about 20 journalism majors are expected to choose from print, broadcast and graphics tracks.

The nearest public institution with a journalism degree program is the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, located 35 miles away from Fayetteville State.

“There’s no school in this area that does journalism,” Frobish says. “We’ll be a job training site for local media. We’ll be filling that need in this area.”

He says Fayetteville State’s journalism courses will be supplemented by student work on an Internet radio station and National Public Radio affiliate WFSS, both on campus, as well as television studio that will begin to produce closed-circuit programs after being unused for two decades. This fall, the frequency of the student paper, The Voice, will be increased to weekly from biweekly.

D. Jordan Whichard, former publisher of the Daily Reflector in Greenville, N.C., says a continuing demand exists in the state for journalism graduates who have writing and editing skills, an ethical grounding and an understanding of the humanities and social sciences. “Those are valuable skills, and they’re valuable in the job market,” he says.

Whichard notes a decline in the number of traditional newspaper jobs but “students who come out of journalism jobs aren’t limited to that,” pointing to new opportunities in Internet-based media and niche publications.

Neither the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, which represents educators, nor the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications keeps a count of new academic programs.

But Shaw says, “There are new schools each year that seek initial accreditation.” Some have relatively new programs that have operated for a few years before pursuing specialized accreditation, as Frobish says Fayetteville State plans to do within the next five years.

This fall, for example, the council has scheduled site visits to three colleges, including one HBCU that she declined to identify to spare the school embarrassment in the event it is turned down. The council accredits programs at 113 colleges. Nine are historically Black universities: Howard, Florida A&M, Savannah State, Grambling, Southern, Jackson State, North Carolina A&T State, Hampton and Norfolk State.

The 2008 survey covers 480 colleges, including 30 HBCUs, which together enrolled nearly 7,000 undergraduates in journalism and mass communications. The sample of Black schools was not complete; Howard and Fayetteville State were omitted — apparently because they are not listed in either of the journalism education guides that the researchers used as sources.

The average enrollment in the HBCU programs was about 230. The largest program in the survey was Clark-Atlanta University’s, with 720 undergraduates.

Shaw, a former newspaper editor who is a journalism professor at the University of Kansas, says academic programs have experienced “rapidly changing curriculum” to keep up with changes in the news business. Now they are teaching students how to write a story, shoot video and post it all on the Web.

Frobish says Fayetteville State will start with a traditional journalism program and, once the three new faculty arrive this fall, discuss changes to suit the new job market.

“I think anytime you create a new program, it’s experimental,” he says. “Journalism is in such a transitional state. We’ll have to evolve the program as journalism evolves.”

Thursday, July 22, 2010

New Employees at Chesnutt Library!

-->Andrea Putnam is the Bibliographic Instruction and Distance Education Librarian. She began her position at Charles Chesnutt Library on March 15, 2010. Andrea graduated from University of Toronto, Canada with a Bachelor of Arts double major in Political Science and English in 2005, and a Master of Science in Library and Information Science from Drexel University, Philadelphia in 2008. She has 14 years experience in public libraries, working in over 25 library branches. Andrea encourages professors and instructors to reach out to her for in-class library instruction, as well as consultations with students. She can be reached at 910-672-1242, or by email at (Updated 5/27/2016)

Shamella Cromartie is the Government Documents and Reference Assistant at the Charles W. Chesnutt Library at Fayetteville State University. She began her position on February 1, 2010 after working in a public library over 10 years. She works half time in the Government Documents department and half time in the Reference Department. Shamella is an alumni of Fayetteville State University, having graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She is currently pursuing her MLS from North Carolina Central University. She can be reached in the Government Documents Department (9:00-1:00) at 910-672-1519 or in the Reference Department (2:00-6:00) at 910-672-1230, or by email at .

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Editorial: Diversity on Capitol Hill: HBCU’s Should Take the First Step

The following is an editorial by Elesia Summers-Thomas, an alumnus and current graduate student at North Carolina A&T State University and congressional intern.

November 4, 2008 was a remarkable day. We had new leadership, President Obama, the first African American President. After that day many believed America had arrived and all were accepted. We had overcome that someday sung by so many of our ancestors, so some thought. Many have had and have a false reality of what truly exist.

On a recent trip to Capitol Hill in one of the House of Representatives Office Buildings, I became increasingly excited by the number of young people working with the policies that affect our daily lives. Yet, I noticed young African Americans were few and far between. My excitement shifted to curiosity as I wondered where all the young people like me were. Where were the political science majors, Young Democrats, and even student government association members? Then it dawned on me, they weren’t there. Don’t get me wrong, there are some young black people working in policy on Capitol Hill. But from what I saw, it just wasn’t many.

My excitement was restored when I met a young lady all suited up. I assumed she worked somewhere in the building which gave me some piece of mind because I hadn’t seen any African American females. Unfortunately, after speaking with her I found out she was a college student and was just visiting.

As the generation that is speaking out more than ever, voting more than ever, and eager to change the world, why are we underrepresented? Does our generation not understand the very things we complain about would be easier to change if we played a direct role in the policies being made?

We are more than capable to play the role of the policy maker or at least work for one. We should be knowledgeable of our politicians and hold them accountable to keep our generation in mind as they are voting. We can do more, and we need to do more or I’m afraid twenty years from now the policies being made won’t represent us at all. We complain and tell ourselves we are making big strides, but truthfully, we are not taking the steps to make the difference we claim to be making.

How can HBCU’s help? There are so many ways to gain experience and exposure to the political world. Congressional internships are a great way to get your feet wet. The Congressional Black Caucus offers great opportunities for minorities. I believe HBCU’s could help enormously by pushing politics beyond political science majors. People on Capitol Hill have various degrees. HBCU’s should influence students to use their degrees to advance our community.

There is a great need for more young African Americans on Capitol Hill. Someone has to continue to speak for us when no one will. One African American president can not do it by himself. After him, who else will make the difference? Who better to step up to the plate than students of the institutions that spoke on our behalf when no one else would?

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Improving the Image of HBCU's (An Urgent Need)

From: The Chronicle of Higher Education, Wednesday June 30, 2010

June 27, 2010
Black Colleges See a Need to Improve Their Image
By Eric Kelderman
Durham, N.C.

The nation's historically black colleges are being challenged from within to overhaul their operations and image as they face outside pressures for more accountability.

Once the only higher-education option for black students, historically black colleges now enroll just 12 percent of black students, although they award 30 percent of the baccalaureate degrees earned by all black students. While a handful of the 105 colleges maintain a strong national reputation, many have long struggled with limited finances and questions about how well they are managed and the quality of their education.

The urgent calls for change were made at a two-day symposium capping the centennial celebration of North Carolina Central University, the nation's first public liberal-arts institution for black students. College presidents, faculty members, and experts in the education of minority students said at the June event that historically black colleges must improve fund-raising strategies and student services, diversify their curricula, and adapt technologically. The goal, say leaders of black colleges, is a major transformation in how the American public, and especially high-performing potential students, view the institutions. The survival of the minority-serving institutions depends on their ability to change, said several speakers.

Roderick J. McDavis, president of Ohio University, said his institution and other traditionally white institutions are in competition for the best minority students, who once would have automatically enrolled at black colleges. Yet if most historically black colleges are going to survive, they need to reclaim their role as the best place for black students to succeed, said Mr. McDavis and others.

"I came today to challenge you to take your rightful place back," he said at the end of a speech that sparked a standing ovation. "Other institutions are trying to take your students."

The federal government, too, has put pressure on historically black institutions to improve. White House officials have touted the promise of historically black colleges and successfully pressed for billions more in federal dollars for them and other minority-serving institutions. Administration officials also expect the institutions to improve graduation rates to help fulfill President Obama's goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.

The colleges are feeling pressure as well from cash-strapped states, with lawmakers in Georgia and Mississippi suggesting that some historically black colleges be merged to save money.

Bricks Without Straw

The factors forcing change on historically black colleges have reached a tipping point over the past two years, as the economic downturn has led institutions of all kinds to re-examine their missions and consider how they will survive in a changing higher-education landscape.

The effects of the nation's fiscal woes have fallen largely on colleges, including historically black colleges, that primarily serve the fast-growing number of low-income, first-generation students who generally require more support and financial aid from the institutions to succeed academically.

Leaders of black colleges fear that the nation's changing demographics and economic situation will exacerbate the historical disadvantages of their institutions, which were mostly founded in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to lift the population of newly freed slaves from illiteracy and poverty.

Historically black colleges were "created and sustained on faith" instead of generous amounts of seed money, said Haywood L. Strickland, president of Wiley College, in Marshall, Tex. "We still live on that bricks-without-straw concept," he said, referring to the Bible story of the Hebrew slaves in Egypt who were forced to make bricks with mud only.

Marybeth Gasman, an associate professor of higher education at the University of Pennsylvania who studies historically black colleges, said federal programs meant to erase the effects of historical inequities in resources—such as Title III grants that can be used for endowments or faculty development, and the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, established in 1981—have been well-meaning but insufficient. The average grant for Title III, for example, is $2-million, she said, which is too little to bring the colleges to parity with other institutions.

Most historically black colleges have not been able to improve their finances by winning federal research grants, Ms. Gasman said, in part, because they lack staff and faculty members with expertise in seeking those awards. And, similar to traditionally white institutions, the research grants that are awarded go to a select few. The top 10 historically black colleges receive nearly 53 percent of the federal research money that is given to any historically black college, according to a 2008 report by the Congressional Research Service.

While speakers at the symposium called for more help from the federal government, including aid in applying for research grants, they acknowledged that colleges had to do a better job of helping themselves. For instance, they must solicit support from board members and alumni, who have a poor record of donating to their institutions' endowments, speakers said.

In North Carolina, for example, the average endowment per full-time student in 2006 was $2,183 at the state's 11 historically black colleges and more than $17,500 at other institutions, according to North Carolina Central University.

The disparities in endowment values have often been blamed on higher rates of poverty among black people generally, but board members must also do their share to support the colleges with donations, Mr. Strickland said. "Board members pray a lot," he said, "but they don't give money."

More colleges also should begin asking students to think about giving back to the institution when they set foot on campus as freshmen, Ms. Gasman said. In her interviews of 400 alumni of black colleges for a research project, Ms. Gasman found that the two most common reasons former students did not donate were that the college had not asked and because the students had had a bad experience with some administrative office at the institution.

Adapting to Students' Needs

Dianne Boardley Suber, president of St. Augustine's College, in Raleigh, N.C., expressed her frustration that complaints about student services were so persistent. "Why is it we're continuously talking about being nice to people in the registrar's office? That's a no-brainer," she said. "There is no excuse for mistreating students."

Beyond the basics of student services, historically black colleges need to update their curricula and classroom experiences to remain relevant to students and employers, Mr. McDavis said.

"If the paper we're using to teach students has turned yellow, it may be time for a change," he quipped.

Mr. McDavis urged black colleges' leaders to create more opportunities for international study and internships, increase the number of chances for undergraduates to do research, and form more partnerships for academic programs with other historically black colleges.

Many black colleges also remain technologically challenged, with only a small number offering online courses and many using paper filing systems for administrative tasks.

Jarrett Carter Sr., executive director of the Center for HBCU Media Advocacy Inc., said many black colleges defer upgrading their Internet service, for example, because of the cost, feeling that other construction or program expenses are more important.

Mr. McDavis said historically black colleges need to make better use of technology to provide better instruction to the students they already enroll and to simply remain competitive. Today's students, who have grown up without institutionalized segregation, expect the same experience at a historically black college as they do at other institutions, he said. "Civil rights have come, and students know they have choices," he said.

A New Image?

Most troubling to many officials at the June symposium was the fact that many of the best black students are opting not to attend historically black colleges.

When segregation was legal, black colleges enrolled practically all black students. But more than 50 years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to desegregate schools and colleges, nearly 90 percent of black students are not enrolled at historically black colleges, according to a paper John S. Wilson Jr., executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, presented to symposium attendees. That figure could mean that the colleges are no longer valued within the black community, he wrote.

And those black students who do attend black colleges are more likely than their peers who enroll elsewhere to be financially and academically challenged, said Willie J. Gilchrist, chancellor of Elizabeth City State University, in North Carolina. Even educators in historically black colleges don't necessarily send their children to black colleges, he added.

"How much do we really believe in the HBCU experience?" Mr. Gilchrist asked the symposium attendees. "How many of us send our children somewhere else but expect someone else to send their best to us?"

The major challenge going forward, say many historically black college leaders, is not just to attract more minority students to historically black colleges, but also to get better-performing students to enroll at the institutions. And that means changing the image and quality of historically black colleges.

For Mr. Wilson, one solution is to change the message and mission of historically black colleges from a focus solely on accepting the least-prepared students to a focus on graduating students who are well prepared for the work force.

"We do want to stop saying that we enroll the kids that nobody wants," Mr. Wilson said. "It's not about who they are when we enroll them—it's about who they are when we graduate them."

Access and Success

Mr. Wilson and other representatives of the Obama administration are stressing that black colleges need to fulfill that new role with measures to ensure that more of their students complete their degrees.

In 2006, the six-year graduation rate for black students at historically black colleges was a little less than 38 percent, compared with 45 percent for black students at other colleges. And other institutions are starting to eclipse black colleges in raw numbers of graduates. The University of Phoenix has conferred the largest numbers of bachelor's degrees on black students in both the 2007-8 and 2008-9academic years, according to an annual survey by the publication Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.

Some leaders of black colleges bristle at those comparisons, saying the six-year graduation rates are an unfair measure of their success, in part because many of their students attend sporadically, taking longer to get a degree, and the colleges have fewer resources and less financial aid to offer than other colleges.

But there is also a recognition that the institutions must succeed at graduating students in order to survive.

Sandra White, director of the Center for Science, Math, and Technology Education, at North Carolina Central University, said her institution has largely been open-access, "but what we see all too often are borderline students."

"We need to provide access and ensure success," she said.

Several historically black colleges across the country are experimenting with creative new ways to keep students in college to finish their degrees.

At Philander Smith College, in Little Rock, Ark., President Walter M. Kimbrough has taken a personal approach to engaging students, exchanging messages with them via e-mail, Facebook, texting, and tweeting. He has also overhauled the admissions process and increased the amount spent on merit scholarships to attract and retain better students.

In 2007, Charlie Nelms, chancellor of North Carolina Central University, created a University College on the campus to cater to the needs of freshmen and transfer students. The program provides intensive advising and requires students to sign a contract that specifies their responsibilities, including community service.

Mr. Nelms, who was host at the symposium, urged other leaders to be bold at their institutions.

"If we're going to be around as a group of institutions 25 years from now, we have to change our narrative and our approach and be strategic," he said.