The Black College Mystique

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9780742546172: The Black College Mystique

This study compares the culture of black colleges and universities a generation ago with those that exist today, and makes projections into the future, based on a comprehensive review of professional literature and an analysis of the management skills of contemporary black college leaders. The book considers the assets and liabilities of historically Black colleges and discusses the ways in which Black colleges can be of help to non-Blacks (including white students) who can benefit from the unique kind of education offered by such schools. The mission of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) a generation ago focused on opening doors closed to students because of their scores on standardized aptitude tests, providing remedial and supportive services to students whose academic backgrounds reflect low levels of achievement, combining academic as well as vocational course concentrations, modifying instructional methods and techniques to meet students where they are, and take them to the higher levels they are capable of attaining. This mission of opening new opportunities, giving support to overcome deficits of the past, and preparing students for professional and academic vocations continues today for these institutions.

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About the Author:

Charles Vert Willie, Ph.D., is the Charles W. Eliot Professor of Education Emeritus at the Graduate School of Education, Harvard University. Before his Harvard appointment in 1974, he served as Chairman of the Department of Sociology and Vice President of Syracuse University. Professor Willie earned a Ph.D. degree from Syracuse University, a M.A. degree from Atlanta University, and a B.A. degree from Morehouse College. The latter two schools are historically black institutions. A past Vice President of the American Sociological Association, he has received the Career of Distinguished Scholarship Award from this professional organization in 2005, and the Distinguished Career Contribution Award from the Committee on the Role and Status of Minorities in Educational Research and Development of the American Educational Research Association in 1990. Professor Willie is co-editor (with Ron Edmonds) of Black Colleges in America, co-author (with Michael Grady and Richard Hope) of African Americans and the Doctoral Experience, and author of The Ivory and Ebony Towers. Richard J. Reddick is an advanced doctoral candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. A former teacher and student affairs administrator, Reddick is the co-author of A New Look at Black Families, Fifth Edition with Charles V. Willie (AltaMira Press, 2003) and co-editor of Legacies of Brown: Multiracial Equity in American Education with Dorinda J. Carter and Stella M. Flores (Harvard Education Review, 2004). Reddick is a Spencer Research Training Grant recipient, teaching fellow for courses in higher education and school leadership, former editor of the Harvard Educational Review, and former tri-chair of the Harvard Graduate School of Education Alumni of Color Conference. A native Texas, Reddick is a 1995 Distinguished Graduate of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin and earned an Ed.M. at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1998. His current research centers on the mentoring relationships between African American faculty and African American undergraduate students. Ronald Brown's research interests concern Black college presidents, among other topics. He is a candidate for the Ed.D. degree at Harvard's Graduate School of Education.

Review:

The Black College Mystique provides a unique study of the inner workings of Black Colleges, their special contributions, and contemporary issues facing them. As a Black college graduate, I find this excellent description to be most insightful about their contributions as mentors of future scholars and professionals. (Richard O. Hope, Vice President, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation)

This study compares the educational goals and cultures of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) of a generation ago with those that exist today. The authors also analyze the personal characteristics of the presidents of these institutions and outline their alternative career pathways. They conclude by suggesting some action strategies for presidents and boards of HBCUs. (Reference and Research Book News)

Analyzing the management skills of black college leaders and reviewing the professional literature on the subject, [the authors] assess the strengths and weaknesses of historically black colleges and predict how they might affect black and nonblack students in the future. (Ed. The Magazine Of The Harvard Graduate School Of Education)

The authors combine three previously published chapters with four new pieces to build a cogent argument for the sustained existence of historically Black colleges. (The Journal of Educational Foundations)

The Black College Mystique is interwoven with great ambitions about the possibilities and potential of the nation's HBCUs. (Journal of Higher Education)

Charles Willie, Richard Reddick and Ronald Brown have completed a thoughtful, revealing and objective study of the role and status of America's HBCUs. By demonstrating the strengths of these institutions, the authors point to the lessons that all institutions of higher education can learn from them. To cite only two: 'We know that white students are in need of the unique care and concern that Black colleges offer,' and 'Black colleges are well positioned because of their long history of accommodating a pluralistic faculty to help other institutions of higher education learn how to achieve unity out of diversity and a sense of community among people from different cultural heritages.' I strongly encourage faculty members and administrators at every kind of college or university to study The Black College Mystique. (Mac A. Stewart, Ohio State University)

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