cover of book

Making Black Scientists: A Call to Action
by Marybeth Gasman and Nguyen Thai-Huy
Harvard University Press, 2019
eISBN: 978-0-674-24236-4 | Cloth: 978-0-674-91658-6
Library of Congress Classification LC2781+
Dewey Decimal Classification 507.1173


Americans have access to some of the best science education in the world, but too often black students are excluded from these opportunities. This essential book by leading voices in the field of education reform offers an inspiring vision of how America’s universities can guide a new generation of African Americans to success in science.

Educators, research scientists, and college administrators have all called for a new commitment to diversity in the sciences, but most universities struggle to truly support black students in these fields. Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are different, though. Marybeth Gasman, widely celebrated as an education-reform visionary, and Thai-Huy Nguyen show that many HBCUs have proven adept at helping their students achieve in the sciences. There is a lot we can learn from these exemplary schools.

Gasman and Nguyen explore ten innovative schools that have increased the number of black students studying science and improved those students’ performance. Educators on these campuses have a keen sense of their students’ backgrounds and circumstances, familiarity that helps their science departments avoid the high rates of attrition that plague departments elsewhere. The most effective science programs at HBCUs emphasize teaching when considering whom to hire and promote, encourage students to collaborate rather than compete, and offer more opportunities for black students to find role models among both professors and peers.

Making Black Scientists reveals the secrets to these institutions’ striking successes and shows how other colleges and universities can follow their lead. The result is a bold new agenda for institutions that want to better serve African American students.

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