Report shows rise in Ph.D.s among minorities

By Kelly Gibbs

As more students continue their higher education, increased numbers of minorities are pursuing Ph.D.s.

A report released by the Council of Graduate Schools said the number of doctorates awarded nationwide rose by 9 percent last year. The increase is up from a 5 percent boost between 2005 and 2006 and is the largest jump in the last seven years.

According to the University Office of Planning and Budgeting, the patterns of University of Illinois Ph.D. recipients closely coincide with national trends.

Two American-Indian, 34 Asian, 14 African-American and 18 Hispanic students received doctorates in 2006. One year later, one American-Indian, 213 Asian, 16 African-American and 31 Hispanic received the degree.

As a result, programs around campus are making efforts to appeal to students from diverse cultures and backgrounds. Damian Lay , assistant director at the Career Resource Center, said he believes the Career Resource Center is making increased efforts to extend their services to minority students.

“We have resume critique corners at the Asian Cultural House, African American Cultural House, La Casa, Disability Resource Center and (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans-gender) Office,” Lay said. “We believe our advertisements and partnerships with these diverse organizations will facilitate an increased awareness of our services among minority groups.”

Rong Su, a graduate student, is an international student from China. She said she was attracted to the Counseling Psychology program because of the University’s strong curriculum.

“There are several international students in my concentration but not as many as students in math or science concentrations, engineering for example,” Su said. She said she believes this distinction is primarily due to the interest as well as the concentration of language in Counseling Psychology.

The overall rise in doctorate recipients among minority groups is accompanied with a rise in Ph.D. recipients among all students. Laura Anichini, senior in LAS, said she believes that Ph.D.’s will become more common among all students in her major.

“Obtaining a Ph.D. would not only potentially increase payment, but it would more importantly increase the knowledge needed in order to most successfully assist patients,” Anichini said. “There has definitely been an increased push to eventually achieve a Ph.D. in the Nursing program.”