Sidebar: Information on Minority Access to Research Careers

In the United States, there are more than 100 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). In the late 1860s, these institutions were designated by the federal government to educate African Americans as a result of a segregated educational system in the South. Science administrators at the majority of these schools view their mission differently from their counterparts at majority U.S. institutions. Rather than focus their efforts and resources on cutting-edge research, they concentrate on undergraduate education. These administrators, along with many observers, contend that this is an appropriate allocation of their resources, particularly in these days of scarce federal research funding.

TEACHING-ORIENTED: NSF’s Luther Williams notes that HBCUs have a strong tradition of stressing undergraduate education.
"HBCUs traditionally have been built around a mission of undergraduate education," explains Luther Williams, assistant director of the directorate for education and human resources at...

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