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Nov. 4
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Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute 
1805 7th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Tel: (202) 810-0246
Email:  fdpri@uncf.org

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October 31, 2016
A Message from Brian K. Bridges    

Last week's White House Initiative HBCU Week Conference was not only a time to reconnect with old friends in far off places, it also reminded me of the diversity and resilience within the HBCU community. Every type of HBCU was represented on the conference program: from the largest to the smallest, from the best endowed to the most fiscally challenged, from the most research intensive to those solely focused on teaching, from community colleges to institutions that award PhDs. I commend the White House Initiative on HBCUs for pulling together a great conference that integrated distinct perspectives within the network with the most relevant topics of the day.

What stayed with me most, however, was the institutional resilience on display during concurrent sessions, that could be heard in hallway conversations, or that was evident from the abundance of exhibitors. Institutional representatives projected a prevailing sense of perseverance on behalf of their institutions and the students they serve, defying the common narrative about HBCUs in the mainstream media. It made me proud to work on behalf of these venerable institutions and boosted my resolve to bring more HBCU advocates to the fold. This is why the Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute works to promote accurate knowledge and inform HBCU policy conversations. At a time when the overabundance of data and information often leads to inaccuracies, relying on reputable sources is more important than ever, which is why our staff is dedicated to excellence in all our efforts. HBCUs, given their history and importance in the country's education landscape, deserve no less.

I invite you to share our work with anyone dedicated to HBCUs and especially those who know nothing about them. Let's correct the ignorance that's far too abundant about what UNCF President and CEO Michael Lomax and U.S. Congressman Jim Clyburn (D-SC) recently called "America's National Treasures."

Onward and upward!
Brian K. Bridges
Did You Know?
More than one in four Black science and engineering doctoral degree recipients earned their bachelor's degree at an HBCU. 

Figure 1. Percentage of Black Science & Engineering Doctorate Recipients with HBCU Baccalaureate Origins, 2002-2011
SOURCE: Frederick D. Patterson tabulations of National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, Survey of Earned Doctorates, 2002-2011
Current Projects and Upcoming Publications
Be sure to periodically check our website for new publications, including:

Fewer Resources, More Debt: Loan Debt Burdens Students at HBCUs. 
Despite attending lower-cost institutions, bachelor's degree recipients at HBCUs borrow more and graduate with more loan debt than their non-HBCU peers. This brief examines borrowing and repayment rates of HBCU undergraduates in comparison to their peers at other four-year public and private, non-profit institutions. 

Stony the Road We Trod: Public and Private Investments and Divestments in Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Despite the various contributions that HBCUs have made to the broader society, their economic sustainability remains questionable in an era of various public divestments in higher education. This issue brief highlights the funding profiles of public and private 4-year HBCUs and discusses the challenges these institutions encounter due to changes in federal and state support.

Lifting Louder Voices: African American Leaders' Perceptions of Education Reform. Building better futures for African American students is a community-wide effort, and UNCF is working to guide education reform work that embraces collaboration among grasstop a nd grassroots  leader a in the community. This report sheds light on African American community leaders' perspectives toward education reform and how they work to develop community-centered strategies to address disparities in schools.
Patterson Presentations
Over the past several months, Patterson staff   presented at various events and forums. These include:

International Colloquium on Black Males in Education
Southampton, Bermuda 
October 5-7, 2016
Presentation title:  Expanding STEM Pathways for Young Black Males: Mathematics as a Critical Juncture

There are a number of ongoing discussions concerning the need for increased diversity within STEM majors and related professions. As a result, it has become increasingly important to better understand the mechanisms that support and impede students' STEM achievement at various points along the education continuum. FDPRI senior research associates Dr. Krystal Williams and Katherine Saunders, along with Dr. Faheemah Mustafaa at the Peabody College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University,  explored how young Black males' multilevel strengths in 8th grade relate to their high school math achievement,  while also noting how students' challenges or strains may act as barriers to success. Findings illustrate how the strengths that Black boys bring to classroom settings can potentially serve as a tool for promoting their achievement in mathematics-despite their academic strains in this field.
Pictured above: Co-authors Dr. Krystal Williams, Katherine Saunders, Dr. Faheemah Mustafaa

Building Better Narratives in Black Education Forum
College Knowledge Center, UNCF, Washington, D.C.
September 15, 2016

UNCF, in partnership with Education Post and the National Urban League, recently released the joint report, Building Better Narratives in Black Education, shifting the discussion concerning Black educational reform in order to better engage communities and drive substantive policy changes for Black students.  During Congressional Black Caucus week,UNCF and partners gathered national and local education advocates, policymakers, and community leaders who share an interest in improving educational outcomes and college completion for African-American students.  Special guests included:  Dr. Michael Lomax, CEO and President, UNCF and  Marc Morial, CEO and President, National Urban League.
Pictured above: Panelists Eugene Pinkard, Shantelle Wright, Dr. Meredith Anderson, Dr. Hal Smith, Christopher Stewart, and Sekou Biddle

The National African American History & Culture Museum Media Day
Washington, DC
September 14 , 2016

Dr. Brian Bridges represented UNCF during Media Day at the National African American History & Culture Museum. This new museum is the first to exclusively showcase the history of African American life and culture. During media day,  Bridges was interviewed by future journalists at Eliot Hines Middle School. For live footage of the event, click here.

Pictured above: Dr. Brian Bridges and two students from Eliot Hines Middle School

White House United State of Women Summit
Washington, DC

Graduate Research Fellow Dr. BreAnna Davis recently represented the UNCF Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute as an emerging thought leader at the White House United State of Women Summit. This summit highlighted solution-based seminars on gender issues such as women in STEM, early childhood education, and broadening educational opportunities for women and girls globally. Distinguished summit speakers included President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and Black Girls Rock! CEO Beverly Bond.
Meet the FDPRI Graduate Research Fellows

The Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute would like to introduce the second cohort of the

UNCF FDPRI Graduate Research Fellowship Program. This interdisciplinary fellowship is designed for graduate students who are interested in African American education and related public policy issues. The program offers hands-on experience designing, conducting and disseminating applied research to help improve educational opportunities and outcomes along the K-16 pipeline. Research fellows also participate in the UNCF FDPRI Dissertation Support Group which is designed to advance students' individual research agendas. For additional information regarding the UNCF FDPRI Research Fellowship Program and the application process, please contact Dr. Krystal L. Williams at



The following descriptions provide information about each fellow and their research interests:


Kevin Clay is a doctoral student in Education Theory, Organization and Policy at Rutgers University's Graduate School of Education. His research focuses on youth political socialization and racial identity within and outside the youth participatory action research (YPAR) context. He currently serves on the Graduate Student Council of UCEA and the AERA Division G Executive Committee's mentoring subcommittee. 

Sheronda Witter   is currently pursuing a PhD in Educational Research and Policy Analysis with a focus on K-12 education at North Carolina State University.  As a scholar, her academic focus includes a wide array of issues impacting youth and adolescents in the K-12 education system. In addition to ensuring that all youth have equal access to high quality education, she is interested in policies aimed at closing the achievement gap and improving the educational outcomes for at risk youth, particularly those of African American descent. Moreover, the academic achievement of students within special education and with limited English proficiency is of special interest.   Wittier earned a bachelor of arts degree in Intercultural Youth Development from Furman University in 2008 and a master of science degree in Youth Development Leadership from Clemson University in 2011. 
UNCF Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute | fdpri@uncf.org