All-Time High for Latinos, Higher Rates of Black Americans Earning Doctorates

By Sheryl Estrada


Photo by Shutterstock

A needed change may be coming to colleges and universities around the country—a more diverse representation of professors in the classroom.

According to recent statistics on graduates of Ph.D. programs in humanities, education, business management and administration, and the highly underrepresented STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields, 2013 marked an all-time high for Latinos, and another year of growth for Black Americans.

The number of Blacks (U.S. citizens or permanent residents) earning doctorates increased to 2,167, just shy of the all-time high set in 2009. A record total of 2,128 Latinos also graduated with their Ph.D.s.

Ph.D.s Earned By Race/Ethnicity

BlacksLatinos
20092,1681,880
20101,9381,841
20111,8991,989
20122,0562,144

If the majority of these doctoral recipients become college professors, undergraduate minority students will benefit, especially in terms of their course of study.

According to The PhD Project, seeing diverse professors in the classroom can indeed have a positive effect on a student’s choice of major. The organization’s major of choice is business.

With the support of committed corporations, foundations and organizations, The PhD Project guides Black, Latino and American Indian professionals in returning to academia to attain their business Ph.D. with the goal of becoming business professors.

When participants become business professors, this, in turn, can inspire their students to pursue business degrees.

“That’s the basis for our existence,” said The PhD Project President Bernie Milano, who is also President of the KPMG Foundation. “If you don’t change the demographics of the professors, you won’t change the demographics of the graduating class.”

The nonprofit is based in Montvale, N.J., and celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2014. DiversityInc CEO Luke Visconti is a member of the PhD Project’s board of directors.

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