In 1985, the state legislature created two programs to increase minority doctorates in Illinois: the Illinois Minority Graduate Incentive Program and the Illinois Consortium for Education Opportunities Program.

Through the programs, the state spent $32 million on scholarships for 846 minority doctoral students. Of those, about a third remained in Illinois to teach college after finishing their Ph.D.s.

Progress reports by the Illinois Board of Higher Education in early 2000 called results of the first program “disappointing.” Soon after, Gov. George H. Ryan pledged to solve the problem. As a first step, he directed the board to conduct a study and hold hearings. They began this September. Many administrators who testified attributed their schools’ lack of faculty diversity to a poor “pipeline” of minority graduates.

But experts dispute those conclusions. Researchers from NORC, a national research organization based at the University of Chicago, said minority students made up 16 percent of the doctorates granted nationwide in 2000.

And an increasing number–”currently, at least a third–”of all minority doctorates graduate from “high-quality institutions” like Harvard University, the University of Michigan, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of California, Berkeley, they said.

Rupa Shenoy

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