FVSU is top in the nation for producing African-American math graduates says new report

November 4, 2014 – According to a new report, Fort Valley State University now ranks top in the country for producing the most African-Americans graduating with bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and statistics for the 2012-2013 academic year.Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, a journal that focuses on issues of diversity in colleges and universities across America, named the university number one in its 2014 Top Degree Producers rankings that confer the highest numbers of degrees to minority students.

FVSU’s president, Dr. Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith, called the ranking another indicator of Fort Valley State’s “vitality.”
“This latest Diverse report is powerful testimony to the leading role our university plays in critical STEM areas and the massive contribution we continue to make to our state and our nation,” Griffith said. “Moreover, it is another bit of evidence of the vitality of our impact within and beyond Middle Georgia. Hats off to our dedicated faculty and staff who labor in the teaching, mentoring and advising vineyards to produce these outcomes. Keep on keeping on!”
FVSU outranked Harvard University (ranked #20) and Georgia State University (ranked #9). The university also topped other historically black colleges and universities including Spelman College (ranked #2), Howard University and Morehouse University (both tied with GSU for #9).
“This ranking makes me extremely proud,” Dr. Uppinder Mehan, FVSU’s College of Arts and Sciences dean, said. “Diverse’s ‘Top Degree Producers’ ranking is especially important, considering the dire straits that STEM is in throughout the country. The fact that we’re able to graduate so many STEM students, no matter what group they belong to, shows our commitment to the STEM disciplines.”
Since 2010, Diverse has produced the “Top 100 Degree Producers” rankings of universities that confer the highest number of degrees to minority students. Each year’s list includes ranking totals from previous years followed by the most current year. Their system generates the top 100 institutions in the nation that produced the most minority graduates in their fields. Specific lists may typically contain 50 institutions. The statistics that the journal uses for their ranking list were based on institutional reports submitted to the U.S. Department of Education.
“We have a dedicated faculty,” Mehan said. “Our faculty are engaged with students, even before they reach our campus.” The College of Arts and Sciences dean said faculty members help students with their course selection, and mentor them to ensure that they will continue on the path of success to graduation.”
FVSU’s mathematics and computer science department chair, Dr. Dawit Aberra, attributes the ranking to the high caliber of students attracted to the degree program thanks to the university’s Cooperative Developmental Energy Program.
CDEP is a dual-degree program that prepares minorities for careers in the energy industry. Students within the program receive full five-year scholarships to complete their education. To qualify for the program, students must have a 3.5 grade point average, a  minimum SAT score of 1100 on the combined sections of math and critical reading, or a composite score of 26 on the ACT exam.
“CDEP is a very competitive program which maintains high standards, and the requirements for admission in the program are very high,” Aberra said. “Because the requirements are high, we  are able to recruit talented and serious students who  can  obtain two degrees within five years.”
“I’m proud, not only for the math department, but the entire university, because CDEPand the math department are only components of the entire campus,” said Dr. Isaac J. Crumbly, associate vice president for career and collaborative programs, as well as the founder of CDEP.
The associate vice president says that within the program, students attend FVSU for three years and earn a degree in a mathematics or science-related field, then transfer to one of the program’s partner universities (Georgia Institute of Technology, Pennsylvania State University, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, University of Texas-Austin, University of Texas-Pan American, and University of Arkansas. After they graduate from FVSU with a mathematics, chemistry or biology degree in three years, students transfer to the university’s partner schools to earn a second bachelor’s degree in areas that the U.S. energy industry needs including engineering, geology, geophysics,hydrogeology, health physics, and petroleum engineering. For many of the degree programs mathematics is a pre-requisite.
“We wanted to make sure that when students left our campus and went to these other universities, that they would have a solid foundation in mathematics, chemistry and biology,” Crumbly said.  The associate vice president gives credit for the publication’s ranking to the hard work of the university’s mathematics department.
“They have done an outstanding job in preparing our students to be successful, before they go to the next university,” Crumbly said.
The university also ranked high in producing high numbers of minority graduates in the areas of biological and biomedical sciences. The school ranked eighth in the nation for the number of African-American undergraduates and 25th in the master’s degree earners in biological sciences.
Additionally, the campus ranked ninth in the nation for African-American master’s degree earners in rehabilitation and therapeutic professions degrees. FVSU was also named 24th in the nation for the total number of minorities that earned master’s degrees in rehabilitation and therapeutic professions.

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Christina D. Milton, public relations specialist

Fort Valley State University
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