Kentucky State University President M. Christopher Brown II recently announced during spring Encampment that Kentucky State is one of the most diverse institutions among Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the nation.
President Brown said Kentucky State has nearly 50 percent African American students and 50 percent non-black students. Additionally, Kentucky State also has nearly 50 percent African American employees and 50 percent non-black employees.
“It is rare for an institution to be at the midpoint — 50 percent mark on all matrices. There are schools that spend millions of dollars trying to get to that middle point,” President Brown said. “They spend a lot of money on enrollment management, diversity planning and strategic recruitment trying to achieve this level of diversity that indicates maximal engagement.”
President Brown added that Kentucky State is a prime laboratory for every intellectual possibility in the country.
The research was conducted by Kentucky State’s Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness using data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). The percentage of students was based on the total fall 2015 enrollment, which included undergraduate, graduate, full- and part-time students. The percentage of employees was based on the total fall 2015 employees, which included faculty, staff, full- and part-time employees.
President Brown pointed to other public institutions in the state with racial demographics showing much less diverse populations.
Western Kentucky University, for example, shows a 76 percent white population with just under nine percent of black students.
Furthermore, the Kentucky State population is unique in a state that ranks as one of the least diverse in the nation. A September report in the Lexington Herald-Leader showed that the Commonwealth is one of the least diverse states in the country.
According to the report, being less diverse can lead to or underlie many problems and impede economic growth.
In the report, University of Massachusetts sociology professor Adrian Cruz said, “We remain a society in which our schools, neighborhoods and churches remain in separate ‘racial bubbles.’”
President Brown said Kentucky State will continue to strive for inclusive excellence and noted that people from different backgrounds working together produces results that make everyone better and can have direct impacts on student achievement and workforce development.
Working together, learning about differences and similarities, results in better, more comprehensive solutions, he said.