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OSU ranks high for American Indian degrees

Friday, July 8, 2005

Oklahoma State University ranks first in the nation for numbers of degrees awarded to American Indians in agricultural sciences and biomedical sciences, according to Black Issues in Higher Education.

The magazine recently published its annual report titled “100 Top Degree Producers – Undergraduate Degrees 2005.” The report ranks colleges for graduation rates of African American, Latino, Asian American and American Indian students.

OSU was also recognized as the No. 2 producer for all American Indian bachelor degrees combined. Next to Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, OSU ranked second in the nation.

The OSU-Stillwater campus also ranked in the top 10 in seven other majors for minority degree producers, including psychology, engineering, education, business, literature and social sciences.

OSU has a prestigious record for awarding degrees to Native American students. OSU is first in the nation in the number of doctorates in the combined fields of psychology, engineering and science. It ranks second in the number of doctorates in psychology awarded to American Indians.

A $750,000 grant announced this year supports a program encouraging Native American students to pursue graduate degrees in psychology. As one of the few programs like it in the nation, the American Indians Into Psychology program at OSU has been continuously financed since 1997, with almost $2.1 million in funding.

Dr. Pete Coser, American Indian coordinator at the OSU Multicultural Student Center, said OSU has made a concerted effort to recruit American Indian students for several years.

“Our American Indian enrollment has been steady,” Coser said. “We do everything we can to inform our native communities that OSU is a good and supportive place to be.”

Dr. Howard Shipp, director of the Multicultural Student Center, said OSU is making great strides in minority recruitment and retention.

“We offer more than 10 different programs and departments that assist minorities to achieve their ultimate potential and eventually graduate,” Shipp said. “Seventeen percent of the OSU student body consists of minority undergraduates, with 1,662 American Indian students.”

Offices that serve and help minority students at OSU include the Native American Faculty and Staff Association, the OSU American Indian Alumni Association, the Native Americans in Biological Sciences Project, the American Indians Into Psychology Project, the Oklahoma Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology, the Native American Student Association and the American Indian Society of Engineering Students.

“While the current rankings are great news, we intend to continue building additional networks and organizations to help our American Indian and other minority students excel in their studies at OSU,” Shipp said.

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