The University of the District of Columbia is drawing up plans for its first doctorate program--a PhD in chemistry that university officials say will help raise the status of the college and increase the small number of black scientists in the United States.
University president Benjamin H. Alexander said the new program probably would not start until 1985, after UDC receives its regular reaccreditation from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. But he said it is important for the university to add advanced research programs in order to attract top-flight faculty and students.
"I think it is wrong for the flagship [public] university of D.C. not to have a research program," Alexander said. "We have to move in that direction when it is appropriate."
Alexander spoke at the end of a two-day conference on black education at UDC. The meeting was sponsored by the university in cooperation with Push for Excellence, the education offshoot of Operation PUSH, a civil rights and black economic development group headed by the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
John B. Slaughter, the chancellor of the University of Maryland, said yesterday that even though the number of blacks studying science in universities has increased rapidly in the past decade, only 4.7 percent of U.S. college students enrolled in sciences are black. Blacks make up about 10 percent of U.S. college undergraduates.
Alexander, who has a doctorate in chemistry from Georgetown University, said chemistry would be the first doctorate program developed at UDC because it already is one of the university's strongest fields.