What is the Black Male Professors and Researchers Collective (BMPRC) Initiative?
The BMPRC initiative is a hub to connect Black male doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, professors, and researchers with each other. Many Black men are often one of the few Black doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, and professors in their respective department or field. The Collective aims to minimize the isolation that can result from the Only Black Male phenomenon.
Why was the Collective Created?
In 2019, 5.6 percent of all doctoral degree were earned by Blacks. Black men made up only 35.7 percent of all Black doctorate awardees. This gender gap in African American doctoral degree awards has remained steady over the past decade. Consequently, there are few Black professors.
The BMPRC initiative aims to help address the gender gap by (1) introducing young Black men to the benefits of doctoral education and (2) encouraging them to pursue doctoral studies by connecting them with experienced Black male scholars, professors, and researchers.
"The absence of Black male professionals in higher education poses a serious challenge to diversity and social justice in colleges and universities."Claudine Turner and Liz Grauerholz, 2017
The Collective Aims To:
Increase the visibility of Black male professors and researchers both in the US and abroad and highlight the exciting and meaningful work we are doing.
Provide Role Models
Provide role models and support for younger brothers from elementary school to postdoctoral training to encourage consideration of careers as college professors or researchers.
Examine Facilitators & Barriers
Examine the facilitators of and barriers to Black men’s interest in, pursuit of, and success as students, professors, and researchers
Support Institutions & Programs
Support institutions and programs seeking to recruit and support Black male professors and researchers.
Leverage different efforts to increase the number of Black male professors or researchers.
"But race matters for black men in these settings too. While they can capitalize on shared gendered experiences to bond with white men, who can serve in important roles as allies, sponsors, and mentors, they describe a sense of alienation and isolation on the job."Adia Harvey Wingfield, 2018
- A Word From Our Founder & Director,Dr. Donaldson Conserve
The “Only Black Male” No More: The Inception of the Black Male Professors and Researchers Collective
As a Black male scholar, Dr. Donaldson Conserve, has often had the experience of being the only Black male in the setting he was in. In graduate school at Penn State University, he was the only Black male doctoral student in his department for the majority of his time there. This pattern continued during his postdoctoral training, after he secured his first tenure-track assistant professor position, and when he participated in New York University’s Program to Increase Diversity Among Individuals Engaged in Health-Related Research (PRIDE).
These experiences led Dr. Conserve to start viewing himself as the Only Black Male. When a PRIDE director asked for help recruiting Black males to the program, he knew he had to do something. As a former recruiter for the Science Organization of Minority Students and the Black Men’s Group at Queens College, Dr. Conserve had experience recruiting Black men. And, having participated in initiatives such as the Institute on Teaching and Mentoring and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s New Connections program, he knew there were other Black male professors. Without a centralized platform for reaching them, however, recruitment was a challenge.
He started by creating a Facebook group called Black Male Doctors, Researchers, and Professors. The following year – in part due to the connections he made through this Facebook group – NYU PRIDE recruited more Black men than ever before. This experience fed Dr. Conserve’s interest in creating the BMPRC platform to connect Black male professors and researchers who might be, as he was, the Only Black Male in their setting. The platform would enable these men to support each other and share professional opportunities (such as NYU PRIDE). Also inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and his interest in mentoring, he saw an opportunity to inspire young Black men to become interested in research and careers as college professors. It was with these aims in mind that he created the BMPRC initiative with the guidance of the BMPRC Board Members.
Donaldson F. Conserve, PhD, MS
Milken Institute School of public Health
George Washington University